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Bokushi Street

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Bokushi Street in Shiozawa is a recreation of an Edo era post town along the Mikuni Highway. The buildings have old-style facades and the wide street has covered walkways which, back in the day, were necessary to allow passage during the heavy winter snows that buried the road.


It is a great place for a stroll as it has plenty of details to admire, a background of mountains, and some interesting little stops along its length. Take your time and enjoy.


The street takes its name from Suzuki Bokushi who wrote Hokuetsu Seppu. This account of life in the Snow Country region drew attention to this area and the unknown hardships, a place that was cut off by the winter snow, and only accessible when the routes through the mountain were accessible in spring. The book also contains some of the very first sketches of snowflakes.


Follow the road across the traffic lights and these individual snowflake designs are embedded in the side walk as decorative tiles.


Another interesting little snippet from the stroll are the little mantis statues on some of the beams. Apparently a mantis will lay its eggs in autumn above the height of the coming winter snows. By checking out the height of mantis eggs you can predict what kind of winter it will be. Some of the observed data for different years are written on the beams.


There are cafes and restaurants on the street, or just off it, so should you be in need of refreshment during your time on Bokushi Street, you are never far away from food and drink. There is even a sake brewery as the Aoki Brewery have an office just on the street. Maps and displays also decorate the period walkways and walls, and there are events throughout the year.


If you are there from late February to early April you can see impressive displays of Hina dolls in many different establishments.


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