Ochijuku – Another look 👹🍣🎎 Wonderful Japan

in Pinmapple • 11 months ago (edited)

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Since it was so nice there, let's have another look today at Ochijuku, the former post station on the old road from Tokyo to the Aizu region. As I wrote last time, the Shukuba (宿場町) called post station served in particular the lodging and hospitality of passing samurai and officials, so that they could find safe overnight accommodations on their journeys, which often lasted several days. Originally not intended for pilgrims or merchants, later on " normal travelers" were also able to find a shelter and warm food there, assuming they were able to pay.

Most of the shukuba no longer exist, the modern highways and expressways bring the traveler through the country in record time, and if one should ever get hungry, there are now modern rest stops, which handle the passing through guests in a fast and efficient way.

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Back then, life in Ochijuku and other shukuba will have been a much quieter affair, even though I am sure that they have seen some pretty exciting events. From time to time, high-ranking daimyo with half their court came through and stayed overnight. And nobody wanted to mess with them, because in the end everyone's well-being always depended on the favor of their lord, i.e. the daimyo. The feudal classes were strictly defined and there was no chance to rise or break out of them.

As one of a few shukuba, Ochijuku has survived to the present day and has once again become a center of attraction. The old and almost original thatched buildings have remained in very good condition until modern times and can now bear witness to the life and existence of a former postal station in the Edo period.

Last time I already showed you how it looks like in Ochijuku. Today we take a lighter and more relaxed look at and behind the scenes.

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Here we see the main street, which on both sides is lined with the lodging buildings where a few hundred years ago the passing travelers could spend the night and were entertained. Even today, people try their luck in business, and even today they aim at the passing travelers. But now those do not stay overnight, but for a few hours at most. And during this short stay the people of Ochijuku are trying their best to make sure that their guests don't have to leave with their wallets too heavy. For this reason, in almost every building in Ochijuku there is a souvenir store or a restaurant, all competing with each other for the favor of the visitors.

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The displays of almost all stores look like that or similar. Local made and also imported souvenirs of all kinds are waiting for a buyer, and apparently there are quite a lot of them. But even you are not aiming to buy more souvenirs, it is always fun to browse around in such stores and check out all the things at display.

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Probably the other visitors where just like us. Many of the stores were well visited and although almost all shops offer the same things, they all seem to be able to survive quite well. I often find it interesting to just sit or stand off to the side and watch all the action.

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One thing I noticed in Ochijuki was the variety of Coke advertising, of which I would now like to share a few pictures. The advertising posters and signs were specially made for Ochijuku and show scenes from the historic-looking streetscape. Coca-Cola is such an all-world beverage, so why couldn't they find at least one Japanese supplier and sponsor? For all their modernity, Japanese beverage manufacturers would simply fit in better here.

But be it as it is. And that's why there are now a few cola pictures.

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Alone or with a green partner, the brown liquid is greeting from several signs and almost seems a little charming. But only almost...

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Coke or ginger ale - the choice is yours.

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Sometimes it all looks already a bit weathered and cracked, but still not really vintage and for the history books.

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And the big rival also made it here and is able to impress with a somewhat rustic look. If the choice was made only on the basis of advertising, Pepsi would have been the winner that day. But we preferred to treat ourselves to some tea, we are still in Japan after all. And if they have a good tasting tea anywhere, then it is here!

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A look into the guest area of one of the "restaurants" reveals that Ochijuku is not scoring much in things of stye and glamour. It all feels rather a bit messy, but it comes with a very own and personal touch. Even Anpanman greets us here as well, with his round, always smiling face, and he is here to do his part of the job of convincing the very young visitors to take a break here and indulge in a little Negi Soba. Those buckwheat noodles which you can buy all of Ochijuku, and which you eat with a leek stick instead of chopsticks in Ochijuku. Or at least try to eat it.

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Especially in the warm season it is essential to have a constant supply of well chilled drinks, and the small cold rivulets running along both sides of the dusty streets are perfect for this. Of course, if you want to, you can relax your feet as well, but the walking around in Ochijuku wasn't that exhausting after all.

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Then rather get a small snack, which you then can enjoy sitting outside and watching the street. Ice cream is always a good choice and fits in almost every season. Or how about some grilled mochi, sticky rice cake with flavorful soy sauce. A typical Japanese snack that I recommend to get yourself from time to time.

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Not only we are watching the street scene, but there were also a few locals who preferred to take it easy that day. They were just checking out all the passing visitors, and I am sure there where laughing about us all the time. I figure day in and day out they will surely see some pretty interesting folks coming through here.

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At the end let us have a look over the whole settlement and enjoy the view. Despite the many stores down there, Ochijuki is still worth a visit. If you are already in that area, I recommend to take a look around. The atmosphere is captivating, kinda simple and nostalgic, and when I now look back to my visit I feel that Ochijuku was extraordinarily charming.

For us, it was then time to get on the road and back to Aizu Wakamatsu. But even the way to come out here and get back was worth the little tour to Ochijuku. The area impresses with dense green forests that stretch over endless mountain ranges. And behind those mountains, there's nothing but more forests and mountains and maybe a small road and a settlement every now and then. Large parts of the middle of Japan are difficult to access and that's where Mother Nature is in command. Passing through here by car, you understand why most Japanese crowd the coastal areas and why housing is scarce.

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This was our second look at Ochijuku, but I hope to report back from here again someday. Hopefully I will make it to this region once more in the future, and then I'd like to stop by here. But there is still so much to see in Japan, and we all have so little time. That's why the next destination has to be well thought out, but I'm sure that wherever we go, we'll find something interesting to see.

So please check out my blog again, because soon I will share new impressions and pictures from the land of the rising sun. For today I would like to wave goodbye and wish you all a wonderful day...

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[//]:# (!pinmapple 37.33542 lat 139.86120 long Ochijuku – Another look 👹🍣🎎 Wonderful Japan d3scr)

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Hiya, @ybanezkim26 here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made it into our Top 3 in Daily Travel Digest #1889.

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It is a very beautiful place to visit.

Yes it was. Thanks for stopping by

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Wow, Thank you for sharing about japanese culture, souvenir, foods and beverages in Japan.

Those settlement looks very clean, well managed and tidy. I think one of japanese culture is always keep the environment clean. Wonderful culture 👍

Hello there. Yes you are right! One good point about Japan is the cleanliness everywhere. I am glad I could show you some aspects of Japanese culture. Thanks a lot for stopping by!