Aizu Wakamatsu

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu-Wakamatsu (��Îᏼ) is a castle town in the interior of Fukushima Prefecture which is known for its award-winning sake and its samurai tradition. Towards the end of Japan's feudal era , the Aizu clan remained loyal to the shogun, even after the feudal leader had stepped down after the Meiji Restoration , and opposed the new government during the Boshin War in 1868, which was partially fought in Aizu.

Aizu-Wakamatsu is surrounded by mountains of which Mount Bandai is the regional landmark. Many hiking and skiing opportunities and scenic beauty can be enjoyed in the city's natural surroundings. The Aizu region escaped heavy contamination from the nuclear accident in 2011, and radiation levels have returned to pre-accident levels.

Top attractions in Aizu

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Ouchijuku •

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Tsuruga Castle •

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Bukeyashiki •

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Higashiyama Onsen

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Fukushima Museum

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Suehiro Sake Brewery

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Oyakuen Garden

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Noguchi Memorial Hall

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Enzoji Temple

Getting there and around.

Questions? Ask in our forum .

Links and Resources

Aizu wakamatsu city, hotels around aizu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

  • Things to Do
  • Tourist Spots & Attractions

22 Things to Do in the Aizu-Wakamatsu Area

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

  • tsunagu Japan

Don't know where else to go that isn't just a big city? Want to make unique memories outside of the usual tourist areas? Try Aizu-Wakamatsu, a historical area that's beautiful and full of surprises!

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy through them, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The Aizu-Wakamatsu area is situated in a valley, leading to beautiful landscapes but heavy snowfall in the winter. It was a very important base for the shogunate, and was the setting for one of the largest battles between the shogunate and the imperial Meiji government during the Boshin War. The famous story of the Byakkotai, the 19 teenaged samurai who killed themselves when they thought Aizu had fallen to the imperial forces, occurred on Mt. Iimori, one of the mountains that surrounds the area.

Because of the high amounts of snow, the water in the area is very clean due to the high amounts of runoff, which leads to beautiful hot springs and delicious sake and great food. Between the breathtaking scenery, the dramatic history, and the great food, you should add a trip to Aizu-Wakamatsu to your itinerary.

1. See the Munakata climbing kiln

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Photo by Hikaru Kamo .

A climbing kiln is a kiln that takes the slope of the mountain its built on so the heat rides through the chambers like stairs. The Munakata climbing kiln is a designated cultural property and was originally built in the middle of the Edo period, making it the oldest climbing kiln in the whole Tohoku region. Originally it had 7 chambers, but due to the damage of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011, only 3 have been restored. In honor of the restoration, they made and donated about 80 tea bowls for the Todaiji Temple in Nara. You can see the kiln (unfortunately, they cannot accommodate tours when the kiln is being used) and also peruse the pieces available for sale created by Toshihiro Munakata, the current master.

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3115 Hongo-Kamiko, Aizu-Misatomachi, Onuma-gun, Fukushima-ken

Homepage:  http://www.munakatagama.net/index.html

Click here for Aizu's special tour option that comes with bilingual guides.

Enjoy the traditional culture and hot springs of Aizu region

Discover the real rural japan and its traditions in oku aizu.

Click here if you would like to know more about the attractions of the Tohoku region including Aizu

Discover the natural wonders and traditional lifestyle of Tohoku region

2. make your own pottery.

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After seeing the pottery at the climbing kiln, you can make and/or decorate your own at Ki no Oto Koubou. You can make your own pottery, with help from staff, using a process called teniberi where the clay sits on a rotating wheel that you control with one hand. You can make items out of 500g of clay for 1000 yen or 1 kg for 2000 yen. If you don't want to challenge making your own items, you can decorate your own for 800 yen. It takes about two months before it's ready to be delivered to your home; shipping within Japan costs 1000 yen and international costs 2000-3000 depending on weight.

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Photo by Hikaru Kamo.

3272-1 Setomachi, Aizu-Misato, Onuma-gun, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese only):  http://www.kinooto.com/

3. Eat traditional Aizu food at Takino

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Takino is a famous Japanese restaurant that has been in business since the Kamakura era (1185-1333). You can have traditional Tohoku fare, such as nishin no sanshozuke (herring pickled in malt vinegar with pepper plants) and wappameshi. Wappameshi is a meal with rice and various toppings prepared in a container called wappa, which is a container made of thin sheets of wood used by Aizu woodcutters to take their lunch with them to the mountains. They also have soba that is eaten with a leek and bonito flakes, as shown in the photo below.

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5-31 Sakaemachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken

Homepage:  http://www.takino.jp/frame.html

4. Have a sake tasting at Aizu Homare Sake Brewery

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Aizu Homare is one of the best breweries in Tohoku, and has repeatedly won awards at the International Wine Challenge. Here you can take a tour and learn about the sake process before enjoying over 10 varieties of the sake and liqueurs on offer. Their large Japanese garden is also an attraction. There is no entrance fee, and they also offer tours in English.

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2706 Tokiwa-cho, Muramatsu, Matsuyama-machi, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese only):  http://www.aizuhomare.jp/

5. Make your own painted candles

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Candles came into use in Japan 500 years ago, and the people of Aizu began painting them 80 years after. In snowy prefectures like Fukushima, these painted candles were used on altars in place of flowers during the winter. Hoshiban has been creating painted candles using wax made from Japanese wax tree seeds since 1772. While most other painted candle makers today make candles using a combination of machinery and craftsmanship, Hoshiban is the only maker in the area that does the entire process by hand. You can paint your own candles as well! It's 1620 yen per person and they take groups of up to 75 people. Reservations are required two days in advance. 

3-33 Nanokamachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese only):  http://hoshiban.com/

6. Visit Tsuruga Castle

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

The Aizu area was one of great importance in the control of eastern Japan during the shogunate area and this castle, originally built in 1591, was an outpost that many generals were sent to for a few years during their careers. The castle and the Tokugawa shogunate had very close ties, and as a result they fought against the Meiji government in the Boshin War. The Meiji government attacked the castle using guns for a month before the castle fell. It was rebuilt in 1965, so this year is its 50th anniversary. Entrance fees are 410 yen for adults and 150 yen for children. You can reserve a tour guide in English or Chinese two weeks in advance and choose from three different tour courses. If you're lucky, you might be able to take a photo with a samurai!

1-1 Otemachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima-ken 

Homepage:  http://www.tsurugajo.com/language/eng/index.html

7. Visit a samurai's home at the Aizu Bukeyashiki

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A bukeyashiki is a samurai residence, and this one served as the quarters for the region's highest ranked samurai, his family, employees, and servants. It was originally burned down during the Boshin War but it was then rebuilt to replicate its appearance as it was in the Edo period. There are dozens of rooms and some of them have mannequins showing scenes from everyday life in the period or dramatic historical events. Entrance fee is 850 yen. 

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Innai-1 Higashiyamamachi Oaza Ishiyama, Aizu-Wakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken

TripAdvisor:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g780850-d1423889-i87465433-Aizu_Old_Samurai_Residences-Aizuwakamatsu_Fukushima_Prefecture_Tohoku.html

8. Stay at Harataki

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Higashiyama Onsen is a hot spring resort just east of downtown Aizu. While there are many ryokan and hotels in the area, Harataki is particularly great due to its facilities. There is a large public bath on the premises as well as 6 private open-air baths that you can rent for 50 minutes. They also offer entertainment options such as Go and mahjong boards, ping-pong, karaoke, a lounge, and yukata rental. They also have spa facilities. 

Shimohara-235, Higashiyama-machi Oaza Yumoto, Aizu-Wakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese only):  http://www.yumeguri.co.jp/

9. Eat at Kawadoko

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Kawadoko is an open-air restaurant run by Harataki that sits next to a river fed by a waterfall. In the evening the restaurant is lit up, giving it a perfectly cozy atmosphere. There is also a foot bath that you can enjoy while waiting for your meal. Many people go in their yukata after enjoying the baths at Harataki. Kawadoko offers fresh, delicious traditional meals. Lunch is available from April 28th to November 3rd, while dinner is available from April 28th to September 30th.

Homepage (Japanese-only):  http://www.yumeguri.co.jp/kawadoko/

10. Visit the Sazae-do

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Halfway up Mt. Iimori, where the Byakkotai sleep, is a hexagonal temple called Entsu Sansodo but is more popularly known as the Sazae-do. "Sazae" is Japanese for turbo, a kind of shellfish, and the temple has earned that name due to its twisted exterior. The inside is also a twisted slope, making it a building with a double helix structure. It once held 33 statues of the Buddhist Kannon goddess of mercy, but the Meiji government removed all the statues from the premises after they passed a law abolishing Buddhism. The interior is covered in stickers that are actually graffiti from previous visitors. Entrance fee is 400 yen for adults, 300 yen for high school and college students, and 200 yen for children. It's said that Hayao Miyazaki took inspiration from the Sazae-do for the castle in Howl's Moving Castle.

Takizawa-166 Ikkimachi, Oaza Yahata, Aizu-Wakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken 

Homepage (Japanese-only):  http://www.geocities.jp/aizu_sazaedo/

11. Make your own phone strap out of wild grape tree bark at the Traditional Crafts Center

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Because of the high amounts of snowfall that fall in Fukushima, farmers make items out of wild grape tree bark during the winter to support themselves. Because wild grape tree bark is very strong and only becomes stronger the more it's used, it's a prized material for purses and other kinds of bags. Wild grape tree bark can only be harvested two weeks out of the year in June. Because of the labor-intensive process and the rarity of the bark, items made out of this material can be very expensive, but it also comes with the guarantee that a craftsman will repair it if it does get damaged in any way. You can make your own phone strap out of this material for 700 yen. The Center also offers other craft trials, such as making coasters out of Japanese sedge. 

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12. Eat at Donguri

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After you spend a full morning learning about all the traditional crafts created in the local area, head to Donguri for a hearty meal. The vegetables are all fresh and local, with many of them being from the restaurant's own garden. Its specialty is soba, so definitely give that a try. Teresa Teng once ate there in 1977 when she visited the area, so there are many photographs of her posted by the entrance. 

Suwanoue-410, Nairi, Mishima-machi, Onuma-gun, Fukushima-ken

Information (Japanese-only):  http://www.aizu-concierge.com/oku/map/spot/10779/

13. See items made from paulownia wood

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Paulownia wood is a material used to make traditional chests of drawers called tansu. It's a very meticulous process that requires skilled techniques by craftsmen. At Ozegaido Mishima-juku rest area, you can see not only tansu chests, but also beds, chairs, and experimental items made from paulownia wood. There is also a surfboard on display. A surfboard made from paulownia wood is said to be the Rolls Royce of surfboards due to its lightness and high quality.

Tenyabara-610 Kawai, Mishima-machi, Onuma-gun, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese-only):  http://www.thr.mlit.go.jp/road/koutsu/Michi-no-Eki/fukusima/fu13.html

14. Wait for the train to pass over the Tadami River

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The view of the Tadami Line train passing over the lavender Daiichi Tadamigawa Kyourou bridge will make you understand the feelings of trainspotters. The bridge is painted the color of paulownia flowers, and the picturesque sight of the small train chugging along the rails will make you feel like you're watching a scene right out of a Ghibli movie. Walk from the Ozegaido Mishima-juku rest area to the mountains right nearby and hike about 10 minutes to reach the view point.

Information page (Japanese-only):  http://dc-fukushima.jp/kanko/disp.html?id=2230

15. Weave your very own coaster

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Photo from Hikaru Kamo .

At the Showamachi Karamushiori no Sato, you can learn about the traditional art of weaving using fibers made from the ramie plant and view pieces at the museum. There is a program here where they accept four applicants from around the country to work here as apprentices who learn how to weave from scratch. You can learn from one of these apprentices (women are called Orihime, men are called Hikoboshi from the Tanabata story) how to make your very own coaster using a loom for 1080 yen. Reservations are not required but are accepted.

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Uenohara-1 Sagura, Showamachi, Onuma-gun, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese-only):  http://www.vill.showa.fukushima.jp/sato.stm

16. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the Kaneyama Fureai Hiroba

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The Kaneyama Fureai Hiroba is a viewpoint on the side of the road where you can gaze out at the beautiful sight of the village of Oshi sitting on the very edge of the calm Tadami River. This is the same river that you saw from the mountain viewpoint, and if you're lucky, you might be able to catch another glimpse of the Tadami Line train running along the coast of the river heading towards Oshi. This viewpoint sits along the side of national highway 262 but if you take the train to Aizukawaguchi, you can walk to it.

Information (Japanese-only):  http://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/uploaded/attachment/32651.pdf

17. Stay at Taki no Yu

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Nishiyama Onsen is another hot spring resort in Aizu, and the recommended ryokan to stay at is Taki no Yu. At Taki no Yu, there are two medium-sized baths as well as an open-air bath. You can go just for the day and enjoy the baths and a meal, or stay the night in a room with the view of river. They also offer skincare products made using the water of Nishiyama Onsen, which is known for its mineral properties that are good for your skin.

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Nagasaka-829 Sunakohara, Yanaizu-machi, Kawanuma-gun, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese-only): http://www.takinoyu.info/

18. Enjoy Aizu wine

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While you're at Taki no Yu, you can also enjoy Kita-Aizu wine with your meal. This wine is brewed at the Ootake Vineyard in Kita-Aizu and they've been brewing wine since the year 1900. There are red, white, and rose varieties. When people think of Japanese liquors, very rarely does wine come up; try it while you have the chance. 

19. Have a sake tasting at Suehiro Brewery

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Suehiro Brewery is one of the largest and most famous breweries in the Tohoku region. It is a family-owned brewery started in 1850 and is on its eighth generation. They offer tours every 30 minutes from 9AM to 4:30PM, and you can take a tour without a reservation unless it's a group of more than 10 people. There is also a cafe that offers original sake-infused recipes that are designed by the owner's wife. Occasionally they host events like small concerts as well. If you buy more than 5000 yen worth, then shipping is free.

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12-38 Nisshinmachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken

Homepage (Japanese-only):  http://www.sake-suehiro.jp/top.html

20. Stay at Tokyu Hotel Grand Deco

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The Hotel Grand Deco is popular especially in the winter for its ski facilities, but it's beautiful throughout the whole year thanks to its verdant facilities situated in the mountains. The fall foliage is a treat for the eyes, the spring blooms are beautiful, and in the summer you can walk to the waterfalls to cool down. On top of skiing, you can rent items for sports such as golf clubs or tennis rackets. Many people also get married here, even in the winter, so you might be able to catch the sight of a wedding party in the snow!

Arasunasawayama Hibara, Kitashiobara, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken

Homepage: http://www.grandeco.com/english/

21. Go canoeing and camping in Matsubara

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Matsubara is a camping area by Mt. Bandai that's open all year. In the warmer months, you can canoe, swim, fish, kayak, make a raft, and ride a mountain bike around the rough terrain. In the winter months, you can go ice fishing on the lake! Many of the plans come with a steak barbecue dinner included. If overnight camping's not your thing, you can simply go for the day for a fun few hours.

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Kengamine-1093 Hibara, Kitashiobara, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken

http://www13.plala.or.jp/hibarako/index.html

22. Check out the Goshiki-numa

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

The Goshiki-numa are a cluster of five volcanic lakes at the foot of Mt. Bandai that each have a unique color due to the mineral deposits in the water. The colors can change depending on time of year and the weather. There is a walking trail of about 4km that allows people to see every lake and it's rather popular when the weather is nice. You can also row in the lakes, something that is particularly popular with couples. There is a fish in the lake that has a heart-shaped mark on its side; it's said that if you see this fish, your love will last forever. Try to look for it!

Kengamine, Hibaraaza, Oaza , Yama-gun, Kitashiobara-mura, Fukushima-ken

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/fukushima/urabandai.html

Many of these activities require a car, and it may be difficult to do some of these things if you don't speak Japanese. If you're interested, there are plans and tours that include both transportation and a bilingual guide that will take you around the Aizu area for a fun 3-night 2-day tour!

The Power of Water tour highlights the bounty that clean water brings by focusing on sake breweries and onsen, as well as traditional crafts. For more details, click the below link

The Power of Water tour

This tour gives you transportation and a guide for the first day but gives you your second day to walk around freely and create your own memories. For more details, click the below link.

Enjoy the history and traditions of beautiful region with delicious food and liquor and relaxing baths while you're in Japan!

Tohoku Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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Aizuwakamatsu, a city located near Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima Prefecture, is an underrated city in Japan that no one talks about. Aizuwakamatsu has a rich samurai culture and history that is sure to peak the interest of any visitor. Aizuwakamatsu offers plenty of attractions to include the stunning Tsuruga Castle, beautiful Oyakuen Garden, and unique Sazaedo Temple. A day in Aizuwakamatsu offers enough time to see these magnificent sites, grab lunch, and discover more of the surrounding area. 

Day in Aizuwakamatsu

**This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the links or banners throughout the page, whether it be TripAdvisor, Booking.com. Agoda.com, or any other affiliate, I might receive commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, you can visit my affiliate link page here. Thanks for the support!

Table of Contents

Where is Aizuwakamatsu?

Aizuwakamatsu is in the Japanese Prefecture of Fukushima.  Not far from Lake Inawashiro, Aizuwakamatsu is one of the biggest cities in the area with a population of 120,000. 

Aizuwakamatsu is a little over an hours drive from the city of Fukushima and about 2.5 hours from Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. 

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

How We Spent a Day in Aizuwakamatsu

Day in Aizuwakamatsu

We took a road trip in Japan from the city of Niigata to Sendai and the route went just north of Aizuwakamatsu. We first stopped in the town of Kitakata to try the famous style of Ramen from the region before making our way to Aizuwakamatsu. In case you are wondering what is Aizuwakamatsu known for? Or Things to do in Aizuwakamatsu? I have you covered, with just enough attractions starred on my map, we decided to spend a day in Aizuwakamatsu to explore some of the more famous sites. We first visited Sazae Temple before making our way to Oyakuen Garden and finishing the day at Tsuruga Castle.

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Explored One of Japan's Most Unique Temples: Sazaedo Temple

Day in Aizuwakamatsu

Sazaedo Temple is a unique hexagonal shaped temple that was built in 1796. According to an information sign at the temple, the structure is 16.5 meters tall and is three stories. 

Visitors can enter the shrine for a fee of ¥400. The helix shaped stairwell make it so that you will not cross paths with other visitors going up or down. 

There are 33 Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) statues that line the stairwell. 

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Admission and Hours

Admission Adults – ¥400 High School Students – ¥300 Junior High & Elementary School Students – ¥200

Hours April – December – 8:15 – 16:00 January – March – 9:00 – 16:00

Took a Relaxing Walk Around Oyakuen Garden

Day in Aizuwakamatsu

Oyakuen Botanical Gardens in Aizuwakamatsu is a picturesque Japanese garden in the heart of the city and a short distance from Tsuruga Castle. 

Oyakuen Botanical Gardens was first built in 1670 as a garden and tea house for the Lord of the Aizu Domain. Oyakuen Garden is known as the “Medicinal Garden” because the lord of the Aizu Domain grew herbs here that were used for medicinal purposes. Herbs are still grown here today.

Besides walking through the herb garden, visitors can take the path around the garden, visit the traditional tea house, and finish off in the cute souvenir shop. 

Admission ¥330

Hours 8:30 – 17:00

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Walked Around Tsuruga Castle

Day in Aizuwakamatsu

We finished our day in Aizuwakamatsu at Tsuruga Castle. 1.6 Km or a four minute drive from Oyakuen, we parked at one of the main parking areas just west of Tsuruga Castle. Upon entering the castle grounds, I couldn’t help but notice how large the grounds actually were to include the moats and walls.

Tsuruga Castle was originally constructed in 1384. In 1591 new additions were added on to the castle. In 1639, the tower was built close to what the replica looks like today. Unfortunately, like so many other beautiful castles in Japan, Tsuruga Castle was dismantled during the Meiji Restoration in 1874. The main keep was rebuilt in 1965 on the original site. 

Today, visitors can freely walk the castle grounds and enter the castle museum to learn more about the history of Tsuruga Castle. 

*Grounds are free but there is an admission fee to enter the tower keep. Admission for Castle Entrance Adults – ¥400 Children – ¥150

Kitakata Ramen for Lunch or Dinner

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Technically not in Aizuwakamatsu, but a 30 minute drive north is the town of Kitakata. If you love Japanese Ramen, then Kitakata is worth driving out of your way. Kitakata is known for its ramen.

Kitakata Ramen is one of the three most famous styles of ramen in Japan after Sapporo and Hakata Ramen in  Fukuoka .

What makes Kitakata Ramen unique is their noodles. The noodles are called Hirauchi Jukusei Takasuimen which is a flatter noodle. The broth s soy-sauce, then you have your other traditional ramen ingredients like chashu, bamboo shoots, and negi (green onion). 

With over 100 ramen shops in Kitakata, how do you choose which ramen shop to go to? I researched online, all the big name ones were closed to include Bannai Shokudo, even though Google said they were open. Instead we found a very local Ramen restaurant just up the street called, けいこのぎょうざや, according to Google (37.6518482,139.8739174). There was a sweet lady who cooked and served the massive portions of ramen. I got a set meal for under ¥1000. 

Day in Aizuwakamatsu

For a town of its size, Aizuwakamatsu has many things to do and is known for many of its attractions. I would say a half day to a full day in Aizuwakamatsu is plenty of time to see the main sites which include Sazaedo Temple, Oyakuen Garden, and Tsuruga Castle. Aizuwakamatsu is an overlooked destination especially given its rich history, beautiful location, and many attractions. 

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

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For booking recommendations on the best deals and locations, check out Agoda or Booking.com

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Find fun activities and things to do through Tripadvisor . If you are looking for tours and day trips,  Viator and   Get Your Guide have a lot of great options. 

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For the JR Pass, tickets can be purchased on the JR Pass site. 

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Top Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu - Aizuwakamatsu Must-See Attractions

Things to do in aizuwakamatsu, explore popular experiences, tours in and around aizuwakamatsu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Half-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Full-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

NASU SATOYAMA Farm Ride

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Shared 2 Hours Lake Hibara Canoe Experience in Yama-gun Fukushima

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

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aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Kitakata Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

1 Day Trip Nasushiobara Journey Through Spirituality and Nature

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Tsuchiyu Onsen Menuma - SUP/Kayak Experience

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

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Top attractions in aizuwakamatsu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

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aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

What travellers are saying

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  • Tsuruga jo Castle
  • Aizu Old Samurai Residences
  • Aizu Railway
  • Oyakuen Garden
  • Ishibezakura
  • Higashiyama Dam

THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu

Things to do in aizuwakamatsu, explore popular experiences, tours in and around aizuwakamatsu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Half-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Full-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

NASU SATOYAMA Farm Ride

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Shared 2 Hours Lake Hibara Canoe Experience in Yama-gun Fukushima

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Kitakata Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Kitakata Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

1 Day Trip Nasushiobara Journey Through Spirituality and Nature

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Tsuchiyu Onsen Menuma - SUP/Kayak Experience

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

2Days 1Night Nasushiobara A Journey Through Spirituality & Nature

Top attractions in aizuwakamatsu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Other Top Attractions around Aizuwakamatsu

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

What travellers are saying

Zimminaroundtheworld

  • Tsuruga jo Castle
  • Aizu Old Samurai Residences
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  • Oyakuen Garden
  • Ishibezakura
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Aizu Wakamatsu Japan – All Our Travel Tips To Visit The Samurai City

Sugoii Japan

Aizu Wakamatsu is a former castle town located in the Fukushima Prefecture with a long and eventful history. Nowadays, it brings in tourists in droves due to its wonderful variety of local landmarks and attractions that highlight its history (which is entangled with samurais!) as well as reputation for producing award-winning sake.  

During the Boshin War in the mid-1800s, Aizu-Wakamatsu actually became the very last stronghold for the last samurais battling the Meiji government reign. You will get to witness many aspects of samurai lifestyle in this region, something that we think will appeal to many people of the masses.

The region itself is surrounded by many mountains, and thus hiking and skiing are popular activities during the appropriate months because not only do you get to do what you love, but to do so whilst being surrounded by the epic scenery around here will make all your friends and family absolutely envious.

How To Get To Aizu Wakamatsu

Tohoku Shinkansen

From Tokyp, take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen to Koriyama Station, and then transfer to the JR Banetsu-sai Line for Aizu Wakamatsu. It will take approximately three hours and cost 9,000 yen. If you have a JR Pass , this entire trip will be covered. For itineraries and timetables, check out Hyperdia website .

If you’re looking to save some money, there are buses that operate between Tokyo and Aizu Wakamatsu Station. The trip will take 4.5 hours and cost roughly 4,800 yen one-way. You can book it at kosokubus .

Where To Stay in Aizu Wakamatsu

Guesthouse in aizu wakamatsu – kakurega guest house.

Guesthouse in Aizu Wakamatsu - Kakurega Guest House 1

This quaint and humble guest house is exactly what you’re after if you’re looking for a no-frills accommodation that provides all the basics for a comfortable stay at an extremely affordable price. It features some spacious guest and dorm rooms, a cosy common area for lounging around with a bar, and free Wi-Fi throughout.

There is also a family room if you’re looking to book for a few people and want some privacy. The location is great, and will allow you to visit all the major attractions quite easily.

Guesthouse in Aizu Wakamatsu - Kakurega Guest House 1

Guest Tips : If you’re interested in getting to know more about the local sake, the host is your guy – simply ask the questions! To get to the place, know that it’s actually at the end of an alley that’s just off the main road opposite a 7-11 convenience store.

Book It Now : Kakurega Guest House

Ryokan in Aizu Wakamatsu – Tagoto

Ryokan in Aizu Wakamatsu - Tagoto

If there were ever a ryokan that suited the atmospheric nostalgia of this ancient city perfectly, it would be Tagoto Ryokan. It’s one of the best sellers in Aizu Wakamatsu, and for good reason. It is very traditional in the sense of tatami mat floors, traditional futon bedding, delicious kaiseki meals served with fresh local ingredients, and with a wonderful onsen onsite. However, for those after a bit of familiarity, western bedding choices are also provided.

Ryokan in Aizu Wakamatsu - Tagoto

Guest Tips : There are plenty of restaurants around the accommodation so you don’t have to worry if you miss dinner, however, breakfast is served in the most traditional style and is delicious so that is highly recommended.

Book It Now : Tagoto

Ryokan in Aizu Wakamatsu – Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki

Ryokan in Aizu Wakamatsu - Kutsurogijyuku Chikoyaki 1

This wonderful traditional ryokan boasts superb mountain views from its onsen – which is reason enough to book it! Kutsurogijyuju Chiyotaki is only a 15-minute bus ride from the station, but it actually feels like it’s miles away.

The large guest rooms boast serene views, the onsite restaurant offers lip-smacking food, and the private onsen baths are just glorious. Make sure you make a reservation! If you’re staying in, there is a sake bar that will open up at night, and dinner is a wonderful premium-grade buffet full of delicious local ingredients.

Ryokan in Aizu Wakamatsu - Kutsurogijyuku Chikoyaki 1

Guest Tips : Both onsen provide great views, but the one on the 10th floor is probably better. If you’re worried about space, the guest rooms are huge so you’re covered.

Book It Now : Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki

The Best Restaurants in Aizu Wakamatsu

Fukunishi honten.

Fukunishi Honten

This restaurant offers delicious seasonal dishes that are charcoal-grilled to perfection. If you’re a fan of that delicious smoky aroma wafting through your nose, then this is the place to visit. The charcoal-grilling process here is quite unique: the ingredients are popped on a right and grilled right in front of you! Not many additional flavour and spices are used, so what you’re eating will be honest and authentic. A popular dish is the Fukudori chicken and fresh fish.

  • Address : 4-16 Nakamachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0878, Japan
  • Access : From Aizu Wakamatsu Station, it is a 20-minute walk.
  • Hours : 5:00pm – 11:00pm ( closed Mondays )

Takino Restaurant

Takino is a restaurant in Aizu Wakamatsu that sells the age-old Wappaeshi, a wooden lunch box that long ago was created specifically for people working in the mountains. This wooden box normally holds a serving of steamed rice alongside a variety of other toppings made with fresh seasonal ingredients.

  • Address   5-31 Sakaemachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0871, Japan
  • Access : You can catch a taxi from Aizu Wakamatsu Station for 15-minutes, otherwise you can catch a bus to Haikara-San “Shiyakushomae” bus stop and walk a few minutes.
  • Hours : 11:00am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Price : from 1,470 yen

The 8 Best Things To Do in Aizu Wakamatsu

Here is our selection of the places we recommend you to visit in Aizu Wakamatsu:

  • Hanitsu Shrine Honden
  • Aizu Hanko Nisshin-kan
  • Oyakuen Garden
  • Aizu Bukeyashiki
  • Aizu Wakamatsu Castle (Tsuruga Castle)
  • Iimoriyama Hill

1. Hanitsu Shrine Honden

Hanitsu Shrine Honden Aizu Wakamatsu 1

The mystic ancient Hanitsu Shrine Honden was built many years ago to honour Hoshina Masayuki, the first lord of the Aizu Clan. This is historically significant because it was he who upheld utmost devotion to the Tokugawa Shogunate and led his people to do the same, even during the period of civil war.

As Aizu Wakamatsu was the last stronghold during the war, Hoshina’s loyalty spread across the land and earned him respect from those who held the same beliefs.

Hanitsu Shrine Honden Aizu Wakamatsu 1

When you visit this shrine, you will get to witness the Kame-shi, which is considered one of the largest stone monuments across all of Japan, a distinct white torii gate, graveyard for the Matsudaira Clan which has now been designated as a National Historic Site, and, during the autumn koyo season, you will get to experience some of the most beautiful foliage scenery in your life. The shrine also hosts a wonderful autumn foliage festival as well.

  • Address : Japan, 〒969-3102 Fukushima, Yama District, Inawashiro, Mineyama
  • Access : From Haikara-san/Akabe “Innai” bus stop, it is a 5-minute walk.
  • Time : 8:00am – 5:00pm

2. Aizu Hanko Nisshin-kan

Aizu Hanko Nisshin-kan 1

The Aizu Hanko Nisshin-kan is a Samurai school that was considered the best educational institution in all of Japan back in the early 19th century. During this period, Japan was experiencing high levels of famine, and so the Aizu clan established this school to save the future of the clan. Unfortunately, the original structure was burnt down during the great Boshin War, but it was reconstructed during the late 1980s to replicate its original form.

Aizu Hanko Nisshin-kan 1

Nowadays, when you stroll through the grounds, you’ll be able to witness some fantastic architectural masterpieces of the Edo period as well as dioramas which display the vigilant lifestyles of the students back then.

This includes learning about how students began calligraphy classes at the age of 13 (because of the different dialects of various parts of Japan, sometimes even conversation was difficult), etiquette classes to uphold the samurai prestige, swimming across the Suiren Buibalke pool in full armour as training, archery training – and that’s not even half of it.

Aizu Hanko Nisshin-kan 1

This is a great place to learn about the history of samurais if you’re interested, and let’s face it, all of us harbour a little fantasy of imagining ourselves being strong warriors, fighting for what’s good and right!

  • Address : Japan, 〒969-3441 Fukushima, Aizuwakamatsu, Kawahigashimachi Minamikoya, Takatsuka
  • Access : From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, it is a 15-minute taxi ride.
  • Hours : 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Price : Adult: 620yen, Child: 450 yen

3. Oyakuen Garden

Oyakuen Garden

In the very traditional region of Aizu Wakakamatsu, you will be pleased to know that there exists a gorgeous Japanese landscape Garden, perfect for quiet strolls and those who appreciate simple Japanese natural scenery. It was nicknamed “Medicinal Herb Garden” during the 18th century, and now, aside from its pond and the surrounding garden, it also boasts an herb garden that showcases hundreds of various types of medicinal plants.

Oyakuen Garden

Whilst here, make sure you pay a visit to the Ochayagoten, a tea house which faces the picturesque pond where you can relax, sip on some matcha tea and enjoy some wagashi. The Rakutei is another structure that is worth a visit; it sits right on the pond and can be accessed via a bridge. This is a great photo opportunity!

  • Address : Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0804, Japan
  • Access : From Aizu-Wakamatsu, you can hop on the Aizu Loop bus which will stop at Oyakuen (will take 30-minutes).
  • Hours : 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Price : 320 yen

4. Aizu Bukeyashiki

Aizu Bukeyashiki

Aizu Bukeyashiki is a huge reconstructed samurai mansion that belonged to a former high-ranking samurai, Tanomo Saigo. Because of his prestige, his residence was built to reflect that, and thus you will find it to house a whopping 38-rooms! They include bedrooms, guest rooms, and other important rooms. The grounds of this property also host a tea house, a rice mill, and even an archery range!

Aizu Bukeyashiki

To five you a better idea of how samurais lived, there are waxed figures placed in certain rooms to demonstrate their actions and lifestyles, which is unusual but also a welcoming change to viewing empty rooms, don’t you think?

You can participate in painting or even a quiz about the history and culture of Aizu. After you tour the grounds, you can head to the onsite shop which sells traditional Aizu crafts to bring home as souvenirs, and get a light meal at the restaurant which offers some bangin’ local cuisine.

  • Address : Innai-1 Higashiyamamachi Oaza Ishiyama, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0813, Japan
  • Access : From Haikara-san/Aizu-Bukeyashiki mae bus stop, it is a 1-minute walk.
  • Hours : Apr – Nov: 8:30am – 5:00pm, Dec-Mar: 9:00am-4:30pm
  • Price : Adult: 850 yen, Child: 450 yen

5. Aizu Wakamatsu Castle (Tsuruga Castle)

Aizu Wakamatsu Castle (Tsuruga Castle)

Tsuruga Castle was actually built hundreds of years ago back in the late 1300s, however, throughout its years it was passed through many hands of leaders, eventually becoming the very last stronghold for the Aizu Clan during the Boshin War.

The castle was damaged but not completely destroyed, but in true Japanese style, it was rebuilt to its former glory in the mid-1900s and now serves as a great attraction in the city of Aizu to display the history of the castle and detail the samurai lifestyle. The current castle is actually one of the most beautiful white castles across Japan – you don’t want to miss it!

One of the best things about this castle is that visitors can actually climb to the top floor of the keep and get some amazing views overlooking the city. Surrounding the castle is actually the Tsuruga Castle Park, which features cherry blossom trees and vast expanses of green lawns as well as moats and gorgeous stone walls.

  • Address : 1-1 Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0873, Japan
  • Access : From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, hop on the Aizu Loop Bus and alight at “Tsurugajo Kitaguchi” which is 20-minutes away.
  • Price : 410 yen

6. Iimoriyama Hill

Iimoriyama Hill

Iimoriyama Hill is a historically significant site for the Aizu Clan. During the end of the Boshin War, a small group of about 20 young Aizu samurai soldiers became separated from their division and escaped, eventually ending up at this very hill.

Looking over its edge, they thought what they saw was their stronghold castle, Tsuruga Castle, burning up in flames. In horror, they realised that there would be nowhere to return to, and true to samurai honour, instead of giving in the possibility of being captured by the enemy, they all committed ‘seppuku’, the ultimate act of suicide.

Iimoriyama Hill

Unfortunately, what they witnessed was not their castle engulfed in flames, but the smoke coming from surrounding houses. One of the soldiers named Iinuma Sadakichi was fortunately saved, and thus the tales of the courageous boys have been passed on. Their tombs now lay on the hills of Iimoriyama and have become quite a popular attraction.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

  • Address : Yamatoyamaotsu Itsukimachi Oaza Yahata, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0003, Japan
  • Access : From Aizu Wakamatsu Station, tahe the Aizu loop bus and alight at Iimoriyama-shita bus stop.

7. Sazaedo Temple

Sazaedo Temple

Close by to the Iimoriyama Hill is the unique Sazaedo Pagoda, most famous for its double helix staircase in which all those going up will never cross paths with all those going down. Completed in the late 1700s, visitors to this pagoda will get to witness a very unique historical monument indeed. It is said that those who reach the top of storey have actually completed the ‘Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimmage’ to 33 Buddhist Temples. The inside has some interesting details to capture, and the view at the top overlooks Aizu Wakamatsu. It’s also said that those who visit this pagoda will run into good luck afterwards, so what are you waiting for!

Sazaedo Temple

  • Address : Takizawa-155 Itsukimachi Oaza Yahata, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0003, Japan

8. Ouchi-juku

Ouchi-juku 1

This former post town (a town located right next to the main roads with used to service travellers back in the old days) along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route is a popular tourist attraction as it reflects the lifestyle during the Edo Period.

The restored village is known for its thick thatched roof houses, of which most have been converted to craft shops, restaurants, and minshuku (small, family-run Japanese-style B&Bs).

Ouchi-juku 1

Walking through the unpaved wide-open streets here, you’ll feel the nostalgia in the air. You can visit Ouchi-juku’s Honjin (former inn that houses high-ranking officials) and witness examples of what the higher-class house interiors looked like, and see displays of many artefacts. At the end of the main strip, there is a temple that offers a great view overlooking the street.

Here’s how it looks the village looks like when it’s covered by snow.

Ouchi Juku Winter Snow Aizu Wakamatsu

Ouchi-juku is a great half or full day trip that will transport you back in time and provide history buffs with some fun and interesting insight into a slice of Japan’s history that’s not quite in mainstream media yet, and that’s the best part.

And if you want to visit another ancient post town, check out the amazing Narai Juku  in Nagano prefecture !

  • Address : Yamamoto-8 Ouchi, Shimogo, Minamiaizu District, Fukushima 969-5207, Japan
  • Access : From Aizu Wakamatsu, take the train to Yunokami Onsen. It will take 35-minutes and cost 1,030 yen.

Aizu Wakamatsu may be a popular destination with locals now, however, sooner or later we think of the tragic and beautiful history of the place will spread far and wide. Looking beyond that, this region is full of culture, and due to its location, makes it an obvious next destination if you’re visiting something like Nikko or Niigata.

Samurai enthusiasts, there is way that you would miss visiting a place like this, and for all other travellers, well, let’s just say that if you come home equipped with extensive knowledge of the history of samurais and a rather exclusive slice of Japan’s history, you’ll be very popular indeed!

If you are interested in Japanese history, you should also read this blog post: 10 Popular Historical Japanese Persons .

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Aizu Wakamatsu

The Best 9 Things to Do in Aizu Wakamatsu

If I start by saying that the only reason we planned to come to Aizu Wakamatsu was to ride a train, it sounds (and is) very unfair.  But that’s the heart of it.  We came here to ride one of Japan’s scenic trains and found a glorious small friendly city perfect for a couple of days of exploration.  Aizu Wakamatsu is at the heart of samurai country, is famous for a certain type of water, sashimi (again of a certain type), and has both a fabulous castle and a glorious garden to visit.  Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Aizu Wakamatsu.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED AND AFFILIATE LINKS MORE INFORMATION IN  OUR DISCLAIMER

We got here in a somewhat convoluted manner, we had after all traveled down from the far north of Japan, Wakkanai, via Sapporo and Hakodate to get here.  That’s not a normal route, it’s just the way of things when you have a JR Pass and you’re making the most of it.  And we definitely were.  Most people come to Aizu for one of two reasons.  The first is the samurai history here (and it is fabulous) and the second is the Tadami Line train and yes that is glorious too.  And I’ll explain about both of them.

TOP THING TO DO

Aizu Tsugara Castle

Visit the Castle in Aizuwakamatsu

This glorious castle is unique, in its tile color, and as the stronghold of the samurai. Come visit and learn about the history of Samurai City.

The 9 Best Things to Do in Aizu Wakamatsu

Aizu Wakamatsu is the primary city in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture, we spent several days here exploring, sometimes on foot, and other times using the tourist office buses that will take you on set routes around the city.  We explored the castle, because, you know we just LOVE Japanese castles , we found out a whole lot more about Japanese samurai history, ate some of the food specialties of the region, and then took the train as part of our route back to Tokyo. 

1. Take the Tadami Line Train

This was our number one reason for visiting Aizu Wakamatsu.   It’s one of the top scenic train journeys in Japan.  It was closed for 11 years as repairs to the line were made following rainstorm damage but reopened in October 2022.  The Tadami Train Line goes from Aizu Wakamatsu to Koide – from Fukushima Prefecture to Niigata Prefecture on single, narrow gauge track and it’s a truly glorious 135 kilometer (84 miles) route that takes about 4.5 hours as it curves around the mountainous route through 36 different station stops.  My guide to the Tadami Train Line is here.

There are glorious views on this route, whatever time of year you take the train (and it’s covered on the Japan Rail Pass, or you can buy tickets specifically for it).  The most famous view of the Tadami Line is actually of a train crossing the Tadami River, but you’ll have to get off the train to see that.

Train on Bridge Tadami River

There are no reserved seats, so you’ll want to get there early to guarantee a seat.  This is a popular route with domestic tourists.  You can make a day of it, use it as your onward transport, or go there and back in one (long) day.  This is a fabulous scenic train journey in Japan and it is worth coming to Aizu Wakamatsu for this trip alone

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

2. Visit Tsugara Castle in Aizu Wakamatsu

I’ll be upfront and tell you that this Japanese Castle is a reproduction, but that doesn’t take anything away from it.  It’s a glorious castle.  The current floor plan dates from 1593, but there has been a castle here since 1384.   The castle was integral to the Boshin War of 1868 and was home to the Byakkotai, often known as the last samurai or the White Tiger Brigade.  You can easily get to the castle from the train station, but it is also covered on the tourist office circular bus routes.   While the castle is now concrete, the moats and some of the walls are original.  The official name of the castle is Tsugara, although it is also known as Wakamatsu Castle.  You can skip the line and buy your tickets for the castle here.

Tsugara Castle Aizuwakamatsu

The castle is centered in the Tsugara Castle Park, and in spring, this is a lovely time to check out the Cherry Blossoms.  We were just a little too late, and although there were some blossoms left, the peak had passed.  Inside the castle, there’s a teahouse, the Rinkaku Teahouse, where you can take tea, and explore this historic place where feudal lords took tea ceremonies.

Rinkaku Tea House Aizuwakamatsu

What’s unique about Tsugara Castle is the red tile roof.  Red is an unusual color for Japanese castles, they tend to be black and white.  Here the original tile color dates from 1603-1867, the Edo Period in Japan.  While for many years the tiles were black, they reverted to the Edo colors in 2011.  And that’s what’s behind the name of the castle “Tsuru” – it means crane.

The views from the top of the castle are also glorious.

Views from the top of Tsugara Castle

The castle grounds are pleasant to walk around and it’s a peaceful place to explore.  You’ll also find an exhibition inside the castle on the castle itself as well as the samurai lifestyle and several artifacts.

3. Visit the Oyakuen Garden in Aizu Wakamatsu

There are nearly 400 herbs still grown here in this traditional Japanese garden, the name Oyakuen translates as Medicinal Herb Garden, and it’s possible to walk down the rows of herbs (some are noted in English, some not).

Oyakuen Garden Layout

There’s also a delightful pond and tea house here, as well as pathways amongst the trees.   The garden has been here since the 18 th century.    Originally this garden was a villa for the feudal lords of the time, and the medicinal herb garden started as his way of trying to protect the citizens from the plagues of the day.   Oyakuen is now a preserved important national asset. 

Oyakuen Traditional Japanese Garden

There’s a tea house here, and a small shop, but the delight of this garden is simply being able to walk around and explore the hidden corners within it.  There’s a restored tea house on the small island within the gardens.

Oyakuen Garden Tea House

Oyakuen is open from 08:30 until 17:30 and while there is parking here, it’s also a stop on the tourist bus that runs from the Aizu Wakamatsu station.  Entrance fees to Oyakuen are 330 JPY for adults.

4. Explore Aizu Bukeyashiki – aka Samurai Residence

Also on the route of the sightseeing bus is Aizu Bukeyashiki – and you really shouldn’t miss this stop. It’s a traditional samurai residence and it’s enormous.  It was empty of other visitors when we visited and just glorious. Bukeyashiki was home to some of Aizu’s most important samurai during the Edo period and the layout has been faithfully represented and dressed to show how life would have been here.

Aizu Bukeyashiki

There are 38 rooms to explore, and while the original building was destroyed during the Boshin War it was rebuilt as a replica.  It’s a fascinating place to visit.   There’s a self-guided walking tour with an English language leaflet available, with points of interest marked.

Gardens at Aizu Bukeyashiki

If you’re lucky enough to visit during Cherry Blossom season there are glorious blooms in the gardens here.

Cherry Blossom at Aizu Bukeyashiki

Entrance fees are 850 JPY per adult and opening times are 08:30 to 17:00 (April to November) and 09:00 to 16:30 (December to March).

5. Walk up Limori Hill and Pay Respects to Aizu’s last Samurai

You’ll be able to get close to the base of Limori Hill in Aizu using the tourist shuttle, but then you’ll have to walk up.  During the summer season there is an elevator for part of the way (it costs 250 JPY).

The bottom of Limori Hill Aisu Wakamatsu

The hill, also known as Mt. Iimoriyama (飯盛山) is associated with the Samura group called the White Tiger Battalion, or the White Tiger Force, or Byakkotai.  The story has it that, during the Boshin War, a group of 19 teenage samurai had retreated here to Limori Hill.  They saw Tsuraga Castle burning in the distance and thought it had fallen.  All 19 committed ritual suicide.

Their graves are on Limori Hill and there are several museums in the area about them. 

The Byakkotai Graves Limori Hill

6. Visit the Sazaedo Temple in Aizu Wakamatsu

While you’re on Limori Hill, also take a visit to Sazaedo Temple.  Made completely of wood, it has two spiral staircases, they go in opposite directions, so you’ll never cross paths with someone going the other way, meaning that you won’t be disturbed during your prayers by people returning.  It’s often described as the “Double Helix Temple and it’s also known as the sea snail temple.  The temple was constructed in 1796 and is three stories high, it is a designated National Important Cultural Property.

Sazaedo Temple Aizuwakamatsu

This temple has 33 statues said to represent the temples of the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage.  You can pray at each in place of visiting the actual temples and receiving blessings.  Praying at each earns pilgrims good fortune and merit (and of course saves time by not going on an actual pilgrimage!)

The temple is open year-round from April to December from 08:15 to sunset and January to March from 09:00 to 16:00.  Entry fees are 400 JPY.

Other places to visit on Limori Hill

If you have more time there are several other places to explore on Limori Hill, they include

The Byakkotai Museum: It’s privately owned and includes exhibits related to the Byakkotai and the Boshin War.  Entry fee 400 JPY.

The Byakkotai Legendary Museum:   Another privately owned museum on the Byokktotai containing more than 5000 artifacts.  Entry fee 300 JPY.

The Tonoguchi Weir Cave:   This looks more like a small spring or waterfall, it’s where the Byakkotai escaped to, it was here that they emerged and saw Aizu Castle in flames.

The Tonoguchi Weir Cave

The Byakkotai Graves:   There’s a grave for each of the teenagers who committed suicide believing that Aizu Castle had fallen.  While the date on the graves reads 23 August 1868, it was based on the lunar calendar that was used at the time, in today’s calendar it equates to 8 October 1868.  Other Byokkotai who perished are also buried here.

The Byakkotai Harakiri Memorial:   You’ll find this at the location where the White Tiger Battalion committed suicide. Legend has it that only 16 succeeded, 3 others survived but died in later fighting and finally, one was left to tell the tale of what happened.

There are various other monuments on the hill including:

A Monument from the City of Rome – this came from a temple at the Pompei ruins and was dedicated by Mussolini in 1928.  

A German Monument gifted by a German Diplomat

7. Take a Sake Brewery Tour (and taste) at Suehiro Sake Brewery

Aizu Wakamatsu is known for its sake, rather like Saijo , the sake brewery town that we visited near Hiroshima, the combination of pure water, and great rice production has led to centuries of sake production here.

The most famous of the Aizu sake breweries is Suehiro, its accessible easily on the Aizu tourist and sightseeing bus loop.  When they’re giving tours (check with the tourist information) you can get a free tour and tastings, they’re only at specific scheduled times and may not be in English.   Sake has been brewed here at Suehiro by the same family for 8 generations, since 1850.  They use a traditional method of brewing, called Yamahai, which delivers a complex, full flavor using slow-open fermentation.

There’s also a café, store, small museum, and Japan’s biggest private collection of film cameras here. 

8. Understand Samurai at the Samurai School in Aizu Wakamatsu

Aizu Wakamatsu is the heart of samurai country in Japan. Its location, surrounded by mountain ranges, helped it to be one of the last samurai strongholds during the Edo Period (1603-1868).  The area was particularly active during the Boshin War of 1868-1869.  The Boshin War is also known as the Japanese Civil War or the Japanese Revolution was fought between the Tokugawa shogunate and a coalition seeking power.   It had been the opening of Japan to foreigners in the previous decade that led to increased dissatisfaction with nobles and samurai.

You can learn much about the samurai, the Boshin War, and the fall of Aizu Castle here in Aizu, and the best place to start is the Nisshinkan or Samurai School.  The school was built in 1803 and was where boys of the Aizu Clan learned martial arts, culture, and had academic classes to become samurai.

There are self-guided tours around the school, with some explanatory detail – but for detail, you’ll want to take a guided tour in English .  The school is now a museum, and it’s huge.    You can take lessons in archery here, zen meditation, and tea ceremonies – all things that the boys who were taught here would have learnt.  Entrance is 850 JPY.  The sightseeing bus doesn’t go out this far so you’ll need to take a taxi or drive to reach the school.

9. Relax at the Higashiyama Onsen

There are a bunch of hot spring resorts around this valley, and the best known is Higashiyama Onsen, it’s at the end of the line of the tourist sightseeing bus, but it feels like you’re miles and miles away from the city up here, even though it’s just 10 minutes by car from Aizu Wakamatsu. The bathhouses here are traditional Japanese style.

If you’re looking for a traditional ryokan and onsen experience in Aizu, then this is the place to come.  My guide to ryokan etiquette is here.   There are several ryokan here, the highest rated of which is the Onyado Toyo , which comes with traditional Japanese rooms with the most magnificent of views, glorious onsens, and seasonal food options.    These rates include breakfast, dinner, and private bathrooms (which have sinks and toilets), bathing is in the shared onsen facilities.   Come during snow crab season for a fabulous dining experience!  There’s a shared shuttle available from the train station in Aizu, or you can also leave your bags for a free bag transfer, and catch the tourist shuttle at the end of a day sightseeing.  Book a Room here.

How to get around Aizu Wakamatsu

The easiest way to get around the main attractions of Aizu Wakamatsu is to take the tourist bus that sets off from the train station.  There are two routes – the Haikara-san and the Akabe town bus.

Sightseeing Bus Aizuwakamatsu

The bus tickets cost 600 JPY per adult and last one day.  If you show your bus tickets at various Aizu Wakamatsu’s attractions you’ll also get discounted entry.  The timetable is great, it allows you enough time to explore each of the attractions and then simply get the next bus.

Aizuwakamatsu Sightseeing Bus Timetables

You can also choose to buy combo tickets that includes the cost of entry. So it’s best to check which locations you’ll want to visit and pick the best combo ticket for you.  If you’re here in the very early spring or late fall season then there are likely to be a lower number of buses each day and the timetable might not be full.  Check at the tourist office, which is found opposite the train station.  That’s also where you can buy the tickets for the sightseeing buses.  (Walk out of the station, go straight ahead, and cross the road.  Turn left as though heading towards the Toyoku Inn and the tourist information office is just there.)

Take a Day Trip from Aizu Wakamatsu to Ouchijuku

Our first experience of Japan’s old post towns was the hike from Magome to Tsumago and it was glorious.  Japan’s post towns date mainly from the Edo Period, when traders, tax collectors, and travelers journeyed on one of the main Edo routes.  The towns developed and served as places where the government of the day could control the highway system, they were places where travelers could rest, stay the night, and obtain food. Ouchijuku is on the old Aizu Nishi Kaido Route.  This route was a 130-kilometer (81-mile) route that connected Imaichi, in modern-day Tochigi Prefecture with Aizu Wakamatsu Castle in Fukushima Prefecture. 

Ouchijuku

The town has been preserved and is a delight to visit.  To get to Ouchijuku take the train from Aizu Wakamatsu to Yunokami Onsen Station.  From there you’ll need to take a taxi or a bus to Ouchijuku.  Don’t miss their famous soba noodles.  Don’t worry if you can’t handle chopsticks, here they give you a leek which you use to eat them (!).

The Saruyu-go bus runs from April until late November and a 1 day pass that’ll take you to and from the station to Ouchijuku costs 1,000 JPY.  There are 8 buses a day in each direction, the last bus is at around 16:00.

What to eat in Aizu Wakamatsu

There are some specific dishes that the Aizu area is famous for and Aizu Wakamatsu is one of the best places to try them.    Here’s what you should look for

 Yanaizu Sauce Katsudon

Katsudon is a breadcrumbed fried pork fillet served on a bowl of rice that also has shredded cabbage.  A special sauce is drizzled over the top of it.  It’s slightly sweeter than you’d normally expect from a katsu sauce, but delicious all the same.  The best place to get Katsudon in Aizu is the tiny but fabulous Katsuichi ( here’s a map link for you ).

Yanaizu sauce katsu don

If you eat nothing else from the local area you should try this.

The next thing that you should try in Aizu Wakamatsu is Dengaku.  Here in Aizu, these are skewers basted with a miso paste and roasted over an open flame.  And you’ll want to head to Mitsutaya for these, you sit right up at the bar, and choose your skewers, which are basted for you and then stuck into the charcoals, right in front of you. 

Dengaku at Mitsutaya

Don’t worry the staff will come back and rescue you when they’re done and get them out of the flames and onto your plate.  They’re great for sharing. 

Drink Suehiro Sake

Founded in 1850, Suehiro Sake Brewery is the most famous of Aizus sake breweries.   This family-owned for 8 generations brewery does do tours and tastings, but you’ll have to ask locally about when they are (use the tourist information office for this), as they depend on the season. 

Suehiro Sake from Aizuwakamatsu

If you’re not able to get on a tasting, then head to one of the small supermarkets in Aizu – they sell Suehiro sake, and it is well worth tasting it while you’re here, you’re unlikely to find it outside of the area unless you go to a specialist liquor store.

Where to Stay in Aizu Wakamatsu

For me, there are two options of where to stay in Aizu.  If you want somewhere close to the train station, you can’t beat the Toyoko Inn .  It’s about a 5-minute walk (you can see the hotel sign when you get off the train), they provide an included Japanese breakfast buffet and while the rooms are Western style, they also provide yukata and all the toiletries that you’ll need.  The staff is great here and they also provide a luggage store service if you arrive before check-in, or want to explore the city after you’ve checked out.  Check room rates and book here.

If you prefer to make more of an experience to your visit to Aizu, then head to the Higashiyama Onsen area of Aizu.  Up here, just 10 minutes in a taxi from the station you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away.  Book a traditional Japanese-style room at the Onyado Toyo , where rates include breakfast, dinner, and private bathrooms.  Book a Room here.

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Final Words on the 9 Best Things to Do in Aizu Wakamatsu

Aizu Wakamatsu is a delightful city in Fukushima Prefecture.  Don’t let the term city put you off, this is a small local place with some great things to see and do.  The samurai history is incredible, the castle a glorious rebuild and you’ll definitely feel as though you’ve fallen well off the tourist trail.  Come here on the Tadami Line train and have another great experience too.

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  • Tsuruga jo Castle
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Top Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu - Aizuwakamatsu Must-See Attractions

Things to do in aizuwakamatsu, explore popular experiences, tours in and around aizuwakamatsu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Half-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Full-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

NASU SATOYAMA Farm Ride

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Shared 2 Hours Lake Hibara Canoe Experience in Yama-gun Fukushima

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Kitakata Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Kitakata Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

1 Day Trip Nasushiobara Journey Through Spirituality and Nature

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Tsuchiyu Onsen Menuma - SUP/Kayak Experience

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

2Days 1Night Nasushiobara A Journey Through Spirituality & Nature

Top attractions in aizuwakamatsu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Other Top Attractions around Aizuwakamatsu

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

What travellers are saying

Zimminaroundtheworld

  • Tsuruga jo Castle
  • Aizu Old Samurai Residences
  • Aizu Railway
  • Oyakuen Garden
  • Ishibezakura
  • Higashiyama Dam

Top Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan

Places to visit in aizuwakamatsu, explore popular experiences, tours in and around aizuwakamatsu.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Half-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizu Full-Day Private Trip with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

NASU SATOYAMA Farm Ride

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Shared 2 Hours Lake Hibara Canoe Experience in Yama-gun Fukushima

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Kitakata Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Kitakata Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

1 Day Trip Nasushiobara Journey Through Spirituality and Nature

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Tsuchiyu Onsen Menuma - SUP/Kayak Experience

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2Days 1Night Nasushiobara A Journey Through Spirituality & Nature

Top attractions in aizuwakamatsu.

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Other Top Attractions around Aizuwakamatsu

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What travellers are saying

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ITINERARIES Exploring Aizu's Samurai Spirit Live and breathe Japan's history of samurai warriors and merchants

Immerse yourself in the philosophy of the samurai through an exploration of castles, temples and post towns., how to get there, from tokyo: 3 hours.

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Koriyama Station, which takes about 1 hour 30 minutes. Then take a Shin-Joban Kotsu bus from just opposite Koriyama Station (1 hour 15 minutes). Tsurugajo Castle is near the "Tsurugajo, Godo-chosha-mae" bus stop.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Stand on the grounds where one of the fiercest samurai battles in the Boshin War of 1868 was fought. As one of the last strongholds of Aizu samurai loyal to the Tokugawa Shogunate, this was where an uprising against the new government was fought.

The castle, which was first built in 1384, had been destroyed in the process but was rebuilt in the 1960s. It has since been recognized as a symbol of the brave samurai who proudly fought until the very end. One distinctive feature to take notice of is its red-tiled roof, which is unusual for castles in Japan. Spend some time at the onsite museum, where you can learn more about the history and culture of the Aizu region.

Take the Aizu Loop Bus to the Aizu Bukeyashiki-mae stop

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Imagine living as a samurai in feudal Japan at the Aizu Samurai Mansion—known as Bukeyashiki in Japanese—which had served as the quarters for the Aizu clan’s highest-ranked samurai, his family and his servants.

The prestige means the residence is quite large, with dozens of rooms and sections including gardens, a tea house and even an archery range. There are mannequins of the former inhabitants in many of the rooms portraying scenes of day-to-day activities.

Take the Aizu Loop Bus to the Iimoriyama-shita stop, then walk three minutes to the Byakkotai Museum

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The Byakkotai were a group of teenage samurai warriors, aged 16 and 17, who fought in the Boshin War. They decided to take their own lives when, at Mt. Iimori, they saw flames coming from the direction of the Tsuruga Castle and thought they had lost the civil war.

Today, you can visit the spot where the boys lost their lives and the Byakkotai Museum at the base of the mountain has information about the boys.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Built in 1796, Aizu Sazaedo is a hexagonal, three-tiered temple that stands at 16.5 meters tall and is located a short walk up Mt. Iimori. It is one of the most unusual architectural structures in the world—there are no stairs on the gradual ascent, and you must take different paths as you go up and down the building. A journey up and down Sazaedo is supposed to represent the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage to 33 Buddhist temples.

Take an Aizu Loop Bus to Wakamatsu Station. Change to a bus bound for Ashinomaki Chuo Machiaisho.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

With a history of over a millennium, the Ashinomaki Onsen was said to have been established by the famous eighth-century priest Gyoki. Spend the night in one of the many inns along the Okawa River, and take a dip in one of the outdoor baths that offer beautiful views of the gorge no matter the season you are visiting in.

Take a bus to Ashinomaki-onsen Station. Board a train to Tonohetsuri Station.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

"Hetsuri" means cliff in the Aizu dialect, and it is designated a national monument. This scenic spot has unusually shaped rocks, formed millions of years ago.

Take a train to Yunokami Onsen Station. From there, board a bus to the Ouchi-juku bus stop.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

With its thatched roofs and a broad main thoroughfare, you might almost expect samurai warriors in period garb to come wandering down the streets at Ouchi-juku. This was formerly one of numerous “post towns," places where weary travelers could rest, that dotted Japan.

Be sure to try the local specialties of scallion soba noodles, and grilled char fish.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

If you are a sake connoisseur, you will appreciate the rich history of the Yamatogawa Sake Brewery Northern Museum, a storehouse that was established in 1790. Learn about how sake is brewed through displays of the tools and equipment used, in order of the era they were from, to see their evolution. Cap your visit at the sake-tasting corner, where you can sample about 10 types of sake.

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Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

  • Last Updated 18 April 2023

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Aizuwakamatsu

Aizuwakamatsu is a castle city in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, a few hours north of Tokyo. Easily reached by train, the city is surrounded by green countryside and sloping mountains. This small but fascinating city has so much to offer – especially in terms of culture and history. Drawing on a rich heritage as Japan’s “Samurai City” , Aizuwakamatsu is a must visit for those interested in learning more about Japanese traditions or martial arts.

Visit a samurai school to learn Japanese archery, or head to an edo-period sake brewery. Explore the famous castle and discover the sad stories of the samurai wars fought around it. Or simply head to the nearby countryside and onsen resorts to relax! My Aizuwakamatsu travel guide tells you everything you need to know to have the perfect two- or three-day trip. This is everything you need to do, see, and eat in Aizuwakamatsu…

How to Get to Aizuwakamatsu

Wait, is fukushima safe, 11 things to do in aizuwakamatsu, more information.

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

From Tokyo Station, take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen  to Koriyama (about 1.5 hours). If you really want to travel in style, book Green Car tickets – the first class of the JR line. At Koriyama the transfer is easy: a huge mural welcomes you to the platform for boarding the train to Aizuwakamatsu. Hop on the JR Ban-etsu West Line to Aizuwakamatsu (about 1 hour 20 mins). It’s the last station so it couldn’t be easier!

The whole journey should take around three hours and there’s only one change – easy! But if you prefer, you can always hire a car (prices start from £15 a day on RentalCars.com ) and drive yourself there. That way you can make the most of the local countryside, and even stop off at some of the small towns around Aizuwakamatsu.

READ MORE: 17 awesome places to get off the beaten path in Japan

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Perhaps memories of the 2011 reactor disaster in Fukushima are putting you off travelling to the region. Since I’m no expert, let me point you in the direction of this much cleverer article for peace of mind. But in brief; most of Fukushima Prefecture is safe to return to.

Numerous tests have been carried out and have found that radiation levels in many areas are back to a safe level. Aizu itself is very far from the site of the accident – and “levels in the entire region are now as low as normal background radiation around the world”. So yes, it’s safe to visit Aizuwakamatsu. 

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

My round-up of the top things to do in Aizuwakamatsu and the surrounding area. This lot should keep you busy for a couple of days…

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Aizu Half-Day Private Trip with Nationally-Licensed Guide , from £65.75

Practice Kyudo (Archery) at the Nisshinkan Samurai School

One of the best things to do in Aizuwakamatsu is to visit the Nisshinkan . This was a school established in 1803 for the children of local samurai families, and it was famous for its high education levels and strict moral code. Today, you can visit to discover all about Aizuwakamatsu’s samurai history. You can also try your hand at kyudo , Japanese archery, which is ideal for those interested in martial arts. Other activities include zen meditation, tea ceremonies, or painting local crafts.

Entry: ¥560 (archery ¥300 for ten minutes). Or you can book this tour with an English-speaking guide through Vitor, from £273.12.

things to do in Aizuwakamatsu

Aizuwakamatsu Castle

Also known as Tsuruga Castle or Tsurugajō, the historic castle at the city centre is known for its iconic red-tiled roofs. This is definitely one of the top things to do in Aizuwakamatsu and an absolute must-see. Again, you can learn all about the fascinating (and often brutal) samurai history of Aizu. And the views from the top of the castle are incredible.

Entry:  ¥410, or ¥510 including Tea Room entrance.

Learn the Sad Story of the Byakkotai

One of the most popular, and memorable, stories from Aizu’s recent history is that of the Byakkotai, or White Tiger Batallion. These were a group of samurai fighting in the Boshin War of 1868 – and they were among the last of the samurai in Japan.  Retreating from battle, a group of twenty teenaged samurai, all aged around 17 years old, saw Aizu burning from the slopes of Mount Iimoriyama.

Aizuwakamatsu samurai history

Mistakenly thinking that the castle was also on fire, and that the battle was lost, they followed samurai culture and committed  seppuku   – ritual suicide – using their own swords. It was important to samurai to die with honour, rather than surrender or be caught. The sad part of the story is that the battle wasn’t lost that day, and the suicides were needless. Because the samurai were fighting the emperor, the government wouldn’t allow their bodies to be buried for over a year – so their remains were left on the side of the mountain where they fell. Today, there is a proper grave and a memorial which you can visit. go with a guide to get the full story, or visit the nearby museum .

Entry:  free

Sazaedo Temple

Also on the slopes of Mount Iimoriyama is a fascinating temple that’s truly one of a kind. The tall, spiral-shaped Sazaedo Temple is built entirely from wood and dates from 1796. That’s not the most impressive part, though. It’s unique double-helix structure means that people climbing up the twisting path inside never pass those coming down, as it’s a totally separate path. The temple is pretty amazing, considering when it was built, and is full of history. Definitely a must do in Aizuwakamatsu.

Entry:  ¥400

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

Explore a Samurai Residence

If you want to learn more about the samurai history of the city, the Samurai Residence is another great thing to do in Aizuwakamatsu. Here, you can discover more about every day life as a samurai, and about what life was like during the Edo Period. It’s also a beautiful example of traditional edo period architecture.

Entry:  ¥850

things to do in Aizuwakamatsu

Sake Brewery Tour and Tasting at Suehiro Brewery

Aizu is famed for its sake, thanks to pure waters and fertile rice fields. There are several gold medal winning sake breweries in town, so don’t miss the chance to try a few of the local drinks. At Suehiro Brewery , visitors can enjoy a free tour of the brewery, a lesson in how sake is produced, and an exploration of the upper rooms of this historic brewery. More importantly, you can enjoy a tasting of several of the brewery’s current offerings! Since they don’t export, this is also one of the only places you can enjoy these award-winning sakes.

Entry:  Tours and tastings are free – you just show up at one of the scheduled tour times.

things to do in Aizuwakamatsu

Sakudari Kannon Temple

If you have time, a visit to the Sakudari Kannon temple is one of the best things to do in Aizuwakamatsu. It’s actually a little way out-of-town, down the road in Aizumisato – so you may find it easiest to hire a car to get there. This is another beautiful wooden temple, built to house a statue of Kannon (the Bhuddist goddess of mercy). There are 33 kannon temples around Aizu, which form a local pilgrimage, and this is the 21st on the route. Not only is this centuries-old wooden temple an impressive site, but it’s a great excuse to get out into the beautiful countryside that surrounds Aizuwakamatsu.

things to do in Aizuwakamatsu

Rent a Kimono in Aizuwakamatsu

It’s hard to resist the idea of a photo-op in a traditional kimono or yukata . Get stuck in to Japanese way of life and spend some time in a kimono – a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture, and look pretty doing it! Rent a kimono in Aizuwakamatsu from Sozai Hiroba and get Instagramming!

Recommended Tour: Samurai Kimono With hair and makeup Professional photography plan , from £124.93

Price:  from ¥6,000 + tax

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

Hit the Traditional Shops on Nanukamachi street

Dotted along Nanukamachi street at the centre of Aizuwakamatsu are dozens of boutique shops and traditional craft stores. It’s the perfect place to pick up a few gifts, and support some local artisans at the same time. My personal favourite was Nagatoya, a traditional sweet shop that’s over 170 years old. If you’re on the hunt for souvenirs, local crafts that you should keep an eye out for include:

  • lacquerware
  • painted candles
  • Aizu cotton cloth (it has a distinctive striped pattern)
  • the adorable local folk toy Akabeko (a red cow that I’m obsessed with – you’ll find a giant singing one outside the train station).
  • Okiagari Koboshi (another super cute folk toy and a symbol of luck and resilience)

things to do in Aizuwakamatsu

Learn How to Decorate Lacquerware

Lacquerware craft was established in Aizu in 1590 and it’s still a thriving industry in the local area. Head to Suzuzen to try your hand at one of the more creative things to do in Aizuwakamatsu! You can choose a piece of ready-made lacquerware to decorate using coloured powders and varnish. It’s a delicate process, but perfect for creative types. And you’ll be left with a brilliant souvenir of your time in Japan.

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

Price:  ¥1,600 to ¥2,500 (depending on which item you want to paint). You need to make a reservation before arriving.

Recommended tour: Half-day tour experiencing local crafts in Aizu .

Relax at Higashiyama Onsen

If all that culture and history leaves you in need of some relaxation time, you’re in luck. Aizuwakamatsu is blessed with natural hot springs, which are surprisingly close to the city centre. To best enjoy them, spend a night or two at an onsen hotel, or ryokan, at Higashiyama Onsen.

Aizuwakamatsu guide

I stayed at Harataki Ryokan which is a gorgeous, traditional hotel with rooms overlooking the Yugawa mountain stream. Views of thick forest greenery and the sound of rushing water are the perfect way to relax… and the onsens themselves are glorious. There’s an outside bath nestled into a private corner right beside the river, from which you can have a view of one of the small waterfalls that dot the river.

Price:  From £140 GBP per night. Check prices on Hotels.com or Booking.com .

Best Restaurants in Aizuwakamatsu

Every region of Japan has its own local delicacies and speciality cuisine, and Aizu is no different. Below, I’ve rounded up some of the must-try local dishes in Aizuwakamatsu and recommended some of the best places to find them. Enjoy…

Must Try Dishes in Aizu

  • Sauce Katsudon – a breadcrumbed pork cutlet, deep-fried in a special sauce, and served on a bowl of rice and shredded cabbage. This is Aizu’s signature dish and should not be missed!
  • Kitakata Ramen – characterized by unique, firm noodles, ramen from the small town of Kitakata is among the most popular styles of ramen in Japan, so it’s a must-try in Aizuwakamatsu.
  • Wappameshi – a local dish of rice, fish, and veg steamed in a circular wooden box.
  • Aizu beef – less famous than kobe beef, but equally as delicious!

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

  • Horse sashimi – raw chunks of local horse meat. Perhaps not super tempting to Westerners, but surprisingly tasty. Enjoy with sake.
  • Dengaku – skewers of food basted in miso and grilled over an open flame. Apparently a samurai staple once.
  • Nishin Sansho-zuke – dried herring fillets sandwiched between sansho leaves and pickled in vinegar, sake, and soy sauce.
  • Kozuyu – a regional speciality and a must at wedding feasts in Aizu. It’s a hearty soup veggies, shiitake mushrooms, and balls of wheat gluten.
  • Peaches – the region of Aizu is known for its peaches, which are huge and super juicy.

One of the best restaurants in Aizuwakamatsu is Takino . It’s housed inside a beautiful, restored house that’s around 200 years old, and is a must-visit. They serve up an array of Aizu’s most traditional dishes, and this is probably the best place to try both wappameshi boxes and kozuyu. I had the most enormous and delicious lunch here – don’t miss it!

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

Bannai Shokudō

In the neighbouring town of Kitakata you’ll find this insanely popular little ramen joint! Bannai Shokudō is actually part of a chain, but it was born right here in Kitakata and is the reason why the Kitakata ramen style is so famous. Although there are many places to try Kitakata ramen, this is probably the most iconic. Go early as there’s usually a queue every morning and at lunchtime.

If you’re looking for the best place in town to try sauce katsudon, Jumonjiya is right up there. Every restaurant has its own secret recipe for the sauce, so it’s always different. But you can’t go wrong with Jumonjiya – my serving of sauce katsudon was amazing. Be warned – you’re going to need ALL your inner samurai strength just to pick up the enormous pork cutlets with chopsticks, let alone finish the dish!

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

Harataki Ryokan

If you’re heading to Higashiyama Onsen, Harataki Ryokan is a great spot for dinner. Waterside dining in a lovely restaurant with lots of traditional local dishes to try.

Back in the city centre, Mitsutaya is one of the best places to try those super tasty dengaku skewers. You can sit at a stool around the kitchen and watch your chef grill the skewers over an open flame. I recommend trying one of everything – it’s all delicious!

Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

Izakaya Hairansyo

A cosy, traditional local spot, Izakaya Hairansyo is the perfect place to discover local snacks like Nishin Sansho-zuke and horse sashimi. Be sure to order some of the local sake to wash it all down. They have dozens of bottles for you to try!

If you need assistance, or want to pick up an English map, head to the local tourist office. There’s one at Aizuwakamatsu Station, or at Tsurugajo Castle. Check out the city’s official websites below for more information.

Aizuwakamatsu Tourism Bureau

Samurai City – Aizuwakamatsu Tourist Website

17 off the beaten path destinations in Japan

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which support the running of my site, but don’t affect the price you pay at all. All the tours I’ve recommended are from my affiliate partner, Voyagin. I trust them and have always had great experiences with their tours.

My trip to Aizuwakamatsu was organised by All About Japan and the local tourist board. But, as always, all words and opinions are my own!

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Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide

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Thanks for the detail record of the places. I will be going this December, and I have found your information very helpful.

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Aizuwakamatsu Overview

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aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Previously a training hub for samurai, Aizuwakamatsu, or Aizu, is now known for its preserved castle and rich cultural history. Located in Western Fukushima, Aizu is becoming an up and coming sightseeing spot, where visitors can relax in a hot spring or indulge in the restored Edo period architecture. The self-proclaimed “Samurai City” also has plenty to offer to the history buff as the city was the backdrop for the Boshin War of 1868. In the 1800s, the sons of samurai were trained at the Nisshin-kan school to become proper young individuals of society. The Edo-era restored school still offers classes to youngsters and adults, with far less discipline than in the past. Visitors are welcome to partake in Zen meditation or calligraphy. The popular NHK historical dramas “Yae No Sakura” and “The Byakkotai” were also filmed on location at the school. The red tile roofs of the 600 year old Tsuruga-jo Castle overlook the town. The castle was faithfully restored in 2011 as an exact replica of its Tokugawa period design. The castle hosts a small history museum with a display of samurai life. The surrounding castle park is especially picturesque in spring with its cherry blossoms. Aizu is known for its traditional Tohoku cuisine such as wappa meshi, a rice bowl served in a wooden box topped with seasonal fare. Aizu chicken, locally raised poultry, and Kozuyu, a New Year’s dish of winter vegetables, are also popular local foods. Raw horse meat with spicy miso is also a delicacy dating back to the Edo period. At the time, the city was a popular transit stop with many horses stopping by to pick up packages. If there’s one thing Aizu does well, it’s sake. The fresh, pure taste of the sake comes from the melted snow of the Iide-Asahi mountain range, used for growing the rice that will eventually be fermented. The largest and most well-known brewery is Suehiro Brewery, in operation since 1850. The brewery is open for tours and also hosts a cafe serving sake-themed desserts. In the mood for more sake? Learn and taste Aizu’s history of sake brewing at the Aizu Sake Museum. Just a ten minute walk from Tsuruga-jo, the museum offers a perfect break from walking, drinks included! Aizu is easily accessible via JR Tohoku Shinkansen with a quick transfer at Koriyama Station to the JR Banetsu-Sai Line to Aizuwakamatsu Station. The one-way trip is 9,000 yen (covered by the JR Pass) and takes about three hours. The city itself is easily explored by bicycle or a tourist loop bus that circle all the main attractions.

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Aizuwakamatsu

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

  • 1.1 Tourist Information
  • 2.1 By plane
  • 2.2 By train
  • 3 Get around
  • 4.1 Nanokamachi Street
  • 4.2 Iimoriyama
  • 5.1 Higashiyama Onsen

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Aizuwakamatsu (会津若松) is the main city in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture , in the north of Honshū island, the largest of Japan . With a population of 120,000, Aizuwakamatsu has a rich warrior history, stretching back 1,000 years. Although the city is most known for the Byakkotai, a force of about 300 young samurai (13-17 year olds) in the Boshin Civil War. Nineteen of them committed suicide, declining surrender. Today, sake and lacquerware are the two main industries in Aizuwakamatsu. The Aizu region has spectacular natural scenery. Most visitors also make a journey to Mt. Bandai and Inawashiro for skiing, fishing and onsen.

Understand [ edit ]

Tourist information [ edit ].

  • 37.507679 139.930329 1 Aizu Wakamatsu Station Tourist Information Center ( 会津若松駅観光案内所 ). Has pamphlets, maps, and information about local sights, restaurants, and events. If you are a guest staying at any of the ryokan in Higashiyama Onsen or Ashinomaki Onsen, they have a baggage delivery service that will take your baggage to your hotel so you can enjoy the day sightseeing and collect your bags when you check-in. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.498665 139.928556 2 Aizu Area Information Center ( あいづ広域観光情報センターiらんしょ ). Pamphlets, maps, and information about each of the cities and towns in the Aizu Region (Western Fukukushima Prefecture). ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • SAMURAI CITY Aizuwakamatsu is the city's official multilingual guide site.

Get in [ edit ]

Map

By plane [ edit ]

Fukushima Airport only has flights to Osaka Itami Airport and Sapporo Chitose Airport. If you're using this airport, there are buses from the airport to Koriyama Station where you can catch a train bound for Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. For most travelers, Sendai Airport or one of Tokyo's airports will be more convenient. Sendai Airport has buses that travel directly to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. If you fly into Tokyo, you can transfer to the Shinkansen or take a bus (see below).

By train [ edit ]

The fastest and most convenient way to access Aizuwakamatsu is to take the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Koriyama, and transfer to the Ban-etsu Saisen Line. It takes about 3 hours and ¥9480.

Tobu Railway and Aizu Railway also serve the area. Although Tobu Railway runs from Asakusa in Tokyo, it takes a lot more time to reach Aizu Wakamatsu than using JR, so these will be most useful for people in the Nikko/Kinugawa Onsen area or those who purchased travel passes from these railways.

By bus [ edit ]

JR East offers a direct highway bus service to Aizuwakamatsu from Tokyo 's Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal (located near the New South Exit of Shinjuku Station) to Aizuwakamatsu Bus Terminal (located opposite Aizuwakamatsu Station). There are also limited connections from Tokyo Station. It takes about 4 hours with 2 rest stops along the way. A one-way ticket costs around ¥2,500 and can be purchased at any JR ticket office.

There are also buses from Niigata and 4-6 departures arrive per day from Sendai . From Nagoya , there is a night bus to Koriyama from which you can catch a train to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station.

From within the prefecture, there are also buses from Iwaki .

By car [ edit ]

Get around [ edit ].

To visit the major sightseeing spots, take the Sightseeing Bus from Aizuwakamatsu Station. You can buy a one-day pass for ¥500. There are two loop buses that go in opposite directions around the same route, so make sure your bus is going in the direction that will get you to your destination the fastest. If you're more adventurous (or if the bus times work against you), it takes about 40 minutes to walk to the castle or Iimoriyama and the Sazaedo from Aizu Wakamatsu Station.

See [ edit ]

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

  • 37.485546 139.953534 5 Samurai Residence ( 会津武家屋敷 ). A preserved samurai estate featuring a teahouse, magistrate's office, a warehouse, and a rice mill in addition to the Aizu chief retainer's house. There is also a restaurant and a gift shop, and visitors can participate in a variety of hands-on activities throughout the year. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.4847 139.911071 6 Kagetsu-tei Garden Museum ( 可月亭庭園美術館 ). ( updated Feb 2024 )

Nanokamachi Street [ edit ]

A historic street with a variety of nostalgic buildings and sites related to Hideyo Noguchi, a man who did research in bacteriology and whose face is on the 1000 yen bill, and the Shinsengumi.

  • 37.497606 139.927181 7 Hideyo Noguchi Seishunkan ( 野口英世青春館 ). A former hospital built in 1897. It's where Hideyo Noguchi's hands were treated at age 16 that gave him full use of his hands for the first time. When he was one year old, he suffered a burn that caused his left hand to remain clenched. The doctor's ability to return his hand to normalcy is said to have been what inspired him to study medicine himself. The buildings today has a museum dedicated to Noguchi on the second floor and a cafe on th first floor. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.496295 139.930328 8 Sakaemachi Church ( 栄町教会 ). The church where Hideyo Noguchi was baptized at age 18. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.498657 139.923854 9 Hideyo Noguchi's Baptism Spot ( 野口英世洗礼の地 ). This is the original spot where Sakaemachi Church stood when Hideyo Noguchi was baptized. He also learned English and met his first love here. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.500539 139.921318 10 Aizu Shinsengumi Memorial Hall ( 会津新選組記念館 ). Located on the 2nd floor of an antique shop, the museum features artifacts from the Shinsengumi, the battles they fought in, and art and documents related to them. ¥300 . ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.500427 139.919338 11 Hajime Saito Grave Monument ( 斎藤一の墓 ). The grave of the leader of the Shinsengumi in the grounds of Amidaji Temple. ( updated Feb 2024 )

Iimoriyama [ edit ]

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Mt. Iimoriyama (飯盛山) is famous for its associations with the Byakkotai (白虎隊, meaning White Tiger Force). After being defeated in a battle against the imperial forces, nineteen teenagers of the Byakkotai retreated to this hill. When they saw Tsuruga Castle burning, they thought it had fallen to the enemy and committed suicide. Their graves are on Mt. Iimoriyama where incense is always burnt on their behalf. Visitors can walk up the many steps to see the graves, or take the escalator for ¥250.

  • 37.504404 139.953158 13 Byakkotai Museum ( 白虎隊記念館 ). ¥400 . A private collection of exhibits related to the Boshin War and the Byakkotai. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.505122 139.952327 14 Byakkotai Legendary Museum ( 白虎隊伝承史学館 ). Over 5000 artifacts are on display from the Byakkotai, Shinsengumi, and Boshin War. ¥300 . ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.504912 139.954386 15 Tonoguchi Weir Cave ( 戸ノ口堰洞穴 ). It looks like a small spring, but is actually part of an ancient irrigation tunnel. It took over 50,000 men over 3 years to dig here from Lake Inawashiro. It is best known today as the tunnel used by the Byakkotai to escape after their defeat from the Battle of Tonoguchihara. Upon emerging from the tunnel, they saw smoke around Tsuruga Castle and believed the entire domain had fallen. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.503226 139.95407 16 Byakkotai Hara-kiri Memorial ( 白虎隊自刃の地 ). A statue and monument built over the sight where the 20 Byakkotai soldiers saw the burning castle and committed ritual suicide however, it is believed that only 16 of them succeeded here. Three of them are thought to have died later either in battle or suicide elsewhere and one was rescued as he was attempting to kill himself here and nursed back to health. It was this survivor who recounted the story that people know today. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.503949 139.954393 17 Byakkotai Graves ( 白虎隊の墓 ). Graves for each of the 19 boys who committed suicide on October 8, 1868 (the date written reads August 23 which is from the old lunar calendar used at the time. It coincides with October 8 on modern calendars) when they believed their castle had fallen to the enemy. Villagers hid their bodies in a nearby temple so that they would not be defiled by the Western Army and later returned to Iimoriyama in 1989. Each of the boy's names are written on one of the small gravestones. Additionally, there are graves for other Byakkotai soldiers who died in battle. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.503876 139.954315 18 Monument from the City of Rome ( ローマ市寄贈の碑 ). A monument made from the pillar of a temple that was uncovered from the ruins of Pompeii dedicated in 1928 by Benito Mussolini who found the story of the Byakkotai inspiring. It reads, "Rome, Mother of Civilization, pays its undying respect to the brave Byakkotai by displaying the axe of the Fascist Party symbol, representing the authority of ancient Rome, and commemorating the thousand-year-old ancient symbol of eternal greatness". On the reverse side, it originally said, "Dedicated to the Spirit of Bushido", but this was etched out by the occupied forces after WWII. Just like the German monument, this one was removed and later returned, and is viewed as a timeless dedication, connecting the greatness of Aizu to the greatness of ancient Rome over its ties to Mussolini. There is a lot of pride in foreign recognition of Aizu's great warriors. Its historic importance as a relic from Pompeii also distracts from its donors. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.503934 139.954271 19 Byakkoitai German Monument ( 白虎隊ドイツ記念碑 ). A monument gifted to the city by Hasso von Etzdorf, a diplomat from Nazi Germany who was inspired by the story of the Byakkotai and felt it spoke to the German condition of the time. It reads, "To the young samurai warriors of Aizu". The monument was removed by occupying American forces after WWII however, it was returned after the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty restored sovereignty to Japan. This monument is viewed positively as showcasing that the story of the Byakkotai has international reknown, as a timeless gift from Germany rather than a gift specifically from one regime. To this point, the reason given for its return to Iimoriyama along with the Roman monument was to "once again connect the spirit of Aizu to the world". ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.506223 139.952831 20 Former Takizawa Honjin ( 旧滝沢本陣 ). A resthouse that was used as a headquarters during the Boshin War. The Byakkotai left here to fight in the Battle of Tonoguchihara. ( updated Feb 2024 )

Do [ edit ]

Higashiyama Onsen Bon Odori

  • 37.498887 139.949936 1 Akabeko Crafter Bansho ( 赤べこ製造処番匠 ). One of Aizu's most famous souvenir, the Akabeko, is produced here, and they offer visitors the opportunity to paint their own Akabeko. Alternatively, you can paint a bell of the town's mascot, Aka-bee. No reservation necessary. They also have a shop where you can buy Akabeko and other Aizu souvenirs. ¥1300 to paint your own Akabeko or Akabe . ( updated Feb 2024 )

Higashiyama Onsen [ edit ]

A picturesque onsen area that is said to have been founded over 1300 years ago by the Priest Gyoki. Higashiyama Onsen has geisha (called geigi ). They are famous for their sad dance in honor of the death of the Byakkotai boys. These geisha can be reserved for ¥15,000 per performer for 90 minutes. The water at Higashiyama Onsen is sulfate (specifically sodium-sulphate) which is said to be good for the skin, healing cuts, and high blood pressure. For those who want to enjoy the onsen without staying in Higashiyama, nine of the hotels and ryokan have hours for day visitors to enjoy the hot springs.

Events [ edit ]

  • Tokaichi Market ( 十日市 ). January 10 . A New Years tradition for over 400 years, the market center's around purchasing Okiagari Koboshi. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • Aizu Painted Candle Festival ( 会津絵ろうそくまつり ). The second Saturday in February and the Friday before it . ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • Aizu Higanshishi ( 会津彼岸獅子 ). Held on the day of the Spring Equinox . ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • Higashiyama Onsen Oyukake Festival ( 東山温泉お湯かけまつり ). August 10 . Geisha from Higashiyama Onsen, known as geigi , are carried in portable shrines and throw water from the onsen (oyukake) onto onlookers. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • Higashiyama Onsen Bon Odori , 東山温泉盆踊り . August 12 . ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • Aizu Festival ( 会津まつり ). Late September . Events are held around the castle along with a parade in the town ( updated Feb 2024 )

Buy [ edit ]

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Akabeko (赤べこ) - In the local Aizu dialect, "Akabeko" literally means "red cow". Akabeko has become the symbol of the Aizu region due to two local legends. First, during the construction of Enzo-ji Temple, red cows worked tirelessly to help move wood. Second, children who possessed a wooden toy Akabeko survived a plague that killed thousands of children. Wooden Akabekos similar to those featured in the latter legend can be bought. The most common design features a "bobbing" head mechanism where the head of the cow bobs. A large Akabeko can be found outside Aizuwakamatsu train station. Akabeko can be found at most souvenir shops throughout the city, but for the best variety in terms of number and size options, visit the Akabeko Crafter Bansho (See "Do" above).

Okiagari Koboshi (起き上がり小法師) - A 400 year old pear-shaped, roly-poly craft with a happy face traditionally found wearing red and blue. Originally, these were purchased at the Tokaichi Market on January 10th as part of Aizu's New Years tradition. The proper way to buy them was to get one for each member of your family plus one more in hopes of blessing the family with a new child. For example, a family of 3 should buy 4 dolls. The Tokaichi Market is still held today, but Okiagari Koboshi can be bought any time of the year at most souvenir shops. A yellow version has also appeared since the 2010s.

  • 37.499392 139.925119 1 Nozawa Mingei ( 野沢民芸 ). A shop where many local craft products are produced. You can buy 3 different sizes of Okiagari Koboshi, 8 different sizes of Akabeko, Aizu Tenjin dolls, masks, and other products. They also have their own unique varieties of traditional goods such as an Edvard Munch "The Scream" Okiagari Koboshi and a "Handsome Blossom" variant of Akabeko which was featured in the NHK drama Yae no Sakura. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.501636 139.926081 2 Yamada Mingei Kojo ( 山田民芸工房 ). Self-advertised as an Okiagari Koboshi producer, they have the traditional varieties as well as versions that look like Doraemon, Pikachu, etc. They also offer visitors the option to paint their own Okiagari Koboshi for ¥800. ( updated Feb 2024 )

Eat [ edit ]

Aizu Wakamatsu is famous for its Sauce Katsudon , pork cutlets covered in a sweet sauce served with shredded cabbage over rice. Eggs are an optional local addition.

  • Agemanju . "Age" means deep-frying and "Manju" means Japanese style bun stuffed with adzuki bean paste. Therefore, Agemanju means deep-frying Japanese style bun stuffed. It is a traditional sweet in Aizuwakamatsu and it is sweet and soft, but it has high calories because of frying. It is especially popular among children and older people. There are a lot of shops which sell Agemanju about ¥100. ( updated Jul 2017 )
  • 37.502215 139.929053 1 Wakamatsu Shokudo ( 若松食堂 ). 11:00-20:00 . A popular sauce katsudon restaurant. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.489506 139.93756 2 Sumire Shokudo ( すみれ食堂 ). A popular restaurant, offering ramen, udon, and sauce katsudon sets. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.507504 139.931707 3 Marumo Shokudo ( マルモ食堂 ). A ramen and sauce katsudon restaurant conveniently located near Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. ( updated Feb 2024 )

Drink [ edit ]

  • 37.495537 139.931359 1 Jazz Cafe Dorothy ( じゃず喫酒ドロシー ). 20:30-2:30 . A jazz bar. ( updated Feb 2024 )

Sleep [ edit ]

  • 37.479167 139.9628 1 Kutsurogi-Juku ( くつろぎ宿 ). A historic hot spring hotel in Higashiyama Onsen with two separate builings, the Shintaki and Chiyotaki each featuring a variety of picturesque baths.The Taisho-era painter, Yumeji Takehisa, is said to have loved Higashiyama Onsen and stayed at the Shintaki in 1903, 1912, and 1930 and painted during his stays. The Takehisa Yumeji Gallery found in the lobby of the Shintaki features some of his Aizu paintings. The galleries are open to hotel guests. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.495114 139.92859 2 Hotel Takako ( ホテル タカコー ). A business hotel near Aizu Wakamatsu Castle. Staying guests can have room service delivery of sauce katsudon and other dishes from the restaurant (Hokuto) on the first floor. ( updated Feb 2024 )
  • 37.506994 139.933779 3 Washington Hotel ( 会津若松ワシントンホテル ). A typical business hotel. ( updated Mar 2024 )

Go next [ edit ]

  • Mount Bandai - skiing, fishing
  • Inawashiro - beach resorts, swimming, camping, boating
  • Kitakata - famous for delicious ramen
  • Aizu-Misato

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Aizuwakamatsu

Samurai history in beautiful surroundings. Don't forget to indulge in some sake on the way.

Aizuwakamatsu in western Fukushima Prefecture is known for its pristine landscapes, quality sake, traditional crafts, and rich samurai history. It’s a bustling former castle town with friendly locals deeply proud of their history and culture. Home to thousand-year-old hot springs, lakes swimming with swans, and the last refuge of loyal samurai, Aizuwakamatsu is worthy of history buffs and nature lovers alike.

Aizuwakamatsu Castle

Aizuwakamatsu Castle

Aizuwakamatsu Castle is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in spring!

Tsuruga Castle (also called Aizuwakamatsu Castle) is Aizuwakamatsu’s symbol and city center. Once the seat of the powerful Aizu Domain, it was the site of the Battle of Aizu and one of the last conflicts of the Boshin War. The engagement saw t

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The Meiji government demolished the original castle in 1874, but the main keep was reconstructed beautifully in 1965. New additions, such as a museum and an observation gallery, were also added. Climbing to the castle’s top floor, you get gorgeous, sweeping views of the surrounding area, including Mount Bandai  and the vast  Lake Inawashiro , home to Japan’s migrating swans.

A visit to the castle is especially worthwhile during the cherry blossom season in late March and early April when the gardens are alive with vibrant white and pink colors. The castle isn’t the only draw though, this town has plenty to see (and drink)!

Other attractions in Aizuwakamatsu

Aizu Sazaedo Temple Aizuwakamatsu Fukushima

Inside Aizu Sazaedo Temple.

Aizu Sazaedo Temple

This unique   pagoda-shaped temple overlooks Aizuwakamatsu City. Here, visitors can complete a holy pilgrimage just by visiting one building. It features 33 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, on its winding staircase. 

Rinkaku Teahouse

Right outside the castle is the Rinkaku Teahouse . It’s where old samurai unwound with strong matcha tea. You can enjoy a cup of delicious brew yourself, served in style. The teahouse is open to the public and a Fukushima Prefecture Important Cultural Property.

Higashiyama Onsen

Higashiyama Onsen

Photo by: Martijn Saly A hot spring town for weary samurai and travelers.

If all that walking has left you feeling sluggish, a trip to Higashiyama is just what the doctor ordered. Only ten minutes by car from the city center, this  onsen (hot spring) town was a retreat to Aizu residents and samurai since the 8th century. Today, it’s considered one of the top three onsen towns in the Tohoku Region .

Aizu Bukeyashiki

Afterward, pay a visit to Aizu Bukeyashiki , the residence of top-ranking samurai during Edo times. Demolished during the Boshin War, it was accurately reconstructed and will leave you with a lasting impression of how high-ranking samurai actually lived. 

Oyakuen Garden

Oyakuen medicinal herb garden fukushima aizuwakamatsu

Enjoy a stroll through the tranquil Oyakuen Garden.

Oyakuen Garden is a peaceful traditional Japanese garden. Centered around a pond, locals in Aizuwakamatsu have been growing hundreds of medicinal plants here for more than 200 years. The garden’s name literally translates to Medicinal Herb Garden. Flowers bloom throughout the seasons, especially along the pathway leading to the pond.

Suehiro Sake Brewery

Suppose you’re interested in a good shot of sake instead, head over to the Suehiro Sake Brewery . Try joining the brewery tours and sake tastings. Even better, buy a bottle or two before heading out of town for camping at nearby Lake Inawashiro or up in the Aizu mountains. 

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Fukushima

Famous Foods You'll Find in Fukushima

Extra crispy gyoza, leeks as spoons, and more in Fukushima.

Attractions

Higashiyama Onsen Fukushima

Ancient hot springs and geisha entertainment

Things To Know

All the attractions described above are in easy reach from JR Aizuwakamatsu Station via the Aizuwakamatsu Loop Line Bus, conveniently connecting all the sites.

Official website: http://www.tsurugajo.com/language/eng/

How To Get There

Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo or Ueno Station to Koriyama and transfer to the JR Ban-Etsu West line bound for Aizu-Wakamatsu. The trip takes about two hours.

From Sendai

Get on the Tohoku Shinkansen towards Tokyo, transfer at Koriyama to the JR Ban-Etsu West line bound for Aizu-Wakamatsu.

Where To Stay

  • 2-78 Nakamachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, 965-0878 Japan
  • ¥6,710 - ¥13,420
  • 4.09/5 (2,707 reviews)
  • 1-5 Heiammachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, 965-0026 Japan
  • ¥7,800 - ¥10,400
  • 4.13/5 (975 reviews)
  • 201 Byakkomachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, 965-0024 Japan
  • ¥7,100 - ¥16,500
  • 4.11/5 (2,428 reviews)
  • 637 Higashiyamamachi Ishiyama, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, 965-0813 Japan
  • ¥6,050 - ¥19,800
  • 3.68/5 (632 reviews)
  • 706 Higashiyamamachi Ishiyama, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, 965-0813 Japan
  • ¥22,680 - ¥70,560
  • 4.29/5 (5,000 reviews)

Topics: Castles , fukushima , sake , samurai

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Enjoy sightseeing in Aizuwakamatsu city to the fullest with a one-day free pass for the city tour bus!

article thumbnail image

The Machinaka Sightseeing Bus is a convenient way to get around popular tourist spots in Aizuwakamatsu city, such as Tsuruga Castle, Aizu Samurai Residences, Iimoriyama, and Nanokamachi. The Machinaka Sightseeing Bus 1-Day Free Pass is a great deal and allows you to ride the bus as many times as you...

Michinori Holdings Co., Ltd.

More details about this ticket here!

Recommended tourist spot 1: Tsuruga Castle

Renowned as an impregnable castle, Tsuruga Castle survived the fierce attacks of the new government forces during the Boshin War. It was rebuilt in September 1965, and in the spring of 2011, it became the only castle tower in Japan still clad in red roof tiles from the end of the Edo period.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

Tsuruga Castle will be renovated in the spring of 2023. It has been reborn as a cultural tourism guide "castle" where you can experience the "stories" hidden in history using digital technology and enjoy it with all five senses. You can experience VR, where historical buildings are brought to life, and experience the stories hidden in history as if you have transcended time.

Access: 5 minutes walk from the bus stop "Tsurugajo Iriguchi"

The Machinaka Free Pass benefits include a 10% discount on admission to Tsuruga Castle Keep and Teahouse Rinkaku (combined admission ticket)! (Note: The discount only applies to combined admission tickets. Please note that it does not apply to admission to Tsuruga Castle only.)

Recommended tourist spot ② Mt. Iimori

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

There are long stone steps to visit the graves of the Byakkotai on Mt. Iimori. You can easily climb up the steps using the "moving slope/slope conveyor." Please feel free to use it.

Access: 2 minutes walk from the bus stop "Iimoriyamashita"

Get a special 1-day free pass for the city tour bus!

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

When entering the tourist attractions listed below, please present your "Free Pass" at the ticket counter and you will be admitted at a discounted rate.

Byakkotai Memorial Museum

Imoriyama Slope Conveyor

Byakkotai Folklore Museum

Tsuruga Castle Tower and Rinkaku Teahouse (combined admission ticket)

Imperial Medicinal Garden

Prefectural Museum (permanent exhibition only)

Aizu Samurai Residences

Nepal Museum

Station Bus Terminal Café & Shop (20% off drinks and soft serve ice cream)

*Ochoko Pass holders can also receive the same benefits.

Easy to use with your smartphone! Digital ticket

"RYDE PASS" is a smartphone app that allows you to purchase and use digital tickets.

(Payment can be made by credit card within "RYDE PASS.")

Purchase the ticket you want to purchase using the RYDE PASS app.

When boarding or disembarking*, show the ticket screen to the driver.

* Presentation conditions vary depending on the ticket, so please check the ticket details.

aizuwakamatsu tourist spot

If you have already visited Japan several times and have visited all of Japan's major tourist spots such as Tokyo and Kyoto, the next place you should visit is the ``regional areas'' such as the Tohoku region. At Find Your Local Tours, we have a wide selection of short-term tours for locals in Japan, where you can enjoy a variety of local experiences and the beautiful scenery of each season. Our tour area is full of historical sites and scenic spots, where you can enjoy delicious gourmet food, and you'll be sure to experience a lot of deep charm that is unique to the local area. If you want to enjoy Japan more deeply, we will help you find travel plans and book your trip. The tours listed on Find Your Local Tours are not tours created for foreigners, but are popular tours in the area that many Japanese people also participate in. By participating in these tours with Japanese people, you can feel more about Japanese culture and charm. When it comes to enjoying delicious food in Japan, many people may imagine bustling cities and markets such as Tsukiji, Toyosu, Ginza, and Osaka. However, true gourmets visit the "production area". The areas we introduce, such as Tohoku, are "producing areas" where fresh and delicious ingredients can be obtained. Ingredients harvested in these production areas are collected at Toyosu Market and transported to restaurants in Ginza and other areas. In other words, if you travel to the ``production area'', you can taste extremely fresh and delicious food. Furthermore, our website offers a wide selection of tours to ``production areas'' where you can harvest sake with your own hands, learn about the sake brewing process, and have an impressive gourmet experience. Also, if you take a bus tour, you can enjoy alcohol with peace of mind. At Find Your Local Tours, we have many tours that allow you to enjoy Japan's spectacular scenery and hot springs, which you should see and experience at least once in your lifetime. Visiting such deep tourist spots in the region can be difficult to navigate on your own, as transportation access is difficult to understand. However, with our tours, you can visit a variety of spots more efficiently than you could on a solo trip, together with a local Japanese person. The ocean, mountains, snow, cherry blossoms, deep greenery, autumn leaves...you're sure to find your favorite local scenery. Now, let's go find your favorite local tour in Japan.

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IMAGES

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  2. Guide to Aizuwakamatsu, the Samurai City of Japan

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  3. Aizuwakamatsu: Modern City, Samurai Spirit

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  4. Aizu-Wakamatsu

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COMMENTS

  1. Aizu Travel Guide

    Kutsurogijuku Chiyotaki. Mid-range. Boasting hot spring baths with mountain views, Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki is a 15-minute bus ride from JR Aizuwakamatsu Station. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and unwind in a private hot spring bath with views that was open in July 2017. Free WiFi is available in all rooms.

  2. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu

    These rankings are informed by traveler reviews—we consider the quality, quantity, recency, consistency of reviews, and the number of page views over time. 1. Tsuruga jo Castle. 977. Castles. By tsukikenn. like many re-built castles, Tsuruga-jo is a historical museum in a town with a rich samurai history.

  3. 22 Things to Do in the Aizu-Wakamatsu Area

    Between the breathtaking scenery, the dramatic history, and the great food, you should add a trip to Aizu-Wakamatsu to your itinerary. 1. See the Munakata climbing kiln. Photo by Hikaru Kamo. A climbing kiln is a kiln that takes the slope of the mountain its built on so the heat rides through the chambers like stairs.

  4. Aizu-Wakamatsu Travel Guide: Things to do in Aizu ...

    Apr 1st - May 7th. One of the best times to visit Tsuruga Castle is during spring when the sakura trees are in bloom, and an annual festival takes.. Free Entry. View all events. Aizu-Wakamatsu is the capital of the Aizu region on the southern part of the Aizu basin, and came to be central to the region with the construction of Tsurugajo Castle ...

  5. Samurai Culture in Aizu Wakamatsu: 7 Must-Visit Places and Travel Tips

    Known as the "samurai city," Aizu Wakamatsu flourished as a castle town in Fukushima Prefecture. We introduce local attractions that let visitors experience true samurai history and culture, local food and lodging recommendations, as well as beautiful places to explore during a leisurely walk.

  6. Aizu-Wakamatsu

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

  7. A Day in Aizuwakamatsu: Exploring Castles, Temples, and Gardens

    Oyakuen Botanical Gardens in Aizuwakamatsu is a picturesque Japanese garden in the heart of the city and a short distance from Tsuruga Castle. Oyakuen Botanical Gardens was first built in 1670 as a garden and tea house for the Lord of the Aizu Domain. Oyakuen Garden is known as the "Medicinal Garden" because the lord of the Aizu Domain grew ...

  8. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu

    1. Aizu Bukeyaskiki. The large villa of the Aizu's clan's chief retainer Saigo Tanoma, has been faithfully restored following its destruction during the Boshin war and uses models to show what daily life was like for a samurai family. It was ¥750 to enter and the ticket came with a very informative English pamphlet on the residence and its ...

  9. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu

    Aizu Wakamatsu is a Shinkansen stops where its railway station is well equipped with essential amenities for travelers. 1) Tourist Info Counter with English speaking staff. Lots of travel info and maps available. ... and stopping near all major tourist attractions (39 stops). It left in each direction every 30 minutes from the station, enabling ...

  10. Explore Aizu Wakamatsu

    And if you want to visit another ancient post town, check out the amazing Narai Juku in Nagano prefecture! Address: Yamamoto-8 Ouchi, Shimogo, Minamiaizu District, Fukushima 969-5207, Japan. Access: From Aizu Wakamatsu, take the train to Yunokami Onsen. It will take 35-minutes and cost 1,030 yen.

  11. The Best 9 Things to Do in Aizu Wakamatsu

    4. Explore Aizu Bukeyashiki - aka Samurai Residence. 5. Walk up Limori Hill and Pay Respects to Aizu's last Samurai. 6. Visit the Sazaedo Temple in Aizu Wakamatsu. Other places to visit on Limori Hill. 7. Take a Sake Brewery Tour (and taste) at Suehiro Sake Brewery.

  12. THE 10 BEST Tourist Spots in Aizuwakamatsu 2024: Things ...

    Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan: See Tripadvisor's 8,081 reviews & photos of 200 Aizuwakamatsu attractions.

  13. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Aizuwakamatsu

    It also appears this was the invention of the Christian lord UjimasaGamou according to the City of Aizu-wakamatsu.... 10. Fukushima Museum. 26. Children's Museums ... Aizuwakamatsu Hotels Aizuwakamatsu Bed and Breakfast Flights to Aizuwakamatsu Aizuwakamatsu Restaurants Aizuwakamatsu Attractions Aizuwakamatsu Travel Forum Aizuwakamatsu Photo ...

  14. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Aizuwakamatsu (UPDATED 2024)

    It also appears this was the invention of the Christian lord UjimasaGamou according to the City of Aizu-wakamatsu.... 9. Fukushima Museum. 26. Children's Museums ... Tourism Aizuwakamatsu Hotels Aizuwakamatsu Guest House Aizuwakamatsu Flights Aizuwakamatsu Restaurants Aizuwakamatsu Attractions Aizuwakamatsu Travel Forum Aizuwakamatsu Photos ...

  15. Two Days in Aizu Wakamatsu: Castles, Temples, and Dazzling Hot ...

    Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture is a dynamic labyrinth of boutique shops, sake breweries, ancient temples, sprawling castles, and gourmet delights perfect for an overnight adventure from Tokyo. ... MATCHA is a media platform that introduces travel information for international visitors to Japan. Our articles feature not only places to ...

  16. Exploring Aizu's Samurai Spirit

    Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp ... Start your journey in Aizu Wakamatsu, where samurai warriors once lived and their rich tradition still continues. ... of Tsuruga Castle, where one of the fiercest samurai battles was fought Visiting a top samurai's quarters and the spot where 19 warriors lost ...

  17. Aizuwakamatsu Travel Guide and Two/Three Day Itinerary

    Aizuwakamatsu is a castle city in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, a few hours north of Tokyo. Easily reached by train, the city is surrounded by green countryside and sloping mountains. This small but fascinating city has so much to offer - especially in terms of culture and history. Drawing on a rich heritage as Japan's "Samurai City ...

  18. Aizuwakamatsu Overview

    Aizu is easily accessible via JR Tohoku Shinkansen with a quick transfer at Koriyama Station to the JR Banetsu-Sai Line to Aizuwakamatsu Station. The one-way trip is 9,000 yen (covered by the JR Pass) and takes about three hours. The city itself is easily explored by bicycle or a tourist loop bus that circle all the main attractions.

  19. Aizuwakamatsu

    Aizu Wakamatsu Castle. Aizuwakamatsu (会津若松) is the main city in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture, in the north of Honshū island, the largest of Japan.With a population of 120,000, Aizuwakamatsu has a rich warrior history, stretching back 1,000 years. Although the city is most known for the Byakkotai, a force of about 300 young samurai (13-17 year olds) in the Boshin Civil War.

  20. Aizuwakamatsu

    Aizuwakamatsu Castle. Aizuwakamatsu Castle is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in spring! Tsuruga Castle (also called Aizuwakamatsu Castle) is Aizuwakamatsu's symbol and city center. Once the seat of the powerful Aizu Domain, it was the site of the Battle of Aizu and one of the last conflicts of the Boshin War. The engagement saw t.

  21. Guide to Aizuwakamatsu, the Samurai City of Japan

    Getting to Aizuwakamatsu with the Japan Rail Pass. Despite being quite a distance from the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, you won't find it hard to reach Aizuwakamatsu with the Japan Rail Pass. Travelling from Tokyo, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Koriyama, where you then change to the Ban-Etsusai Line for Aizuwakamatsu.

  22. Enjoy sightseeing in Aizuwakamatsu city to the fullest with a ...

    The Machinaka Sightseeing Bus is a convenient way to get around popular tourist spots in Aizuwakamatsu city, such as Tsuruga Castle, Aizu Samurai Residences, Iimoriyama, and Nanokamachi. The Machinaka Sightseeing Bus 1-Day Free Pass is a great deal and allows you to ride the bus as many times as you like for just 600 yen per day (junior high school students and above) and 300 yen per day for ...