Travel back in time in Izushi Castle Town
Explore this historic town in traditional kimono garb
Slip back in time as you stroll through the picturesque streetscape of Izushi dressed in a traditional kimono. This once-thriving castle town retains the atmosphere of old Japan, when samurai and wealthy merchants roamed the town. Admire stunning and historic architecture from the Edo Period (1603-1867) which has been immaculately preserved throughout the centuries. It’s no wonder Izushi has been designated by the Japanese government as a National Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Home to the oldest currently operating kabuki theater in the Kansai area, an iconic 19th-century clock tower, and beautiful castle ruins, this compact town has plenty to catch your eye and engage your sense of historical wonder.
Begin your tour at Izushi Kimono Rental Mu, a rental shop where staff will help dress you in your favorite kimono design, together with matching sandals. Then set off on foot or hop in an old-fashioned rickshaw to explore the town's many photogenic sites. Climb the slopes of the old castle grounds for sweeping views of the surrounding area, as well as a tunnel of vermilion torii gates which lead to the castle's Inari temple. For authentic Japanese entertainment, enjoy a traditional kabuki performance followed by a backstage tour at the Eirakukan Theater. To get further insight into what life was like in the past, visit the former residence of a high-ranking samurai filled with original artifacts and other historical treasures.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, Izushi is home to some 50 soba noodle shops offering a local take on buckwheat noodles known as “Izushi Sara Soba”. A single portion of noodles is served on five small plates, and ravenous visitors will be awarded a prize if they can make their way through 20 plates—the height of a chopstick. If you’re looking to wet your whistle, be sure to sample Sasazuru sake, available for purchase at a local brewery that once catered to the lord of the castle.
Izushi can be reached by a 1-hour bus ride from Kinosaki Onsen. Knowledgeable English-speaking guides are available for those wishing to delve deeper into the town's intriguing background.
Access: From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Kounotori limited express train to Ebara Station (about 2 hours and 30 minutes); take the Zentan bus to the Takuanderaguchi bus stop (about 20 minutes); walk about 6 minutes.
Izushi Kimono Rental (Izushi Tourism Association)
104-7 Uchimachi, Izushi-cho, Toyooka-shi, Hyogo-ken
Up to 3 hours