Tsumago-juku (妻籠宿, Tsumago-juku) was the forty-second of the sixty-nine post towns on the Nakasendō. It is located in Nagiso, Kiso District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It has been restored to its appearance as an Edo-era post town and is now a popular tourist destination.
During the Edo period, Tsumago was the forty-second of the sixty-nine post towns, which connected Edo (present-day Tokyo) with Kyoto. Prior to becoming part of the Nakasendō, it was the tenth of eleven stations along the Kisoji, a minor trade route running through the Kiso Valley. As such, it was a relatively prosperous and cosmopolitan town, with an economy based on currency.
In 1968, local residents began an effort to restore historical sites and structures within the town. By 1971, some 20 houses had been restored, and a charter was agreed to the effect that no place in Tsumago should be "sold, hired out, or destroyed". In 1976, the town was designated by the Japanese government as a Nationally Designated Architectural Preservation Site. Despite its historical appearance, however, Tsumago is fully inhabited, though with tourist shops as the town's main business.
Tsumago contains a number of interesting properties, including:
Perhaps its most interesting aspect, however, is the restored row of houses along the former post road. Most were houses built for common people in the mid-18th century, with shops and inns for travelers along the Nakasendō.
A quiet portion of the original highway has been preserved between Tsumago and Magome, the next post town (also restored). It provides for a pleasant walk through the forests and past a waterfall. Also, so guests do not have to walk the path twice to return to the beginning of the hike, bus service is provided between the two ends of the road.
Resting station for higher guests such as daimyō
Okuya, the waki-honjin
The Nagiso Museum of History
Old school building
Rurisan Kōtoku-ji Temple