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.