Geographic Coordinates: 37.494800, 139.930000
Temperature Range: -10.0°C to 30.0°C (14°F to 86°F)
Climate: Cold and snowy winters, mild springs, hot and humid summers, and cool autumns.
Aizuwakamatsu is a city located in the western part of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The city boasts a rich history and culture that dates back to the Edo period. It was once the capital of the Aizu Domain, Which was one of Japan’s most powerful feudal domains during that time. One of the most iconic landmarks in Aizuwakamatsu is Tsuruga Castle, Also known as Aizuwakamatsu Castle. This castle was built in 1384 and served as a symbol of power for the Aizu Domain during its reign.
Today, It stands as a historical monument and serves as a museum where visitors can learn about its history. Another must-see attraction in Aizuwakamatsu is Oyaku-en Garden, Which is considered one of Japan’s top three gardens. This garden features traditional Japanese landscaping techniques such as ponds, Bridges, And rock formations that create an atmosphere of tranquility and peace. For those interested in samurai culture, There are several sites to visit such as Iimoriyama Hill where you can see statues dedicated to samurai warriors who fought during the Boshin War (1868-1869).
There’s also Sazaedo Temple which has a unique double-helix staircase leading up to its observation deck offering panoramic views over the city. Food lovers will enjoy trying out local specialties such as Kitakata Ramen – thin noodles served with soy sauce-based broth topped with sliced pork and green onions or Akabeko – red cow-shaped wooden toys sold throughout Fukushima prefecture that have become synonymous with this region.
visitors should not miss out on experiencing some traditional Japanese festivals held throughout the year such as Nanokado Hadaka Mairi (Seven Roads Naked Pilgrimage) held every January where participants walk around town wearing only loincloths or Yosako Soran Festival held every August featuring dancers wearing traditional costumes and performing to the beat of drums. Overall, Aizuwakamatsu is a city that offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich history and culture. Its historical landmarks, Beautiful gardens, Samurai culture, Local cuisine, And traditional festivals make it an unforgettable destination for travelers seeking an authentic Japanese experience.
- Tsuruga Castle
- Oyakuen Garden
- Aizu Samurai Residences
- Sazaedo Pagoda
- Aizuwakamatsu Castle Ruins
- Nisshinkan School
- Aizu Bukeyashiki (Samurai Mansion)
- Mount Iimori
- Higashiyama Onsen Hot Springs
- Aizu Matsudaira’s Royal Garden
- Tourism: Aizuwakamatsu is a popular tourist destination due to its rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty.
- Agriculture: The city has a strong agricultural sector with rice cultivation being the primary crop.
- Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry in Aizuwakamatsu includes production of electrical equipment, machinery, and textiles.
- Healthcare: The city has several hospitals and medical facilities that serve the local population as well as tourists.
- Education: Aizuwakamatsu is home to several educational institutions including universities and vocational schools.
- Retail: There are numerous retail stores in the city selling a variety of products ranging from traditional crafts to modern electronics.
- Food processing: Aizuwakamatsu is known for its traditional food products such as sake (Japanese rice wine), pickles, and soy sauce which are processed locally before being sold nationwide or exported abroad.
- The Battle of Aizu, which took place during the Boshin War in 1868. The conflict lasted over a month and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.
- Byakkotai, a group of young samurai who fought for the Aizu Domain during the Boshin War. Many committed suicide after mistakenly believing their castle had fallen to enemy forces.
- Matsudaira Katamori, a daimyo who ruled over Aizu Domain during the late Edo period and played an important role in defending it during the Boshin War.
- Nisshinkan, a school established by Matsudaira Katamori to train samurai in military tactics, literature, and other subjects.
- Tsuruga Castle served as Matsudaira Katamori’s seat of power and is one of only twelve remaining original castles in Japan.
- Oyakuen Garden dates back to 1691 and is renowned for its cherry blossoms, tea houses, and medicinal herbs.
- Nakamura Nakazo II was an actor from Aizuwakamatsu famous for his roles in kabuki theater during Japan’s Meiji period.
- Shiba Gorō was an artist from Aizuwakamatsu known for his woodblock prints depicting life in rural Japan during the early 20th century.
- Akabeko Festival celebrates Akabeko -a red cow-shaped toy that brings good luck- with parades,dances,and cultural events.
- Aizuwakamatsu City Museum showcases artifacts related to local history,culture,such as samurai armor & weapons,tradtional crafts,& folklore.
- Tsuruga Castle is Aizuwakamatsu’s most famous landmark, a reconstructed castle from the Edo period.
- Aizu Bukeyashiki is a samurai residence that has been preserved as a museum showcasing the life of the samurai in feudal Japan.
- Oyakuen Garden is a beautiful traditional Japanese garden with over 400 years of history.
- Sazaedo Temple is a unique temple with a double helix staircase leading to its upper level.
- Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art is an art museum featuring works by local and national artists, including those from Fukushima.
- Nanokamachi-dori Street is a historic street lined with traditional shops and restaurants, perfect for exploring and shopping for souvenirs.
- Byakkotai Memorial Museum is dedicated to the tragic story of the young Byakkotai warriors who committed suicide during the Boshin War in 1868.
- Iimoriyama Hill was the site where the Byakkotai warriors committed suicide, now home to a memorial park and shrine.
- Mount Bandai offers hiking trails, skiing in winter, and stunning views year-round as it’s an active volcano located near Higashiyama Onsen Hot Springs Village which makes it popular among tourists looking for relaxation while taking in beautiful mountain views at this onsen village.
- Aizuwakamatsu does not have any professional sports teams, but the city has various amateur and local teams that participate in several sports such as:
- Some of the notable teams include:
- Aizu Olympus (soccer team)
- Aizuwakamatsu Rugby Football Club
- Aizuwakamatsu Baseball Club
- Aizuwakamatsu City Basketball Association
- Aizu Olympus is a local soccer team established in 1993 that plays in the Fukushima Prefectural League.
- The rugby club was founded in 1985 and participates in the Fukushima Rugby Football Union.
- The baseball club was established in 1946 and participates in the Fukushima Baseball League.
- The association also organizes basketball tournaments and leagues for both men and women.
- Sports play an essential role within the community of Aizuwakamatsu with many residents actively participating or supporting their local teams.
- Aizu Festival: This festival is held in September to celebrate the history and culture of Aizuwakamatsu. It features parades, traditional performances, and food stalls.
- Sazaedo Temple Autumn Leaves Festival: Celebrated in November, this festival showcases the beautiful autumn foliage around Sazaedo Temple with illuminations, music performances, and tea ceremonies.
- Tsurugajo Castle Sakura Matsuri: This cherry blossom festival is held in April when the cherry trees around Tsurugajo Castle are in full bloom. Visitors can enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing) picnics and traditional Japanese performances.
- Aizu Wine Festival: Held in October, this wine festival highlights local wineries from the Aizu region where visitors can taste different wines while enjoying live music performances.
- Oyakuen Garden Chrysanthemum Exhibition: From late October to early November, this exhibition features over 10,000 chrysanthemums arranged into beautiful displays throughout Oyakuen Garden.
- Nanokado Hadaka Mairi: On January 7th at Nanukamachi Shrine participants walk through town wearing only loincloths to purify themselves for the new year.
- Uesugi Matsuri: Celebrated in August to honor Uesugi Kenshin who was a famous samurai warrior from Aizuwakamatsu during feudal times with parades and reenactments of historical battles.
- Urabandai Snow Festival: Taking place every February at Urabandai Ski Resort visitors can enjoy snow sculptures, fireworks displays, snow sports competitions and hot springs baths surrounded by snowy landscapes!
- Aizu Soba – a type of buckwheat noodle dish that is a specialty of the region. Some recommended places to try it are Oyakata Soba and Kikuya.
- Kitakata Ramen – another popular noodle dish that originated from nearby Kitakata city. Some recommended places to try it are Ramenya and Ajidokoro Tsukasa.
- Nishiki Dango – a sweet dumpling made from rice flour and covered in soybean flour or sesame seeds. Some recommended places to try it are Nishikiya and Minamoto Kitchoan.
- Yakitori – grilled chicken skewers that can be found at many izakayas around town, such as Tori no Ichi or Hachiman-ya.
- Aizu Beef – a high-quality beef that is raised locally in the Aizu region. Some recommended places to try it are Yakiniku Tsuruya or Steakhouse Goto.
- Local sake – Aizuwakamatsu is known for its sake production, with several breweries located in the area such as Suehiro Shuzo and Nanbu Bijin Brewery where you can taste different varieties of sake along with small dishes known as otsumami.
- Tonkatsu- fried pork cutlet served with rice, miso soup, pickles, cabbage salad etc. You can find some good Tonkatsu restaurants like Tonkatsuya, Tonkatsumura etc.
- Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is a well-known hot spring resort that boasts magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.
- Tsuruga Castle is a historical castle from the Edo period, which provides stunning vistas of the city.
- Oyakuen Garden is an attractive Japanese-style garden that features various plants and flowers, including medicinal herbs.
- Mount Iimori has a hiking trail leading to a monument honoring 19 teenage samurai who passed away in battle during the Boshin War.
- Nanukamachi-dori Street is a charming street with traditional shops and restaurants selling local specialties like sake and sweets.
- Nisshinkan Samurai School is an interactive museum where visitors can learn about samurai culture and try on traditional armor.
- Lake Inawashiro, Fukushima Prefecture’s largest lake, offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming in summer months.
- Urabandai Ski Resort ranks among Japan’s best ski resorts, offering skiing and snowboarding from December to April each year.
- Ashinomaki Onsen Hot Spring Village is another popular hot spring resort located along a scenic river valley just outside of town.
- Ouchijuku Historic Village preserves an old post town as a tourist attraction that gives visitors insight into life during Japan’s feudal era.