Kiso Fukushima

Nakasendo (Central Mountain Road) is one of the five main roads built during the Edo Period and one of the two connected Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto. The other main road was Tokaido (East Sea Road). There is a saying the East Sea Road with nice views and shorter distance was designated for the rich and powerful people. Normal residence had to take the inland hilly path. There is another saying that some preferred to take Nakasendo to avoid fording rivers. Nakasendo runs through Saitama, Gunma, Nagano, Gifu and Shiga prefectures, stretching over 530km. There were 69 post stations along the route to provide accommodations, food supply and other things that travellers need.

Kiso Fukushima was in the middle of the route and was one of the major check points for taxing the travellers, controlling the trafficking of guns into the Edo region and prohibiting women from feudal families to leave so that the feudal lords could not be heavily armed with guns and would always come back for the women. Today, Kiso Fukushima is an old town lined with some historic buildings along the JR Chuo Line.

R Kiso Fukushima station 木曾福島站
The JR Kiso Fukushima station. Do you notice that there’s no tall buildings around? The station is still using an ancient “Station” Chinese/Japanese character. So authentic! 木曾福島站。有注意附近都沒有高樓大厦嗎?還有,站名是「驛」,古代的「站」名稱。Like!
Tourist Information 觀光安內所
The Tourist Information Center is right across the JR station.
Bamboo hat 竹帽
What’s special about the Tourist Information Center is that you may rent this traditional bamboo hat and wear it to travel around town and take photos. It’s more like “borrowing” with a simple registration process. Please remember to return the hat after use.
觀光安內所除了提供諮詢服務,還有這種傳統竹帽租借。只要辦理簡單的登記手續就可以”借”帽子,帶著扮古人觀光拍照。 請謹記要還!
Kiso Fukushima 木曾福島
It is a tranquil little town with thick forest, mountains, river and centuries old building around town.
Kiso Fukushima 木曾福島
There is a foot bath on the sidewalk near Kiso River that you may enjoy any time. It’s free!
Fukushima checkpoint musuem 福島關所資料館
Fukushima Checkpoint Museum is a National Heritage of Japan. It’s about 25 minutes walk from the JR station.
福島關所資料館是日本國家遺產之一,從 JR 站徒步約25分鐘。
Fukushima checkpoint museum 福島關所資料館
The original checkpoint is only a historic site. The museum was built in a residence in the neighborhood.
Fukushima Checkpoint Museum 福島關所博物館
There are old permits, documents, guns and torturing tools in the Checkpoint Museum.
Fukushima Checkpoint Museum 福島關所博物館
These huge fans were used to put away fire in the old days.
Fukushima Checkpoint Museum 福島關所博物館
The Checkpoint officer’s desk. Now it’s a desk with a tourist stamp that you may pretend to be the officer to write documents.
Kiso Fukushima 木曾福島
The former checkpoint was in a strategic position, a bit higher up than the village and across the river so that the officers were able to watch the traffic.
Kiso Fukushima 木曾福島
The nice section of Kiso Fukushima is lined with historic buildings. It is only about 15 minutes walk from the JR station.
Festival Museum まつり會館
There is a Festival Museum. It’s free!
這裡有祭典博物館 (まつり會館) ,可免費參觀!
Festival Museum まつり會館
The museum features a wooden sedan used for the annual Miko Shimakuri Festival in the middle and other local handicrafts of Kiso.
博物館內中間展示一座木曾「水無神社例大祭 」使用的木轎及其他當地的民間工藝品。
Miko Shimakuri Festival 水無神社例大祭
It’s a 400kg wooden sedan. The traditional festival will have this heavy sedan rolled (of course pushed by the big guys) on the street until it shattered. Then people would pick up the wooden pieces home for protection and good luck.
Kiso Fukushima 木曾福島
Kiso Fukushima is a relatively less touristy post town, with fewer tourists than Tsumago and Magome along Nakasendo route in Kiso District at the moment. Yet it is conveniently located along the JR line. If you use the JR Alpine Route Pass, it is a good stop to rest and explore before you head back to Nagoya.

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