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The Aizu region has played an important role in many historical events in Japan. The central city of the Aizu region is Aizu Wakamatsu. There are many historical sites, Aizu lacquer workshops and local breweries here. These attractions and the beautiful landscape that changes with each season make Aizu Wakamatsu a destination you will want to visit many times.
Turugajo Castle (Wakamatsu Castle) is located in Aizu Wakamatsu City. It was built in the latter half of the 16th century by Gamo Ujisato who is well-known for promoting the development of Aizu lacquerware. The castle withstood fierce attacks from the Western Army in the Boshin War. Now, the area is surrounded by beautiful foliage and maintains a calm atmosphere. The castle is famous for its stone walls and unique tower that uses red roof tiles. From the observation deck you can get a great view of central Aizu
Wakamatsu City as well as Mt. Bandai and Mt. Iimori.
You can see how medieval samurai lived at the Aizu Buke Yashiki (Aizu samurai house), located east of Tsurugajo Castle. It is an open-air museum centered around the former residence of Saigo Tanomo, a chief retainer of Aizu domain at the end of the Edo period. In addition to the large residence, there is a tea-ceremony house, a rice mill, and a history museum on the premises to let you experience medieval Japan.
The appeal of Aizu isn’t just its castle town. Aizu is also rich in nature. The grand scenery created by Lake Inawashiro and Mt. Bandai, which changes colors according to the time of day, is magnificent.
Mt. Bandai is an active volcano that consists of Omote-Bandai which is has a smooth slope and is also called Aizu Fuji, and Ura-Bandai which has a rough surface created by volcanic activity. You can enjoy taking a tour of these different landscapes.
Ouchijuku, a post station of the Edo period, is located in the mountains south of central Aizu Wakamatsu. The town prospered by serving travelers along Aizu Nishi Kaido road that connects Aizu and Nikko. It is known for its thatched roof buildings which are lined along the road. The area has been designated by the Japanese government as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, and continues to attract sightseers who want to get a taste of ancient Japan.
When visiting Aizu, you should try out a local traditional dish called Kozuyu. It is a soup made with dried scallop stock and seasoned with salt and soy sauce. It contains Satoimo potatoes, carrots, various mushrooms, konjac, and tiny balls of wheat gluten called Mamefu. It is always served on celebratory occasions in the region. The colors of the ingredients and beautiful Aizu lacquered bowl will surely stimulate your appetite.