Area information

Minami Aizu-machi

On March 20th, 2006, Tajima-machi, Tateiwa-mura, Ina-mura, and Nango-mura merged to form Minami Aizu-machi. During the Kamakura-period, the Naganuma clan built their castle, Shigiyama-jo (Shigiyama Castle) in Tajima-machi. In Edo period, Tajima-machi also functioned as the center of Minami Aizu as one of the post towns along the Aizu Nishi Kaido (Aizu Western Highway). Still today, medical institutions and national/prefectural administrative organizations are located in Tajima-machi, and the area remains the center of Minami Aizu-machi.

  • ①Maezawa magariya shuraku (Maezawa magariya community)

    The Maezawa magariya shuraku is said to have begun when Kokatsu nyudo takusai (monk Takusai), a liege of Yamanouchi Ujikatsu who ruled the Tadamigawa basin during the Bunroku years (1592-1595), moved into the area after his lord, Ujikatsu died. Among the locals, the area is known as “the community founded by the Aizu warriors during the medieval times.” The community is said to have originally been located near Tateiwa-kawa (Tateiwa River). It then became known as “Maezawa (in front of the river)” because the river ran in front of the community and afterwards relocated to its present location. The entire community was destroyed due to severe fire in 1907, and later was restored by a single school of carpenters. This gave the community a unified appearance, and in June of 2011, the area was nationally designated as an important preservation district of historic buildings, in order to protect this unified scenery.

  • ②Byobu iwa (Folding screen rock)

    Oddly shaped rocks stand tall as if to reach at the sky. The bare white rock surface is especially majestic and beautiful in contrast with the colored leaves of autumn. It also makes an enjoyable strolling route, with a promenade running through the area.

  • ③Azuki onsen (Azuki hotsprings)

    A rustic hot spring where time passes slowly and nostalgic Japanese atmosphere seeps into the soul. The thoroughly Japanese styled inn has a sunken hearth room and open-air bath (can be reserved for private use), and is a perfect quiet retreat for grown-ups. Soaking in the bath surrounded by the deep green forests, guests should feel a profound sense of relief. Nature is beautiful any time of the year, and the area is a fun place to visit. The scenery leaves a deep impression in the minds of the visitors throughout the four seasons. Please come visit, not only once, but many times.

  • ④Furumachi o-icho (The giant gingko tree of Furumachi)

    Over 800 years old, 35m high, and 11m in diameter, the tree is the one of the oldest in the prefecture. It was worshipped with great respect by the locals as the god of milk, and visitors visited from as far as Joshu (present day Gunma prefecture) and Echigo (present day Niigata prefecture). Today residents of the area still gather around the tree as a place of relief, and the tree was designated as the prefectural natural monument, and was selected as one of the hundred green sceneries of Fukushima.

  • ⑤Michi no eki Kirara 289 (Roadside station Kirara 289)

    A roadside station with a hot spring facility, located along the national highway route 289. The hot spring is complete with an open-air bath, sauna, and a lounge. Local delicacies such as the famous hand-made soba noodles, Nango tomato ramen, and soft-serve ice cream are served in the restaurant, and the souvenir shop offers a wide variety of local produce including products using the Nango tomato, and the local rice wine.

Shimogo-machi

Shimogo-machi is located in the southern part of Aizu Area, Fukushima Prefecture. It shares the border with Tenei and Nishigo-mura in the east, with Showa-mura and Minamiaizu-machi in the west, with Nasushiobara-shi in Tochigi Prefecture in the south and with Aizuwakamatsu-shi and Aizumisato-shi in the north. It is surrounded with the mountains such as the Nasu mountain range and Aga River (Ohkawa River) penetrates the center of the town from the south-east to the north east, which forms magnificent valleys represented by “To-no-Hetsuri” (designated as a state's natural monument). About 87% of the town area is covered with forest. As for the climate, it is hot and humid but cool at night in the summer and the town belongs to the snowy and cold district in the winter under the influence of the Japan Sea side.

  • ①“To-no-Hetsuri”

    A scenic spot where extend strange-shaped rocks formed through the erosion and decomposition over the million years. It is designated as a state's natural monument and one of the most famous scenic spots in Shimogo-machi. You will enjoy the formative art of nature strolling along the towering rock cliffs.

  • ②Ouchijuku

    This is an invaluable village which retains the atmosphere of an old post town of Edo period. The route, called “Aizu-Nishi-Kaido” or “Minamiyama-Dori,” used to be an important road connecting Aizuwakamatsu and Nikko-Imaichi.

  • ③Ouchi Dam

    It is a multi-purpose dam and the upper reservoir of Electric Power Development Shimogo-machi Power Station. It generates one million kw at most combined with Ohkawa Dam, the lower reservoir. Around the dam passes a prefecture road of Ouchi-Aizutakada line (closed in winter) and the area livens up with photographers and those who enjoy walking during the tourist season.

  • ④Kannon-numa

    It is said that the lava from the eruption of Mount Kashi-Asahi about 17,000 years ago had been eroded for a long time and it was formed. The quiet pond has a few floating island and a mystical atmosphere. The perimeter of the pond is about 1.2km and you can enjoy the beautiful nature walking along the path built around the pond according to the time you have.

  • ⑤Hidama-toge

    Hidama-toge (pass) was once an important point in Nishi-Kaido of Aizu-Edo traffic connecting Ouchijuku, Shimogo-machi and Hongo Area, Aizumisato-machi.
    The pass is also called “Kobushi (magnolia) line” and you can enjoy magnolia in spring, changing of leaves in fall.

  • ⑥Unokami Onsen

    Yunokami Onsen has 7 hot spring sources and boasts exceptional 3,000L per minute of water amount. The spring quality is mildly alkaline simple spring, effective for neuralgia, muscle pain, arthralgia and chronic digestive diseases. As negative ion concentration is high, you will be warmed up from inside.

Aizu Wakamatsu City

On March 20th, 2006, Tajima-machi, Tateiwa-mura, Ina-mura, and Nango-mura merged to form Minami Aizu-machi. During the Kamakura-period, the Naganuma clan built their castle, Shigiyama-jo (Shigiyama Castle) in Tajima-machi. In Edo period, Tajima-machi also functioned as the center of Minami Aizu as one of the post towns along the Aizu Nishi Kaido (Aizu Western Highway). Still today, medical institutions and national/prefectural administrative organizations are located in Tajima-machi, and the area remains the center of Minami Aizu-machi.

  • ①Tsuru ga jo

    The castle is said to have been first established approximately 630 years ago when Ashina Naomori built the Higashi Kurokawa yakata, which later becomes Tsuru ga jo. During the Boshin War, the castle resisted the fierce battle that lasted a month and became known throughout Japan. The castle was demolished in 1874, but was restored in 1965. In 2001, architectures such as Hoshii yagura and Minami hashiri yagura secondary to the Tenshukaku (the tower) were restored using construction techniques from Edo period. The Tenshukaku now houses a museum where visitors can learn about the history of Aizu.

    In 2011, the roof tiles were all switched with the red tiles resembling the ones used at the end of the Edo era, making the Tenshukaku the only existing one of its kind with red roof tiles.

  • ②The rice wine breweries of Aizu (example: Suehiro shuzo)

    The brewery was established in 1850 towards the end of the Edo era. During the Meiji period, the brewery was the first in Fukushima to realize rice wine brewing by mori shi (master brewer). During the Taisho era, the founder of the yamahai-zukuri method, Kagi Kin-ichiro attempted a trial brewing of yamahai-zukuri, and the method is passed on still today.

    The brewery uses rice (partially organic) harvested by the local contract farmers, and brews rice wine paying extra attention to rice, water, people, and Aizu.

  • ③Aizu lacquerware (example: Shirakiya shikki ten)

    The shop sells originally designed goods including contemporary style jewelries and classical lacquerware in a western style building built in the Dozo zukuri style (style of kura, or the traditional Japanese warehouse). The workshop was found approximately 300 years ago during the Keian years (1648-1651), and has continued to manufacture and sell lacquerware at the same spot since the Kyoho years (1716-1735). After the Boshin Wars, Shirakiya committed itself to reviving the lacquerware industry in the devastated Aizu. It is a long-established shop that has received awards not only domestically but also abroad. The Dozo zukuri 3 floors building that incorporates the Renaissance style sells over 1000 kinds of lacquerware everyday. Even if not to shop, the building is definitely worth visiting.

  • ④The dwellings of the prosperous merchants of Aizu (example: Shibukawa donya)

    The complex preserves buildings such as the warehouse built during the Meiji period and the wooden living quarters built during the Taisho period, all in its original layout and maintaining the atmosphere of the wealthy Aizu merchant house. Visitors can stay and dine at the complex. The dishes served in the dynamic historical architecture are especially memorable.

  • ⑤Iimori yama

    A small mountain 2 km east of downtown Aizu Wakamatsu with a view of the castle town, with a keyhole shaped tumulus on the summit build around 1650 to 1700 years ago. The hill also houses a shrine that was used by Kakure kirishitan (underground Christians) and the common burial grounds for the local Takizawa village residents. It is also a sacred mountain with legends of the ancient Shido shogun (the legendary four imperial generals), Buddhist goddess Benzaiten, and the legendary ancient prince Yamato takeru no mikoto, continuously overlooking the Aizu Basin for over 1600 years. Many legendary and historical sites remain on the mountain such as the graves of the 19 members of Byakkotai and the 31 members of the same unit that died in different parts of Aizu, memorial tablets dedicated by Italy and Germany, Sazae do, the shrine venerating the Uga shin, Itsukushima jinja (the Itsukushima shrine), the cave entrance in the escape route of Byakkotai, and the Tayu zakura (the Tayu cherry blossom tree), which was designated by the prefecture as a natural monument by the city. At the foot of the hill are sites such as the Kyu takizawa honjin (the former Takizawa troop headquarters), which was the troop headquarters for the Aizu feudal domain and where the feudal lord Matsudaira Katamori ordered departure of Byakkotai to Tonokuchihara, and Ishibe zakura (the Ishibe cherry blossom tree), which was designated as a natural monument by the prefecture and was featured in the opening of the period TV drama series “Yae no sakura” aired in 2013 by NHK.

  • ⑥Okawa kitagata cycling road

    The Okawa kitagata cycling road (prefectural road: Aizu Wakamatsu Atsushio onsen cycling road) is the 49km cycling road that runs along the Okawa that flows from the south to north of Fukushima prefecture’s Aizu region, between Aizu Wakamatsu city and Kitakata city, passing through Yukawa village. The 20km within Aizu Wakamatsu city and the 14km within Kitakata city are currently open for travelling. The surrounding areas are nationally well known tourist destinations with many sightseeing and historical spots, including riverside parks.

  • ⑦Ashinomaki onsen (Ashinomaki hot springs)

    A hot spring district located to the south of Aizu Wakamatsu city enjoyed by many since the olden days as the gateway to Aizu, where visitors can fully enjoy nature surrounded by the mountains and the trees. The area can be reached within 25 minutes by car and thus is conveniently accessible even after sightseeing within Aizu Wakamatsu city. Visitors can heal their travel wary bodies to their content. The hot springs are said to have been established a thousand and hundreds or years ago, and is known as the “legendary hot springs.”

  • ⑧Higashiyama onsen (Higashiyama hot springs)

    A historical hot spring said to be discovered around 1300 years ago by the venerated monk Gyoki, and is counted among the Oshu san raku gou. A hot spring with this much scale, history, and rich beautiful nature within merely 10 minutes reach by car from the Aizu Wakamatsu city with its 190 thousand population cannot be found elsewhere. This hot spring town was the favorite among intellectuals and litterateurs such as Takehisa Yumeji and Yosano Akiko. With the smooth simple spring water quality, the spot is one of the best hot spring areas in the Northeastern region of Japan where visitors can heal themselves while fully enjoying the seasonal beauty of nature.