The town and its residents go to great lengths to recreate the ambience of the Edo Period. Cars are prohibited on the main street in the day and phone lines and power cables are kept concealed, allowing visitors to imagine they have slipped back to an earlier time.
Tsumago also recreates the post town atmosphere by maintaining its Honjin and Wakihonjin. In all post towns, the Honjin was the principal inn and served government officials who were traveling through. When more lodging was required, the Wakihonjin served to accommodate the travelers of lower status. Tsumago also maintains the office where laborers and horses were rented to aid in travel.
Many minshuku and ryokan are located in the town, and a stay at one of them will greatly add to the illusion of having left the modern era. If time permits, it is highly recommended to hike a preserved trail of the former Nakasendo from Tsumago to Magome. It is well maintained and well marked in both Japanese and English.
Points of interest
- The Nagiso Museum of History contains information on the areas history, the preservation of row houses and data about row houses throughout the country.
- Kabuto Kannon Shrine is a small shrine dedicated to Minamoto no Yoshinaka, the "General of the Rising Sun," who built a citadel at Tsumago. The shrine was built around 1180.
- Tsumago Castle is nothing but a few ruins today. During the Edo period, however, its mountaintop location gave it wonderful views of both Tsumago-juku and Midono-juku. It served as the site of a large battle in 1584 and was dismantled in the early 17th century, as a result of the Genna era's "one country, one castle" rule.
- Rurisan Kōtoku-ji Temple, with its white walls and stone base, rises one story above the area's buildings. Founded in 1500, its main deity was added in 1599, and is notable for its Nightingale floors and a 500-year-old weeping cherry tree out front.
- Perhaps its most interesting aspect, however, is the restored row of houses along the former post road. Most were houses built for common people in the mid-18th century, with shops and inns for travelers along the Nakasendō.
- A quiet portion of the original highway has been preserved between Tsumago and Magome, the next post town (also restored). It provides for a pleasant walk through the forests and past a waterfall. Also, so guests do not have to walk the path twice to return to the beginning of the hike, bus service is provided between the two ends of the road
According to en.wikipedia.org and japan-guide.com