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A trip through Aizu and seeing the Samurai spirit

1night,2days Departure from Tokyo

Aizu Wakamatsu is where samurai warriors proudly lived. Visit this town of history and tradition that still continues, and then go further beyond to be in contact with nature and visit the town of Kitakata, which is a town of merchants with beautiful storehouses.

  • 1night,2days

Aizu Wakamatsu

[Traveling]

Tokyo -- <Tohoku Shinkansen 80 mins.> -- Koriyama -- <JR Banetsu West Line 40 mins.> -- Aizu-Wakamatsu -- <Machinaka Tour Bus> [Tsuruga Castle Donjon] [Aizu Samurai Residences] [Iimori / Byakkotai Suicide Spot] [ Sazaedo] [Nanokamachi Street] -- Aizu-Wakamatsu -- <Aizu Railway 21 mins.> -- Ashinomaki-onsen

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

[Discount Ticket] Unlimited rides on trains and busses in the Aizu area for two days.

Tsuruga Castle Donjon

The new government (Meiji Government) and the former government (Tokugawa Shogunate) collided in the Boshin War (1868 to 1869). Tsuruga Castle is the symbol of the samurai warriors who proudly fought until the end in Aizu. A distinctive feature is its red-tiled roof, which is unusual for castles in Japan. Inside are a museum that introduces the history and culture of Aizu, as well as a corner where visitors can have their pictures taken in gorgeous kimonos. The "Rinkaku" teahouse located in the ruins is also a must-see.

Aizu Samurai Residences

Lines of historic structures such as Jinyas (homes of officials) including the residence of Tanomo Saigo, who was the chief retainer of the Aizu Clan.

Mt. Iimori / Byakkotai Suicide Spot

The Byakkotai were a group of young samurai warriors (16 to 17 yrs. old) who fought in the Boshin War. They took their own lives upon seeing flames coming from the direction of the castle, thinking that it had been defeated.

Sazaedo

A hexagonal, three-tiered temple standing at 16.5 meters-tall. It is one of the most unusual structures in the world as it has no stairs and you must take different paths as you ascend and descend. Built in 1796.

Nanokamachi Street

A street with the same features that it had a hundred years ago. It is lined with establishments such as shops featuring traditional arts and crafts, retro shops offering general merchandise, fancy storehouse-style cafes, and restaurants. Recommended for those who want to enjoy shopping and eating.

Ashinomaki-onsen Hot Spring

A hot spring resort with a history of over a thousand years, said to have been established by the famous eighth-century priest, Gyoki. The many inns along the river offer beautiful views of the gorge as you enjoy the scenery of fresh green along with autumnal leaves while you bathe.

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1st Day

Kitakata

[Traveling]

Ashinomaki-onsen Hot Spring -- <Aizu Railway 19 mins.> -- [To-no-Hetsuri] -- <Aizu Railway 5 mins.> -- Yunokami-onsen Hot Spring -- <15 mins. by taxi> -- [Ouchijuku] -- <15 mins. by taxi> -- Yunokami-onsen Hot Springs -- <Aizu Railway 40 mins.> -- Aizu Wakamatsu -- <Banetsu West Line 15 mins.> -- Kitakata -- <by walk> -- [Kitakata - Storehouse Townscape][Yamatogawa Sake Brewing Museum] -- <Banetsu West Line 17 mins.> -- Aizu Wakamatsu -- <Banetsu West Line 40 mins.> -- Koriyama -- <Tohoku Shinkansen 80 mins.> -- Tokyo

To-no-Hetsuri

"Hetsuri" means "cliff" in the Aizu dialect. It has been named so because of the tower-shaped rocks that stand two hundred meters across along the riverside. About one million years of weathering and erosion have created the scenery that exists today.

Ouchijuku

A hot springs town on the Shimotsuke Kaido Road, which connected Aizu Wakamatsu and Imaichi in Tochigi Prefecture during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is said to be a miraculous town where the past meets the present as there are over forty structures that still have their original thatched and hipped roofs. A local specialty is soba noodles eaten with green onions used as chopsticks while taking bites of the green onions during the meal.

Kitakata, storehouse townscape

Kitakata had prospered as a merchant town. There still remain four thousand and two hundred storehouses as the nature of the locality is one where it is said that a man becomes a true man once he builds a storehouse. Many of these storehouses are now used as shops and sake breweries.

Kitakata Ramen

Kitakata is famous for its ramen and has nearly fifty ramen shops. The standard ramen here is ramen with soy sauce-based broth, but original dishes such as ramen with salt-based broth and wasabi are also popular.

Yamatogawa Sake Brewing Museum

The storehouse-style home of the Yamatogawa Shuzouten sake brewery established in 1790. It is currently open to the public as the "Yamatogawa Sake Brewing Museum". Here, tools and equipment for brewing sake are displayed in order of the times that they were used so that visitors can see how they evolved. There is a sake-tasting corner where you can try over ten different types of sake.

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2nd Day

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