Top 5 Things to Do in Aizu-Wakamatsu
August 4, 2016
oldest and strongest castle in the Tohoku region, Tsurugajo Castle was the
centre of power in the region for almost five centuries until its fall in 1868
during one of the final battles in the Boshin War. Aizu’s long tradition of
samurai made the castle almost impenetrable and the clan resisted the armies of the New Government for a month
until mortar and cannon fire relentlessly bombarded the castle. Today the
castle and its grounds are a great site to enjoy not only its rich history but
also its splendid natural and architectural beauty throughout the year.
Address: 1-1 Otemachi, Aizu-wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture 965-0873
Access: From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station take the Aizu Loop Bus for about 20 minutes until "Tsurugajo Kitaguchi" from which the castle is a few minutes' walk.
Opening Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Admission Fee: 410 yen
in the hills and mountainside of western Aizu lies Iimoriyama. The site holds
great sentimental value for the citizens of Aizu as it is here where the young Aizu
soldiers of the Byakkotai, or White Tiger Corps, committed suicide after
witnessing the sight of their clan’s castle in flames and their castle town in
ruins. For the history buffs, there is also a plaque donated by Nazi-Germany
and a column of Pompeii donated by Fascist Italy around 1935.
Address: Oazayahata,Itsukimachi, Aizu-wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture 965-0003
Access: From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station take the Aizu Loop Bus for about 5 minutes in a clockwise direction until “Iimoriyama-shita” which is at the base of the mountain.
Opening Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 (summer) or 9:00 to 16:00 (winter)
Admission Fee: Grave site, free; Memorial Hall, 400 yen; Folklore Museum, 300 yen.
If you are looking for a day-trip out of Aizu, the Ura-bandai Area is just around the corner! Featuring over a hundred lakes and ponds, the area makes for a highly enjoyable day hiking or cycling. Goshiki-numa, the “Five-coloured Ponds,” are particularly beautiful as they each have their own unique coloured water due to the properties of the volcanic ground underneath. Following a sightseeing trail of a bit over 3.5 kilometres from the nearest bus stop takes about 70 minutes.
Address: 1093 Ken-ga-mine, Hibara, Kita-Shiobara Village, Yama County, Fukushima Prefecture 969-2701
Access: From Inawashiro Station on the JR By Ban-etsu Saisen Line you take the Bandai Toto Bus bound for Goshiki-numa Ponds.
Oyakuen is a beautiful Japanese garden completed around 1430 by the ruling lord of Aizu at the time. The garden features a large pond at its heart surrounded by a tea house, villa and medicinal herb garden. Upon entering you will notice the Ochayagoten to your right, from this traditional pavilion with tatami-mats you can enjoy a refreshing drink while viewing across the pond.
Address: 8-1 Hanaharumachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture 965-0804
Access: Oyakuen Bus Stop on the Aizu Loop Bus Route is just outside the garden’s entrance.
Opening Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Admission Fee: 320 yen
Suehiro Sake Brewery
Sake, or rice wine, is one of Japan’s most famous products and Suehiro Brewery’s sake is renowned throughout the country. The brewery has remained true to its traditional production methods for its price-winning sake with a deep flavour and fragrant aroma. If you are proficient in Japanese the brewery offers an interesting guided tour every 30 minutes that takes you through the production process, but if you are not feel free to join others at the bar for some sampling of its finest products.
Address: 12-38 Nisshinmachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture 965-0861
Access: Just a few minute walk from Nanukamachi Station
Opening Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Admission Fee: Free
Although he has lived in both Tokyo and Kyoto for quite some time now, Bjorn continues to explore Japan's less well-known corners for the country's endless beauty and delicious local dishes. By sharing his experience he hopes to inspire others to create their own cherished memories of Japan.