Fukushima Sekisho is a checkpoint located in Kisofukushima where one of three major horse markets in Japan used to be held. Kisouma (Kiso horse) were bought and sold in this area.
Fukushima Sekisho Ruins was designated as a national historic site in 1979. The old gate has been restored and the museum displays documents related to checkpoints.
Fukushima Sekisho used to be one of the four major checkpoints in Japan. Kisofukushima was a key traffic hub, located at the halfway point of the Nakasendo Road. The checkpoint played an important role in cracking down on the ‘guns in and women out’ stance for 270 years. Sekisho Museum stands next to the ruins, which is a faithful replica of the old building. It displays documents of checkpoints, armor, and weapons of the time. There is a rest area on the grounds. Relax and enjoy.
We interviewed Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura.
“Ieyasu Tokugawa came to rule the whole country and made improvements to roads. The purpose of road improvements was to prevent defeated warriors of the Battle of Sekigahara from flowing out to rural areas.”
“Fukushima Sekisho was very famous, and it has a long and distinguished history.
Fukushima and Usui on Nakasendo as well as Arai and Hakone on Tokaido were four important checkpoints and observed the “guns in and women out” policy.
As with guns, once a woman entered Edo or Kyoto, she never came back. Since rural areas wouldn't develop without women, women were required to present a travel permit to pass a checkpoint.
The travel permit had to outline in detail the purpose and reasons for traveling on the Nakasendo Road. Strict checks were done at the checkpoints. It was very difficult to pass through Sekisho.
With this in mind, let’s pass through it.”
“Do you have any projects you are thinking of taking on?”
“I wish to reproduce the old Sekisho with puppets and have visitors experience passing the checkpoint. I hope that this can become a reality and many people will visit here.”
We felt his drive to restore part of that time period.
The gate of the checkpoint that was restored in 1975, the historic park, and the neighboring museum.
25 minutes’ walk
From the Ina Interchange on National road 361, 40 minutes by car
4748-1 Fukushima, Kiso Town, Kiso-gun, Nagano Prefecture
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