Visit Ouchijuku

Until living in Japan I never heard about its hidden spots and the non touristic destinations. Cause of course, we all know about Tokyo, Kyoto, Hyroshima, but why not exploring something more authentic, that not even many Japanese know about them? My today’s proposal for you is to visit Ouchijuku.


Ouchijuku is a post town from the Edo period located in Fukushima prefecture. The place used to be an important travel knot as it was placed along the Aizu Nishi Kaido (the Aizu West highway), connecting Aizu with Nikko. The road was used to transport rice towards the Edo capital (which is basically the Tokyo of today). It was also used by the daimyo (feudal lords), to travel to the capital when requested. Later on, during the Meiji period, the town has been left apart, the reason of its great conservation till nowadays.

Today, the village is designated a national preservation district, thanks to its preserved Edo caracteristics. As you can see in the pictures, the houses are lined up on both sides (around 30 as a number), equally, and placed with the width towards the highway (and not with the lenght). The buildings have a thatched-roof and is probably the first thing you will notice when arriving – a perfect detail to take you back in time.

If you are convinced to visit Ouchijuku you may wonder how much time you need there? Well, it is a village, so not too much. Taking all the time you need, including taking pictures and having a meal, you need about 3-4 hours. Now, let me tell you what you can see and do in Ouchijuku – and I made a rhyme!

The village today is composed of these beautiful buldings, converted today in shops, restaurants and places for accommodation. In one word, there is not much to do or to see.

Takakura Shrine

Approximately in the middle of the village you will see a big tori gate that indicates a shrine. Take that road and walk until you will reach a forest and another tori gate. Follow the stairs as they will lead you to the small shrine, hidden between the trees. The building itself may not impress you much, but the walk until there and the position itself is a pleasure for the eyes and the senses. It will only take you a 15-20 minutes detour.

View point

If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of the village, head up towards the viewing point. Normally, there are some stone steps leading you above, but during the winter are closed, so you’ ll make a small detour using the road. On the way, you can see a cemetery on the hill and a few small temples (Shobo-ji temple, Koyasu Kannon and Benten-sama).

Ouchijuku Pavilion (townscape exhibition hall)

This building used to be the headquarted of the village during the Edo period. Today it is converted into a museum on two layers (ground floor and a small 1st floor room). There are about 1300 items on display emphasising the daily life, back in time. Some examples are agricultural objects, pottery, a helmet, kitchen ustensils, written proofs and so on. There is also an area for video projection – however, it is not available during pandemic.

Bare in mind, in order to visit the rooms you’ll need to remove you shoes. The good part is that you can heat yourself near the fire. The bad part is that it may be so much smoke that you’ll struggle even to visit, not mentioning about a break.

Food & drink

If you came till here you need to eat the famous negi soba (buckwheat noodles). There are many variants of it, so stick to one you like and enjoy a great meal. As a sweet, try the horse-chestnut mochi (tochi) or shingoro (toasted miso covered mochi)!

Tip: if you’re visiting Ouchijuku by bus, the driver may give you a voucher for Yamagataya restaurant. With any meal you order you will receive a mochi for free! The restaurant has a fireplace in the middle which makes it een cuter!


As many of the buildings are converted into shops, there are plenty of choises for a nice souvenir. Ouchijuku is well known for the cotton products, lacquare and pottery. There is plenty of food and sweets to chose from too!


The place speaks for its own beauty and it is totally worth in a visit. However, the difficult part is how to reach the place. Even if I live in Tokyo, this time I started my journey from Sendai. But, excepting the first train, the rest of the journey is the same – you’ll see.

If you only try with google maps to see how to reach Ouchijuku by public transport, you’ll say: no way! Too much time, too many changes and such a mess. On one side I totally agree. You need to allocate about 4-5 hours to reach the destination, one way, and change 3 trains and 1 bus. However, if you’re motivated to do so, you can, and I’ll tell you how.

First step

First of all, you need to catch the first train towards Koriyama (even if you are coming from Sendai or Tokyo). From Sendai, I took the train at 6:06am and I reached Koriyama at 6:46. After, I changed the Shinkansen with a local train to Aizuwakamtsu at 6:52am, arriving at 8:08am. Now the bad part is that you need to wait for the connection to Yunokami Onsen until 9:32am. So you can get a coffee from the station and wake up or sleep a bit to recover the night. These two trains are covered by JR East Pass.

Second step

Once you arrive in the train to Yunokami, you have the option to buy a one day pass which covers a round trip to Ouchijuku, train and bus, for 2200¥ (17€), from the conductor. You can even use it to hop on and hop off during the day if you have time. I read on a Japanese website (here) that the bus operated only between April and November, which is not true at all. So you dont have to worry on spending on taxis as there are other options too.

Last step

The last change till the destination is to take the bus. You’ll arrive at 10:03am in Yonokami and the bus is at 10:20am. Which means, you have some time to enjoy a foot onsen (thermal bath) – located on your right as you exit the station. Just remember the bus stop is on the left, down the road. Don’t miss the bus as the next one is in one hour. I posted the bus timetable between Ouchijuku – Yonokami for your reference, between the pictures.

The bus will leave you a bit after the entrance of the village, so I recommend you to go back near the entry and start your visit from there. You will be able to get a map from the tourist information point, use the toilet and store your luggage if necessary (100¥ only for a small bag). If you’re coming by car you’ll need to pay a 500¥ (4€) parking fee.

To go back, don’t miss the last bus at 3:25pm. Personally, I left at 2:20pm and catched the train to Aizu at 2:55pm. I spent the rest of the day in the city, visiting the Tsurugajo castle. For Aizu, I will write another post, so come back and check it. To go back to Tokyo, I catched the 7:05pm local train to Koriyama (arriving 8:15pm) and the 20:42pm Shinkansen (arriving in Tokyo Station at 10pm).


According to the official map of Ouchijuku, there are only three places available for accommodation (Yamagataya, Honke Ogiya and Iseya). I am not aware of the prices, so you better call and check with them directly. Something more affordable for sure can be found in the biggest city nearby, Aizuwakamatsu – so you may look out there before making a choise.

The End!

And that’s it from my side! I hope now you’re better prepared and decided to visit Ouchijuku. I know it may look complicated and tiring to reach the place, but trust me, it is worth in. At least in the winter it looks magical, I would say a lot better than in the summer days.

Meanwhile, visit more articles about the beautiful Japan and not only, here.

4 thoughts on “Visit Ouchijuku

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