Ouchijuku (大内宿, Ōuchijuku) is a former post town along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. Restrictions set by the shogunate required travelers to make their long journeys on foot and as a result, post towns developed along the routes to provide travelers with food, accommodations and rest.
Today, Ouchijuku has been restored to look as it did in the Edo Period with telephone and electricity wires buried. The unpaved main street is lined by thick thatched roof buildings, which house a variety of shops, restaurants and minshuku (small traditional Japanese inns). Soba noodles and locally caught char fish roasted on sticks are popular specialties.
Ouchijuku's former Honjin, the principle inn for high ranked government officials, is also located along the main street and open to the public as a museum. It offers visitors an example of elegant, traditional housing interior of the Edo Period and includes a collection of dishes, clothing and other artifacts.
Also of note are Ouchijuku's shrine and temple. The temple is located at the end of the main street up a steep set of stairs. Visitors are rewarded with a panoramic view of the main street and its surroundings. A five minute walk off the main road stands a quiet shrine, set back in a patch of cedar trees. Its pleasant atmosphere and unique purification fountain make for a nice visit.
Ouchijuku is located in Shimogo Town, about 20 kilometers south of Aizu. The nearest station is Yunokami Onsen on the Aizu Railroad (35 minutes, 1050 yen one way from Aizu Wakamatsu Station, not covered by the Japan Rail Pass), from where Ouchijuku can be reached in a 15 minute taxi ride (around 2000 yen one way). From April to November, a bus operates between Yunokami Onsen and Ouchijuku about once per hour (20 minutes, 1000 yen for a 1-day pass).