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October 27, 2017 - Ouchijuku - Historic Town in Fukushima Prefecture

After visiting Hokkaido for almost a week, it was time to head back down to the Tohoku Region for some more explorations. In this travel report I introduce Ouchijuku, located twenty minutes south of Aizu-Wakamatsu.

Main street of Ouchijuku

From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, take the train down to Yunokamionsen Station (㉷w). From here take the bus to Ouchijuku where you will be surrounded by massive hills. Ouchijuku sits on a plain full of rice patties and fields.

Typical streetscape in Ouchijuku

The buildings that front onto this earthen road are rectangular with the short end facing the street. The roofs are thickly built of thatch to keep in warm in winter and cool in the summer, and protect the building from the heavy snowfall.

Cold soft drinks

There are mountain streams that run on both side of the road like ditches, This is an age-old solution to refrigeration because the mountain streams are still cool as it flows down.

Entrance to the shrine

One of the main attractions is not the buildings but the views of the village from the lookout point. Walk up the steep steps to find yourself in a forest. Follow the path and you will find something amazing.

Breathtaking view of Ouchijuku below

This view changes by the seasons but when I was here in late October the leaves were still green. Other than the darn hydro towers in the far distance, the view is worth a million bucks.

No chopsticks? No problem!

Another thing you should do while in Ouchijuku is trying out negi soba. The photo above is a generous bowl of homemade soba noodies with mountain mushrooms and a large stick of negi. The premise is to use the negi as a form of eating utensil and you eat the negi while eating the noodles. It was refreshing and light but using negi was hard. I ended up using chopsticks.

There are many snacks to try here so take the time to stroll each of the buildings.

Yunokamionsen Station

The gateway to Ouchijuku is Yunokamionsen Station on the Aizu Tetsudo Line. This old train station has a similar architecture and uses similar building techniques as in the buildings in Ouchijuku. The train station has thick thatched roofs with ornaments on the top. White plastered walls grace the facade.

This is a train station?

As you walk inside, you are greeted by a weird scene. It looks like someone's home. To the left is a series of bookcases. This is a library full of reading material for people to enjoy. There is also a small vegetable stand where you can purchase local produce. Make sure you pay!

A little further is a Japanese hearth, or an Irori. There are small tatami mats to sit on. In the middle is a jizaikagi with burning embers on the ground and a small kettle above.

In case you didn't buy any souvenirs, you can buy at the station.

On the other side is the ticket agent, and a small souvenir shops. Quaint and adorable, this is the side of Japanese culture you do not get to see.

Wakasato Lake created by the Okawa Dam

Back on the Aizu Tetsudo train and heading back to the city, you get to see amazing views of the highlands. You also get to see Wakasato Lake, which was created after damming Aga River. The Okawa Dam is a local attraction in itself. The train conductor slows the train to a stop for a brief while so tourists can view the scenery. Very thoughtful indeed!!

So that concludes the tour of Ouchijuku. I highly recommend coming here as it is an amazing historic post town. Thank you for reading.

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List of Posts:
2018/10/25 - Tohoku Series: Genbikei Gorge (k)
2018/10/24 - Tohoku Series: Hachinohe (ˎs)
2018/10/23 - Tohoku Series: Seikan Tunnel Museum (ʍc@l ”glLO)
2018/10/23 - Tohoku Series: Cape Tappi ()
2018/10/22 - Tohoku Series: Oirase Gorge (k) and Towadako (\ac)
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya (샊][g X)
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Mt. Hakkoda (bcR)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Seafood Capital, Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Juniko
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Gono Line
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Tazawako (c)
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Kakunodate (p)
2018/10/17 - Tohoku Series: Akita (Hcs)
2018/10/16 - The Pokemon Cafe experience
2018/10/16 - Early Morning Meiji stroll
2017/11/11 - Tsukiji's (Truly) Last Breath
2017/10/31 - Yokohama - Western Port City
2017/10/30 - Tateishi Nakamise Shotengai - Stepping into a Time Warp
2017/10/29 - Oya History Museum - A Cavern in Time
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part Two
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part One
2017/10/27 - Aizu - Wakamatsu and Kitakata: Land of Ramen and Red Cows
2017/10/27 - Ouchijuku - Historic Town in Fukushima Prefecture
2017/10/25 - Noboribetsu - The Comforts of Hell!
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part One
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part Two
2017/10/23 - Sapporo - Fresh Seafood and Western History
2017/10/22 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Three
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part Two
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part One
2017/10/20 - All aboard the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Gran Class style
2015/12/06 - Tsukiji's Last Breath
2015/12/02 - Kawagoe Day Trip
2015/11/29 - Pokemon Train on the JR Ofunato Line
2015/11/29 - Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
2015/11/28 - Yamadera
2015/11/23 - The Architecture of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium