The Kiso Pass is a 70 km stretch of the old Nakasendo highway connecting the shogun’s capital of Edo with the imperial capital of Kyoto. This route was heavily traveled in the Edo Period and was dotted with official post towns that provided accommodations for travelers. Luckily for us, in the Kiso Valley a few of these post towns have preserved their original feel.
With easy access from Matsumoto as well as Nagoya and Tokyo, this scenic area is graced with rolling mountains and lush forests that burst into vibrant hues of yellow, orange, and red in the fall. Nature provides the perfect background to the quaint traditional villages dotting the Nakasendo. Much of the original highway itself still remains and is popular with hikers and history enthusiasts.
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Naegi Castle was the home of 12 generations of the Toyama clan. It's unique in that most mountain castles were abandoned in the Edo Period for more convenient flatland fortifications, but this one remained in use until 1868.
This is a typical checkpoint built by the Tokugawa Shogunate in order to regulate traffic and the transport of weapons and fleeing women during the Edo Period. It was established to monitor a side road that bypassed the major checkpoint of the Nakasendo at Fukushima-juku (which has also been reconstructed).
A daikan was regional governor or magistrate. The Yamamura clan, originally retainers of the Kiso clan, held the position for 15 generations and this is the main building of their residence. The residence has been partly restored and converted into a museum. There is a shrine with a mummified fox as well as many items [..]
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