What to Do in Aizuwakamatsu


2018.03.08

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Filled with history, culture, fascinating local legends and great food, there’s plenty to see and explore here in the castle town of Aizuwakamatsu. With so many attractions, the hardest part of visiting is deciding where to go first. From stunning parks to popular snack stores here’s a handful of suggestions to add to your Aizuwakamatsu itinerary.

  • 01

    Visit Tsuruga Castle

    Visit Tsuruga Castle

    Visit Tsuruga Castle

    The current version of the Tsuruga Castle you see today is actually a concrete reconstruction, which was built in the 1960s, however it’s still a fascinating place to explore. Originally built in 1384, the castle has gone through quite a history; one you can learn more about inside the castle’s on-site museum.

    When you do get to the castle don’t miss the chance to climb to the top floor of the castle keep, from there you’re privy to a pretty incredible view of the surrounding city. Once you’ve explored inside, be sure to wander around the surrounding Tsuruga Castle Park. Home to a collection of cherry trees, this site is exceptionally stunning during spring when the grounds are carpeted in soft pink cherry blossoms.

  • 02

    Take a Stroll Around Oyakuen Gardens

    Take a Stroll Around Oyakuen Gardens

    Take a Stroll Around Oyakuen Gardens

    This Japanese landscape garden is the perfect tranquil hideaway. Its name ‘Oyakuen’ translates to ‘herb garden,’ which was the site’s main purpose back in the 18th Century. During this time, the feudal lord encouraged local citizens to grow their own medicinal plants. You can find many of the plants and their ancestors still thriving today. The park is also home to a beautiful pond, teahouse and souvenir store.

  • 03

    Step Back into Showa Era at Natsukashi Antiques

    Step Back into Showa Era at Natsukashi Antiques

    Step Back into Showa Era at Natsukashi Antiques

    For something a little more unique; don’t miss the chance to visit Natsukashi Antiques, an antique store that’s been seemingly frozen in time. Facing out onto the popular thoroughfare of Nanuka-machi Street, the second floor of this store is home to an exhibition room filled with quirky artifacts from the Showa Era. Also on display is a living room displaying what a typical family home looked like during the Showa times. If you’re a collector or a bit of a history buff, you can’t miss this.

  • 04

    Learn about the city’s history at Byakkotai Memorial Hall

    Learn about the city’s history at Byakkotai Memorial Hall

    Learn about the city’s history at Byakkotai Memorial Hall

    This striking white building is the Byakkotai Memorial Hall. Here eclectic artifacts including mementos, drawings, photographs retell the devastating story of the young Byakkotai Troops (White Tiger Corps) who, in 1868 after thinking they saw their castle burn down committed seppuku, a Japanese ritual suicide. Though it turns out the castle had not burned down, the soldiers’ dedication and unwavering loyalty has become something of a local legend. Here you can learn more about their story before climbing the nearby mountain to discover the 19 tombs left for the Byakkotai soldiers.

  • 05

    Explore the Samurai Houses

    Explore the Samurai Houses

    Explore the Samurai Houses

    During the Edo period Aizuwakamatsu flourished as one of the country’s main samurai strongholds, and you can learn all about it here at Aizu Bukeyashiki. This Samurai Residence which was once a residential complex of a top-ranking Aizu retainer known as Tanomo Saigo. Here you’ll find a museum, teahouse, and rice mill, however the main point of importance is the 38 room Japanese house, which is home to a number of displays demonstrating the typical life of samurai families. Once you’re done you can grab some gifts and a bite to eat at the nearby main building.

  • 06

    Eat Miso Flavoured Skewers at Mitsutaya

    Eat Miso Flavoured Skewers at Mitsutaya

    Eat Miso Flavoured Skewers at Mitsutaya

    To try one of the city’s most popular local sweets you can’t go past Mitsutaya a little souvenir and food store located in a miso storehouse and factory which dates all the way back to 1834. The store’s specialty is dengaku – skewers of mochi (rice cake), bean curd or vegetables that are cooked over hot charcoal and coated in sweet and salty miso paste. There are a number of options to choose from, so if the decision seems to difficult, just go straight for the tasting course which features a variety of six dengaku.

  • 07

    Buy Aizuwakamatsu's Lacquerware at Shirakiya Store

    Buy Aizuwakamatsu's Lacquerware at Shirakiya Store

    Buy Aizuwakamatsu's Lacquerware at Shirakiya Store

    To pick up a unique gift or souvenir before you leave the city, head straight to Shirakiya for some authentic, locally crafted lacquerware. Now located inside a western-styled storehouse, this store’s history goes back centuries. There are items for sale and display spread across three floors so you’re bound to find something special.

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