Left: Ferry on the Yasu River Source: Picture Book of Great Sights on the Kiso Highway (1804)
Right: Milestone where the Chosenjinkaido Highway branches off from Nakasendo
The city is where the Chosenjinkaido Highway branches off from Nakasendo, a key highway from the ancient times. Nakasendo is one of the five main roads built or improved by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 17th century. Chosenjinkaido is considered to have been used by the Joseon (Korea) missions to Japan. A ferry carried passengers across the River Yasu, one of the most difficult rivers to cross on the Nakasendo Highway. The river's abundant subsoil flow was a key ingredient in the development of a unique hemp cloth bleaching industry. Local tradesmen known as omi shonin delivered the hemp cloth bleached in the River Yasu all over Japan. Lake Biwa is another water resource that blesses the region.