“Ouchi-juku”(大内宿), located in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture, is the old post town remaining the townscape of Edo period (1603-1868). It was established around 1640 and flourished as a post town on the Aizu West Road connected between Aizu and Nikko which was a major route of alternate attendance by federal lords.
Houses with traditional thatched roofs from the Edo period are lined up along the road and still remains the original landscape of Japan at present.
There are over 40 thatched roof houses opened as restaurants, inns and souvenir shops in this area. It was designated as important preservation district of historic buildings in 1981.
The Honjin (the accomodation that high status lords and officers stayed in the post town) had been restored and now it’s a tourist attraction where pictures and livingware are displayed to inherit its traditions and customs.
Takakura Shrine is one of the main attractions in Ouchi-juku. This shrine is dedicated to the Prince Mochihito Takakura who concealed himself here in Ouchi-juku when he failed to hunt down the Heike family in the late 12th century.
Winter Attraction “Ouchi-juku Snow Festival”
With heavy snowfall in this region, all thatched-roofed buildings and streets in Ouchi-juku are covered by snow in winter.
Big winter event is “Ouchi-juku Snow Festival” which held in the second Saturday and Sunday of Febraury. Every year this festival attracts more than twenty thousand of people from all over the world.
The festival’s feature attractions are fireworks and Gojinkataika which presanctified men go around the town lighting up snow lanterns by sacred flame one at a time. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the post town completely different from what it is in the summer.
During the festival, many snow lanterns are decorated on the streets and illuminated the snowy town gleaming light in the evening.
The whole town lit up by snow lanterns are really fantastic and romantic!!