Wakasa was one of the “Miketsukuni” provinces that supplied provinces making offerings to the Imperial court from ancient times. People there carried seafood and salt collected in the Sea of Japan to the capital and supported the food culture of Kyoto. There is a road network called “Saba Kaido” (Mackerel Road) to connect between Wakasa and the capital, Kyoto. The road was for interregional interchange: not only foodstuff but also exchanging various goods, people and culture. Although Kumagawa in Wakasa originally was a small sleepy hamlet with around 40 homes, the place was heavily used by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1589, Asano Nagamasa who became the Lord of Wakasa decided to establish a post station from a perspective of the importance of the location’s transportation and military. Since then, Kumagawa has prospered as a post station sharing a border with Omi, and the number of housing units exceeded 200 units from the early to the middle Edo period. At the post station “Kumagawa-Juku” with a total length of about 1.1 km, the ruins of the magistrate’s office, guard station and daimyo’s storehouse remain, and water still flows in a traditional irrigation canals. As it retains a traditional street lined with the Edo Period buildings in various styles, the old-fashioned townscape is designated as the “Important Traditional Building Group Conservation Area” of Japan. Old Henmi Kanbe House, which was a house of the first mayor of Kumagawa village and one of the representative tradesmen’s houses in Kumagawa, was renovated from 1995 to 1998. It is now used as a guest house.
Also, you can learn about the history of Kumagawa-Juku and Saba Kaido at Shukubakan that was originally built as a Kumagawa Village Office in 1940. It is a Japanese-western style building, and you can as well see the influence of the time when western culture was positively adopted.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pNh8asR1_8
There is a bus from JR Obama Station. After you get on a bus, please get off at the Wakasa Kumagawa bus stop. There are not many buses so be sure to check a time table in advance.
Car access is recommended.