Shinchaya means literally ‘new tea-house’. Although there is no record of exactly when the ‘new’ house was built, it seems certain that a rest place for travelers half way up the steep climb from Ochiai to Magome has existed here for centuries. Even today the two inns which make up this small community continue to offer traditional accommodation.
The hamlet lies just across the border separating Gifu and Nagano prefectures. An ichirizuka which is located at this spot was fully restored in 1993. Better known, however, is the rock nearby which has been inscribed in author Shimazaki Toson’s own hand: “North from here is the Kiso road”.
The road continues for a mile through pleasant farmland before Magome is reached. Turning back to face Ochiai the traveler is rewarded with a breathtaking view across the foothills of Mount Ena and the valley below.