Aizu-Wakamatsu is a castle town in Fukushima prefecture known for becoming the stage of many historical events in late Edo period. Blessed with rich nature like Lake Inawashiro and Mount Bandai, Aizu region is also known for accommodating many interesting sightseeing spots, drawing attentions from both local and foreign tourists. Aizu is a destination where you can enjoy the view of historical townscape and traditional local dishes, and today we introduce Aizu in details through this feature!
Truly astounding places to visit in Aizu
The first spot to recommend is the No. 1 Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint. Tadami River Bridge is the only arch railroad bridge on the Tadamigawa Line that goes over a river, a reason why it’s drawing attention from both local and foreign tourists. The views of the autumn leaves in fall, and the snow in winter you can see from this viewpoint are extremely breathtaking! Definitely worth a visit!
This picture was taken at the viewpoint near the Roadside Station Ozekaido Mishima-juku. The roadside station will release a new product called “Aizu Jidori no Jidori-bo”, a snack packed in a cute Tadami Line train box. You can use this package if you want to take a picture of this view with a train running across the bridge, just by holding this package at just the right height. What a fun way to make your trip memorable!
Tsuruga Castle; also known as Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle or Wakamatsu Castle, is the most famous castle in Fukushima. The castle is also famed as an impregnable fortress as it survived a month-long siege during Boshin War. It is also the only existing castle with red tiled roofs in Japan, which also looks very beautiful during its light up at night.
Oyakuen is a garden near Tsuruga Castle. It is a pleasant Japanese landscape garden with a big pond. Enjoy the historical vibes of this garden while sipping on your favorite Japanese herbal tea and sweets!
Ouchi-juku is a former post town of Aizu, and it has been restored to look as it did in the Edo period. Lined by more than 30 thatched roofs buildings housing a variety of shops, restaurants, and minshuku (small traditional Japanese inn), you can find various kinds of Aizu’s local specialties here in Ouchi-juku! Why don’t you try some of Edo’s specialties here?
3 best local foods to eat in Aizu
Wappa-meshi (Meppa-meshi) at “Ryoriryokan Tagoto”
When you’re here, you must not miss Wappa-meshi; famous local rice dish of Aizu Wakamatsu. The rice is steamed together with various toppings and soup stock in a wooden box. Unlike at other restaurants, at Ryoriryokan Tagoto; a long established restaurant and ryokan (Japanese inn), Wappa-meshi is called by its original name, Meppa-meshi. Served in a historical building of more than 100 years old, which is also close to Tsuruga Castle, their Meppa-meshi is topped with plenty seasonal local ingredients of Aizu.
3 kinds of soba set at “Iidegongen Soba Kiriya Gongentei”
Fukushima is known for accommodating many famous and delicious soba restaurants. Especially in Aizu, there are many soba restaurants serving unique kinds of soba, including the one made with Fukushima’s top-notch buckwheat flour, and the one made with local buckwheat varieties. “Iidegongen Soba Kiriya Gongentei” is a famous soba restaurant located in an impressive Japanese-style building. The most popular menu of this restaurant is the “3 kinds of soba set (Kodawarisoba Sanshu-mori Soba Zanmai)”.
Sauce Katsudon (pork loin cutlet) with sliced cabbage at “Nakajima”
Unlike ordinary Katsudon, where a deep-fried pork cutlet and eggs cooked in a sweet and salty broth and placed over rice, Aizu’s katsudon is a little uniqe as it’s served with sliced cabbage and a sauce. There are about 100 katsudon restaurants in Aizu Wakamatsu, and each of these restaurants serves different style of katsudon, so you’ll never get bored of this mouthwatering dish!
Join the pub crawl event and enjoy your favorite drinks and foods for 1000 yen only!
Held until March 2020, the pub crawl even allows guests staying in Aizu-Wakamatsu to enjoy their favorite drinks and foods for a decent price. Each participating izakaya bars and pubs offer special menu called “Horoyoi set” for 1000 yen only. There are about 40 spots you can choose to visit!
Make sure to get a stamp when you go to the participating bars or pub. After collecting 2 stamps or more, you can get “Akabeko strap”; a cute charm of Akabeko, a legendary cow from Aizu. Don’t miss this great deal and enjoy great drinks and foods for reasonable prices!
Cashless payment system is now available at many places in Aizu!
Aizu-Wakamatsu city is encouraging all stores and transportation facilities to use cashless payment system, which is very convenient for both, local and foreign tourist coming to this city. You can use the cashless payment system at some of Aizu’s most famous sightseeing spots including Tsuruga Castle, and at some bars and pubs participating in Pub Crawl event (some only accept payment by cash). Aizu is a pleasant place to live and travel around isn’t it?
Aizu is famous for its local treats and breathtaking views. Aizu is making a lot of effort in boosting its tourism industry, including encouraging local stores and transportation facilities to use the cashless payment system, creating a friendlier environment for the tourists. Since it has a lot of great historical and cultural places, Aizu is a destination for you if you want to learn about Japan in depth!