During the Edo period (1603-1867) in Japan Nakamachi Street was located in the center part of the castle town of Matsumoto City thus denoting its name :Naka- meaning in or center, machi – meaning town. It has prospered as the main business section, mainly a wholesale dealer’s district up to this very day. Many historical buildings still found here used to be used as warehouses. These buildings called Kura or Dozo, some more than a 100 years old, were especially designed to be fireproof to protect the precious goods that were stored inside. This traditional fireproofing method involved creating very thick walls, anywhere from 20 to 30 centimeters, that were treated with a number of layers of mud in the inside but beautifully designed with a black and white checker design on the outside. As previously stated most of these buildings were used as warehouses but occasionally for regular houses as well.
Within Nakamachi district there is a special example of a large Kura building called Kura – shikku Kan. The named of this building using the word “Kura” and adding “shikku” to the end was to imitate the English word “classic”, noting it’s a classic example of this kind of traditional building. The entire building was relocated from a different part of the district about 18 years ago and used to be part of a Japanese sake winery and is dated around 1900.
Presently Kura buildings once used as warehouses now house various shops selling Japanese pickles, lacquer ware and crafts. They also serve as restaurants for various Japanese food including Soba (buckle wheat) noodles as well as for Italian restaurants and coffee shops. Both local residence and tourists can enjoy the convenience of modern life along with the atmosphere of this wonderful historical district.