The sites of the old honjin and waki-honjin are in the center of Niegawa, but more notable is the reconstruction of the old barrier or seki at the Edo end of the town. This was rebuilt in 1976 using Edo period]documents and the town journal from 1876.
Niegawa had a small population, only 545 people in 1841, but a proportionally large number of inns. The “seki” closed the highway to traffic at six o’clock in the evening, and this forced many travelers to spend a night in one of Niegawa’s 25 inns.
Two post-towns, Motoyama and Seba, lie between Niegawa and Shiojiri. The valley continues to be very narrow on the way to Motoyama, five miles along the noisy national highway. Only in a few places do the highway and the Nakasendo part ways for some moments of quiet. Several old inns remain as shops and homes. Far up on a lofty hill to the right are the remains of Motoyama castle which dates from the Warring States period.
After Motoyama, the Nakasendo rejoins the modern highway, but only for a short while. The valley gradually begins to widen and, most of the way to Seba, barely a mile away, is on the old road. Even the roar of the highway begins to fade a bit entering Seba. Little is remarkable about Seba today; only its temples and shrines indicate its antiquity. The sites of the honjin and waki-honjin are marked and between them is the location of an official weigh station. This inspection point checked the weight being carried by porters, which was not supposed to exceed 85 pounds according to regulations published by the Tokugawa shogunate. On the Edo side of town is a marker pointing the Nakasendo to the right while to the left was a connecting route to the old Hokkudo highway. This road was known as the road to Zenkoji because it led north to Nagano city with its famous Zenkoji temple which continues to attract millions of tourists today. These travelers would have been called pilgrims in the Edo period.
Leaving Seba, the Nakasendo joins the modern highway for a while before reverting to country road. Having been forced to the north by the Kiso valley, the old highway now executes a broad sweep to the east toward Tokyo. Ten miles after leaving Niegawa, the highway enters the provincial city of Shiojiri, formerly a post-town.