Blaze in old town along Nakasendo route shows lack of preparations
News On Japan via Japan Times -- Oct 20
A recent fire in Magomejuku, an old town in Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture, that killed a man and burned five buildings has set off warning bells in other tourist spots that also boast traditional townscapes.
The many wooden structures in Magomejuku, the 43rd of 69 stations along the ancient Nakasendo route, have allowed it to maintain its Edo Period feel, but also enabled the fire to spread rapidly.
The town's poor preparations for dealing with a fire of this size were also exposed. Magomejuku is located far from the fire station and current fire prevention measures proved insufficient.
The fire started at Tsutaya Senbeido, an old "senbei" rice cracker store, in the predawn hours of Oct. 10. The shop is located half-way down a 600-meter slope, and was an integral part of the "post town on a slope" image that Magomejuku is famous for.
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