Narai-juku is a historic post town (knonwn as ‘juku’) that once serviced a 70km trade route through the Kiso Valley, part of the greater 500km ‘Nakasendo Road’ that connected Kyoto and Tokyo (then known as Edo). As one of five official highways between Kyoto and Edo, the road was busy with government officials, merchants and pilgrims, typically forced by the shogunate to move on foot.
Located at the midpoint between Edo and Kyoto, Narai was the wealthiest of the 69 towns that marked-out the Nakasendo Road. Today, much of the town remains and visitors relish in the extent of the preservation. Historic buildings stretch on much further than any of the other extant post towns which now serve as guesthouses, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
Once known as ‘Narai of a Thousand Houses’ due to its size, visitors to the town will get a strong sense of its past significance. For detailed information regarding the trail, please refer to our ‘Walk the Nakasendo Trail’ page.
In February, the Narai-juku Ice Candle Festival is a quiet yet beautiful festival that should not be missed.