It has been almost a week since I visited here, Unno-juku in Tohmi City.
At that time, buds of Somei-yoshino Sakura were yet to bloom, but now they should be in full bloom.
Unno-juku is one of many ‘shukuba’ post towns like Tyler-san once presented in this blog.
This town has its history of being located along the Hokkoku kaido Line, which branches off from Nakasen-do Line at Oiwake juku near Karuizawa and heads to Zenkoji in Nagano City.
the main 6 'kaido's during the Edo Period
This is a map of Nagano pref: Can you see the pink line?
That is the Hokkoku kaido Line.
It leaves the Nakasendo Line, the green one, at Oiwake-juku and heads northwards.
Unno-juku locates just a bit north of Oiwake-juku in Nakasendo Line.
FYI: Nakasendo Line stretched from Edo, the present day Tokyo, from Kyo, the present day Kyoto, entering to Shinshu area, the present day Nagano pref. at Karuizawa and exiting it from Kiso area.
Now about Unno-juku.
Unno-juku was designated as an official post town in the Edo Period, but had long been a flourished castle town of Lord Unno.
Like Obuse or Suzaka or many other post towns along such Kaido lines, it held 6 markets a month, and used to be a cross road to various trades.
However, after the Edo era ended and walking was no more the only way to travel around, the ‘shukuba’ post towns were no more in need.
Then the people in this Unno-juku started their business of cericulture, silk industry.
Just then Japan had opened country to the world and started trading things. Silk was among the top things foreign traders wanted from Japan.
Making good use of former large buildings of inns etc., many households kept silkworms inside their house, spinned the silk, and sold it.
These whole process is exhibited in a little musuem called,’ Unno-juku Siryoukan.’
This small museum is housed in a building which used to be an inn in the Edo era, and in the Meiji era held silk industry.
You can see many old style tools and inteirors nonchalantly placed here and there inside the building.
the street along Unno juku is relatively wide
Unlike ‘shukuba’ towns along Kiso area, this post town is not so crowded with tourists, and although the buildings are designated as cultural assets and thus maintained carefully, many old houses no longer serve as inns or shops as their wood signs indicate.
There are, however, a few cozy souvenir shops , soba restaurants, antique shops, and coffeterias along the street.
a friendly antique shop
a cozy caffeterier
The atmosphere is not so joyously crowded, but serene, and you can surely feel relaxed and spend time leisurely in a sobalier or in a caffeteria within old buildings.
attatch boards to help holding up the sparrows nests, which is a common practice in ordinary farm houses
school children coming back to their homes in the evening