Narai-juku is a post town that prospered with many travelers passing through on the Nakasendo, a highway connecting Edo and Kyoto.
It was the 34th of the 69 Nakasendo inns and the most prosperous of the 11 Kiso inns, and was known as “Narai Senken.
It is located at the highest elevation of 900 meters among the 11 inns on the Kiso Road, and consists of three districts: Uemachi, Naka-machi, and Shimo-machi.
The nostalgic atmosphere of the area is characterized by liquor stores with cedar beads, eaves lanterns of inns, and houses with distinctive “senbon-goushi” lattices (latticework) with overhanging eaves.
The inn is full of attractions, including accommodations such as minshuku and ryokan, an old private house café terrace in the woods, and a folk museum where visitors can learn about life in Kiso and its lifestyle.
The “Kiso no Ohashi,” a drum bridge made entirely of Japanese cypress, is lit up after sunset from early April to early November every year, creating a fantastic sight.
The townscape, which retains the atmosphere of the Edo period, has been designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings.
35 min. by car from Shiojiri IC [30km].
30 minutes drive from Ina IC [25km].
3 minutes on foot from Narai Station on the JR Chuo Honsen Line