Hello, I’m Mishi. Today, we are going back to the old days in Japan. There are many traditional places in Japan and it looks so nostalgic. These places have their own atmosphere and give you the feeling that you are experiencing time-travel. Don’t you want to see them? I love to watch black and white Japanese old movies. While samurai takes action, I always watch the backgrounds behind and think I wished I could be there! Have you thought about it? Nowadays, it’s so hard to find places that make you feel you are experiencing time-travel but there are some places like this that still exist.
Let’s take a look at those beautiful places!
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Ouchi-juku is in Fukushima prefecture. It looks like miniature houses but they are real! The road is about 450 meters and as you walk down the street, you will get to see the traditional houses on the sides. When in the Edo period, this place was used as a “Shukuba(宿場)”. Shukuba was a place for the travelers or “Daimyo(大名)” to stay. In other words, it’s a post town and this place was important in the old days. The people who used to live in here were also farmers so it used to be half a post town and a half of it was an agricultural town.
This place is a Group of Traditional Buildings. No wonder that a thatched roof creates a deep history and you will definitely get to have feelings of time-travel. The Soba(buckwheat noodles) shop is known for its good taste.
Narai-juku is in Nagano prefecture. This location is by the river called, “Naraigawa(奈良井川)” and height above sea level is 900 meters so this place is surrounded by nature. It will change the looks every season you visit! This shukuba is the longest shukuba. In the Edo period, this place was popular for woodwork and souvenirs, the people who traveled in here used to buy it. Nowadays, this area became a Group of Traditional Buildings and has been preserved the way it is.
This bridge is called “Kiso no Ohashi(木曽の大橋)”. This is near Narai-juku and a popular place for sightseeing. As you see it, it looks like a traditional bridge but this bridge is still young! It was built in 1991. What do you want to say about it? Even though it’s still new, it looks great! If you go to Narai-juku, you should visit this bridge too.
Tsumago-juku is in Nagano prefecture. It snows in the winter I am so sure that it’s beautiful when it is snowing and the snow settles on the buildings. Young people left this village and only seniors remained in here because of the growth of the economy in Japan. This place became a depopulated village and was thought this place would no longer exist so they made a plan to protect this place as it is. Since 1976 this place worked on the landscape preservation, this area became a Group of Traditional Buildings. As they made an effort to preserve the scenery, there are many tourists from all over the world.
Look at the picture. As if we are in the Edo period. The full length of this road is 500 meters and you will be able to enjoy the nostalgic scenery of Japan.
This beautiful village is called, “Shirakawa-go” is in Gifu prefecture. This place is A World Heritage Site and the way to build houses is very unique. This way is called “Gasshozukuri(合掌造り)”. It means “prayer-hands construction” in English. As you see the roofs, they have big slanting roofs. It snows much in this place so this way was designed for standing the heavy snow. Making the roofs this way also created space as a loft and they could work on their home manufacturing.
This village is surrounded by nature. As you see the picture, you can enjoy Japanese four seasons. There are some people still live in those houses it’s worth visiting this place.
Hidatakayama is in Gifu prefecture. The projecting lattices are beautiful. There are many activities around this place and its popular sightseeing in Japan. The black buildings and the snow match together. You can get to enjoy the deep history of 400 years. Some people say that this place looks like Kyoto so they call this place Hida’s Kyoto. It’s a very traditional place that won’t let you get bored.
Do you know “Jinrikisha(人力車)”? It’s like a rickshaw on the picture above. You can take a ride in it and you can travel around this place. It’s best to feel the air of the traditional style!
Magome-juku is in Gifu prefecture. As you see the stone pavement(Ishidatami/石畳) and the buildings in the picture, this place takes you on time-travel. Unfortunately, this place burned down with fire twice in 1895 and 1915 but it has been restored. It’s a relaxing place and you can enjoy watching the Japanese countryside. You will imagine that there were many people that stopped by here and rested while they were on the way to travel.
A water wheel will leave an image of the old days and it stands there profoundly. This place is one of the popular shukuba in Japan and there are many people who visit here to reminisce the old days.
Higashi-chaya-gai is in Ishikawa prefecture. It’s one of the most famous sightseeing places in Kanazawa city. In 1580, Kanazawa castle was built in this place and this place became popular as a castle town. In the Edo period(1603-1868), many “Chaya(茶屋)” were built and this area became one of the famous Chaya spots in Japan. By the way, Chaya used to be a place to serve Japanese snacks and tea but as time went by, this place began to be used for meeting geisha. Nowadays, most of those building were made in the early Meiji period(1868-1912) but still keeps the atmosphere of the old Japanese days.
This place became a Groups of Traditional Buildings in 2001 and one of the chaya in here called, “Shima(志摩)” became an important cultural property in 2003. As you see the pictures, it looks like a set for shooting movies. Samurai might come out of nowhere!
8: Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka(二年坂と三年坂)
Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka are in Kyoto. Ninenzaka is also called “Nineizaka(二寧坂)” and Sannenzaka is also called “Sanneizaka(産寧坂)”. Zaka is saka in Japanese and that means “slope” in English. Those places are one of the famous streets in Higashiyama(東山). If you go to the north side from Sannenzaka, you will see Neninzaka(the picture above), Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, and so on. If you are headed to the south side from Sannenzaka, you will see Kiyomizu temple. Kiyomizu temple is one of the popular sightseeing places in Kyoto so there are many people pass these streets.
There are souvenir shops, restaurants, ceramic stores and more. Those streets have the traditional stone pavement called, “Ishidatami(石畳)”. It became a Groups of Traditional Buildings and I’m sure that you would be able to feel the old Japan!
Fukiya is in Okayama prefecture. There is a copper mine called, “Fukiya Dozan(吹屋銅山)” near this place, in the middle of the Edo period, it used to be a mining town and prospered. In the late Edo period to the Meiji period(1868-1912), Japanese manufactured “Red Iron Oxide(Bengala)” in this place. Red Iron Oxide has been used for porcelain, lacquerware, temples, shrines, and so on. As you see the picture above, the color is called “Bengala Koshi(ベンガラ格子)”.
I want you to look at the roofs too. Isn’t it something different? the tile is called Sesshu tile(石州瓦) and one of the most famous tiles in Japan. It’s made in Iwami region, Shimane prefecture. Bengala color, Seshu tile, and nature combine together and make great harmony. This place is a Groups of Traditional Buildings and leaves the lingering flavor of the commercial area.
Kurashiki city is one of the biggest cities in Okayama prefecture. There are many old Japanese houses by the river called “Kurashiki river(倉敷川)”. Those houses are called “Kurayashiki(蔵屋敷)” and daimyo’s city storehouse in English. This place was built in 1642 and this place was for (Edo)bakufu lands(Bakufu is the government).
When this area was under the direct control of the shogun, they developed the new field of agricultural land. They used to make cotton and this area developed for the commerce and industry. There were many people who used to live in this place to work.
Isn’t it beautiful? I feel like if I walk into this place, I will run into a samurai! This place is preserved by the law of regulations of the cityscape and there are many people who come to this place from all over the world. Since in 1979, this place became a Groups of Traditional Buildings.
How was this post? Did you feel like you time-traveled? There are still many traditional buildings in Japan and you will never get tired of looking at them! Those places are so famous and used by drama, movies, anime, and so on. You might see the same spots on those media. Pay attention to the background! You might be able to see the different backgrounds of Japan!