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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

FUKUSHIMA Aizuwakamatsu & Oze

Famous for its traditional crafts and the intense loyalty of its samurai

Set in a beautiful valley, Aizuwakamatsu offers onsen, hiking, and river sports, as well as some well-preserved traditional townscapes. The area is also famous for its lacquerware. It was the last stronghold of the samurai at the end of the 19th century, and there is much to see of this history.

Don't Miss

  • A taste of local seafood and mountain vegetables, including miso dengaku, tofu grilled with miso
  • Nanukamachi Street, with retro buildings preserved from the Taisho period (1912–1926)
  • Stroll around Ouchijuku, an old Edo period town with unpaved streets, that looks like a movie set

How to Get There

The town can be reached via shinkansen from Tokyo in just under three hours.

If using this route, you will need to change trains at Koriyama before continuing on to Aizuwakamatsu Station.

For travel within the city, you can purchase a 500 yen one-day pass for the Sightseeing Bus which departs from Aizuwakamatsu Station. It stops at all of the major tourist sites.

Quick Facts

Aizuwakamatsu was the home of the Byakkotai, a famous military unit from 1868 to 1869

Sake, pottery, and lacquerware are some of the largest industries in Aizuwakamatsu

The heart of samurai culture in the north

A land of soaring sharp hills on flat plains, and encircled by mountain ranges, Aizuwakamatsu is known as the land of the samurai. It was one of the last strongholds of the Edo period (1603-1868) and clashed with the Meiji government forces during the brutal Boshin Civil Wars of 1868-1869.

Explore many historical locations showcasing samurai culture

Many of the main sights of Aizuwakamatsu are located on the Aizu Loop Bus route. These include Tsuruga Castle , the seat of the lords of Aizu, situated in the Tsuruga Castle Park . Once a site of fierce fighting, the park is now a popular cherry blossom viewing spot, and hosts a charming lantern festival in winter.

Tragedy of the White Tiger Troop

At Mount Iimori , a memorial commemorates the 19 members of the Byakkotai (White Tiger Troop), a group of teenage samurai who committed ritual suicide during the Boshin War. While you're there, climb the temple of Sazaedo, known as the "snail-shell" temple, with its unique double-helix staircase, and maybe gain some good karma in the process.

See how a high-ranking samurai lived

The restored Aizu Bukeyashiki is one of the most complete mansions of its kind. Stroll through Oyakuen, a royal medicinal garden first established in the 14th century. You can see many medicinal herbs growing along the garden paths that wind around the lake, then stop at the tea house for a healthy brew.

Take a dip

Just ten minutes from the city center by car or taxi, you will find the rejuvenating Aizu Higashiyama Onsen Village , with 17 ryokan and hotels providing private and public hot springs. Enjoy the elegant, historical bathhouses and teahouses along the river, where geisha once entertained and enchanted lords, samurai and poets.

Unique arts and crafts

Aizuwakamatsu is known for its own particular arts and crafts, such as its unique style of lacquerware (Aizu-nuri), with delicate, handpainted motifs.

The area is also known for maki-e, a method of brushing on designs with gold and silver powder. You can visit some of the shops which run these workshops and take home your own maki-e souvenir.

Pottery is also a significant industry here, and you can buy some to take home with you or make your own. Munakata climbing kiln is a pottery kiln that is built into the side of a mountain and has various chambers within it. When it's not in use, you can take a tour through it.

Rich regional cuisine

You can try Aizu cuisine at many traditional restaurants, some of which have been around for hundreds of years. Since the region is surrounded by mountains, the local food is centered around dried and preserved seafood and mountain vegetables. If you have a sweet tooth, try agemanju, a deep-fried bun stuffed with sweetened azuki beans.

Aizu also has a proud sake tradition, and you can visit some of the breweries and take a tour with samples of some of the locally produced sake. One such place is the famous Suehiro Sake Brewery, conveniently located on the Aizu Bus Loop route.

Charming villages and dramatic nature

Further out from Aizuwakamatsu city are several regions of interest. You can explore the postcard-perfect Ouchijuku town, where thatched-roof houses line the main street. Or visit Kitakata and take a walking tour of the city's kura, or traditional Japanese warehouses, and sample some soul-warming Kitakata ramen.

Experience the stunning nature on offer in the Urabandai region, where volcanic forces have blessed the land with multi-colored lakes. Or go extreme on some of the best skiing that Japan has to offer on the slopes of Mt Bandai .

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