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What to Do in Kitakata

You’ve arrived in Kitakata ready to explore sake breweries and lacquerware. Famous for the thousands of kura or warehouses that pepper the city, you’ll find all the goods that require their protective storage: miso, sake, soy sauce. One thing you’ll definitely notice is the love for ramen in this town. But enough of the introductions, let’s start our journey.

What to Do in Kitakata

Index

  • Yamatogawa Brewery

  • Street Performances

  • Miso

  • Mitsuya Red Brick Kura

  • Lacquerware

  • Cat Figurine Gallery at Kinomoto

  • Ramen Museum

  • Kura-no-sato Kitakata

  • Yamatogawa Brewery

    If you visit Kitakata, you must drop by Yamato Sake. This is one of the top sake breweries in Kitakata and Fukushima. Their sake tour allows you to experience the wonder and joy of sake tasting. You’ll find yourself amazed at how deep the world of sake goes. With each beverage massaging your palette with a different and special aroma and texture, you’ll return home a changed person having truly tasted sake for the first time.

    On the tour, you’ll also find that the buildings where the sake was first made are expertly preserved and maintain that old aura of tradition and history embedded in its walls. During the tour you will have the opportunity to see how sake was brewed with machines decades ago.

  • Street Performances

    Street Performances

    Street Performances

    If you are in Kitakata in March, you can witness the Aizu Higan-jishi or Three Lion Dance. Based on legend, the dance originated about 300 years ago when a plague spread throughout the Aizu district. People in the area dedicated the lions the dancers now dress as (shishimai) to the main Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to plead to the gods for the recovery of the district.

    Dancers and acrobats don lion costumes and perform in various venues around the city. This is a celebration of welfare for the household, the productivity of the grain, and to honor a family’s ancestors. The performance is also accompanied by the playing of a small wooden hourglass-shaped drum called a taiko.

  • Miso

    Miso

    Miso

    One of the staples of Japanese cuisine, miso soup has a special place in the heart of Japan. In Kitakata you can buy the yummy red and white paste from Wakaki Shop, a place with over 100 years of history. Their miso is unusual due to the reduced amount of preservatives used (only ethyl alcohol is used to maintain the quality).

    You can also buy their signature soy sauce here. It has a sweet and soft taste that doesn’t overpower the taste of your food. On the other hand, their premium bottles, which do not contain any preservatives, are matured for two years for the ultimate strength.

    With Mitsuya Red Brick Kura located directly behind this shop, you can crush two daizu beans out with one mallet. Grab your washoku food stuffs and head next door for a history lesson of Kitakata. In fact, let’s head there next.

  • Mitsuya Red Brick Kura

    Mitsuya Red Brick Kura

    Mitsuya Red Brick Kura

    Here we are at the Red Brick Kura to learn about Kitakata’s long history and the family that operates this building. The Red Brick Kura has a kiln that makes red bricks for many of the locations in Kitakata.

    This kiln brings people from all over because it is the only 10-level kiln still in use in Japan today. This allows plenty of bricks to be made at the same time. The owner is said to have traveled to the UK to learn the art of brick-firing to ensure he could create buildings that could weather the cold winter of Kitakata. They also have a gallery where you can view some of the products used in the kiln, as well as purchase some crafts inspired by the bricks.

  • Lacquerware

    Lacquerware

    Lacquerware

    To return home with something that lasts, you can’t go wrong with Fukushima’s famous lacquerware. We stopped by Kinomoto Shop to check out their heat-proof and chemical-resistant goods that lacquer is so well known for. This shop is just one of the locations that ensure this 16th century art is passed on through the generations in its hometown of Fukushima. Especially considering it is certified as a Traditional Craftwork of Japan in the prefecture.

  • Cat Figurine Gallery at Kinomoto

    Cat Figurine Gallery at Kinomoto

    Cat Figurine Gallery at Kinomoto

    On the second floor of the Kinomoto Shop, there’s a cat figurine museum. You’ll find handmade cat figurines in various scenes often seen in Japanese traditions, such as festivals or praying at a shrine. These lovely cats are fashioned by hand from clay made from ramen noodle flour. After kneading the dough and forming the shape by hand, they are dried and colored.

  • Ramen Museum

    Ramen Museum

    Ramen Museum

    Kitakata prides itself on ramen. So much that they memorialized their thick and wavy noodles in a museum. Inside you can find information on the history of ramen in Kitakata and about the shop itself. Even down to the various sizes and types of ramen. There’s even a shrine where you can pay homage to the gods.

  • Kura-no-sato Kitakata

    Kura-no-sato Kitakata

    Kura-no-sato Kitakata

    This museum of various kura or warehouses aims to continue the tradition for future generations in Kitakata. Although there is an entry cost, you can organize a free tour throughout the kura to get a deeper perspective on this city’s tradition since the Edo era. Just make sure you apply on their website a few days ahead of when you plan to visit.

    There’s an old saying in Kitakata that says “a man becomes a man when he builds a kura.” With 4,200 different kura in the city, you can begin to see the energy people put into these warehouses. From miso to grains, you’ll find an assortment of kura that allow you a peek into the lifestyles of the people in Kitakata.

    Lacquerware, kura, and ramen gods prove that Kitakata is all about preservation for the future. To last and leave a legacy is embroidered into the crafts and art most important to the locals. We recommend you drop by this city to see what it takes to last throughout many generations.

    Kitakata
    Address
    Fukushima Pref. Kitakatashi (None)
    Phone
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    Wakakisho
    Address
    Fukushima Pref. Kitakatashi 3-4786
    Phone
    0241220010
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    Kinomotoshikki
    rating 2 Reviews
    Address
    Fukushima Pref. Kitakatashi Tenmanmae 8859
    Phone
    0241231611
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    喜多方ラーメンミュージアム・喜多方ラーメン神社
    Address
    福島県喜多方市2丁目4662
    Phone
    0241-24-3131
  • Kitakata Kura no Sato
    rating 36 Reviews
    Address
    Fukushima Pref. Kitakatashi Oshikiri 2-109
    Phone
    0241226592
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