On our second day in Aizuwakamatsu we decided to head south to the former postal town of Ouchijuku (大内宿) that lies along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period.

To get there you take a scenic train, complete with tatami mat seating, from Aizuwakamatsu to Yunokami Onsen (湯野上温泉駅) and then switch to a bus the rest of the way. That was the plan at least.

Tatami Train

When we arrive at Yunokami Onsen I realised I had stupidly forgotten to withdraw enough cash and there wasn’t an ATM nearby. As is so often the case in Japan, a kind stranger came to the rescue – Akira Hoshi, who works for a local tourist organisation, generously gave us a lift in his car to the nearest ATM and then took us all the way to Ouchijuku! ありがとうございましたあきらさん😌

Ouchijuku Post Town

Set amidst rolling mountains, the old town of Ouchijuku consists of a dusty main street lined by beautifully restored thatched buildings, which house a variety of small shops, restaurants and traditional inns. Some of these buildings are said to be over 300 years old.


Restrictions set by the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period (1640) required travelers to make their long journeys on foot and as a result, post towns like Ouchijuku developed along the routes to provide travelers with food, accommodations and rest.

Thatched Roofs

Refreshing Lemon Soda

Parallel streams running along each side of the the road are used to naturally keep drinks cool.


Ouchijuku Restaurant

Bright Banners

Ouchijuku Spirits

Old Timer

Flying Fish

Bright carp-shaped koinobori (鯉幟) wind socks flutter in the breeze.

Thatched Shop

Purple Cascade


Overlooking Ouchijuku

At the top of the street, a steep staircase leads up to a small shrine from where a panoramic view of Ouchijuku and the surrounding mountains can be enjoyed. Except for the occasional electricity pylon the environment is pristine.


Open Hearth

The Aizu region is famous for its buckwheat noodles and many of the restaurants in Ouchijuku offer the town’s unique handmade Negi-soba alongside other specialities like locally caught char fish roasted on sticks.

Char Fish

Making Soba

These guys made it look easy but making soba actually requires a lot of skill and patience.

Soba Master

Freshly Made Soba

Negi (Green Onion) Soba

Negi-soba is served with a leek used for eating instead of the usual chopsticks! Delicious.

Sleeping Shopkeeper

The afternoon heat was a little much for some people 😴

Dusting Down

A shopkeeper watering the ground to keep the dust down. Period crocs optional.


If you have time to spare on your way back be sure to check out the open-air foot spa next to Yunokami Onsen Station. It’s free and the perfect place to wait for your train!


  1. emeqee says:

    Thank you very much. The photos look so great. This is the newest entry on my bucket list.

    2 thinks however blew my mind the most. The first is the train. Can I export it to Germany? And second is the fish. A very nice way of “packaging” them.

    Take care and keep it up.

    • David says:

      Thanks emeqee – in fact you could select from 1 of 4 different types of carriages to ride on that train 🙂

  2. Aia-Ida says:

    Did the trip to ouchijuku take all day? Is it possible to enjoy the town under 5 hours (with transport from Yunokamionsen)?

    Thank you 🙂

    • David says:

      We had the whole day for the trip. It’s probably possible to do it in 5 hours but would be a little rushed.

Leave a Reply