Narai is a post-town in Nagano, Japan. It developed as a stop on the Nakasenndo, a trail that connected Tokyo and Kyoto, it was once the wealthiest post-town in the Kiso Valley and was nicknamed "Narai of a Thousand Houses" due to the many houses along its main road. Most of these houses are preserved like they were in the Edo Era and it's preserved area is much larger than those found in most other post-towns.
Visitor information centre
The nearest airport to Narai is Matsumoto's airport which is roughly an hour a way from the post-town, it only has flights to Fukuoka, Sapporo and Osaka. The nearest international airport is Chubu Centrair International Airport near Nagoya which is roughly four hours away.
- 1 Kamidonya Shiryokan (上問屋資料館), 379 Narai, ☏ . 10:00-17:00, closed at 16:00 in March and Novermber. History museum in a building from the Edo period. It is maintained with the same techniques that were used in the Edo Period. Various tools and document from the area are on display ¥300.
- 2 Nakamura Residence (中村邸, Nakamura tei), 311 Narai, ☏ . 09:00 to 17:00 from April to November, closes at 16:00 from December to March. Home of the former Nakamura family, a family of merchants who used to be one of Narai's richest families during the Edo Period. The house functions as a museum and showcases a traditional Edo Era residence. ¥300.
- 1 Shizu Shrine Festival (鎮神社まつり, Shizujinja matsuri). August 11th and 12th. Narai's main festival, a musical procession descends from the shrine to Narai station via the main road playing traditional music for the town's residents and its many visitors. Free.
- 1 Yechiyoga Ryokan (ゑちごや旅館), 493 Narai, ☏ , email@example.com. Ryokan with more than 200 years of history, comes with seasonal meals. ~¥14,500 with meals.
- 2 Minshuku Shimada (民宿 しまだ), 600 Narai, ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 10:00. Edo era guesthouse on Narai's main street ¥9,000 with meals, ¥5,800 without meals.
Within the Kiso Valley
- Magome and Tsumago, two other post-towns in the south of the Kiso Valley. The trail between the towns is one of the most popular trails in Japan.
- Nagiso, city that administers Tsumago with many Waterfalls.
- Shiojiri, the northern-most city in the Kiso Valley that administers Narai
Also in Chubu
- Gero Onsen, one of Japan's top onsens.
- Ina (Nagano Prefecture), home to Takato Castle Park, one of Japan's Top 3 Cherry Blossom Spots.
- Matsumoto, home to one of Japan's best castles.
- Nagano, temple town and former Olympic host city.
- Nagoya, Chubu's largest city south of Magome.
- Takayama, city with well-preserved post-town.
- Yaotsu, town with museum commemorating the history of Jews in Japan.