ShiojiriShiojiri ( Shiojiri-shi) is a city in Nagano.
Shiojiri's main claims to fame are its geographical location and the fact that its name means "salt butt". This is due to the fact that it was the end of the "Salt Road" where salt merchants would travel inland from the Sea of Japan. At Shiojiri, the mountain passes became too treacherous and the residents on the other side of the pass were better served by salt merchants from the Pacific Ocean side. By some accounts, if you were able to balance the nation of Japan on a pin, the point would fall somewhere in Shiojiri, although other estimates put the geographic center of the country in Matsumoto.
Shiojiri lies at the precise midpoint of the JR Chuo Main Line between Tokyo and Nagoya. The JR Shinonoi (for Matsumoto) and Tatsuno Lines also start from Shiojiri.
Shiojiri is famous for its wineries, although those of developed palates may not find the local vintage to their liking.
Shiojiri is also home to the Hiraide Iseki archealogical dig and museum. The museum houses artifacts several thousand years old.
The Hirooka neighborhood of Shiojiri is the location of the "tanka-kan," a museum dedicated to the traditional Japanese poetry known as tanka.
Narai-JukuAn extremely well-preserved town from the Edo-Kyoto route times, in the beautiful Kiso valley. There are a few ryokans as well.