Samurai Spirit Experience
- Aizu Area
- All Year
- 3 destinations
- One Day
Discover the spirit of the Japanese samurai on this one-day tour of samurai history in the beautiful Aizu region of Fukushima. Feel the history of the past come to life all around you as you experience the places where samurai once walked. This tour can be enjoyed any time of the year and with the ease of trains and buses in the area, you’ll be well on your way to living the samurai life.
Leave from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station and journey to Tsurugajo Castle. The red-tile roof of Tsurugajo Castle is one of a kind. Stroll through the gardens before heading inside the keep to see the artifacts of history. After you’ve finished at the castle, make your way to Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan, the premier school for young samurai of the time. This is where the fledgling samurai received training and education. See what it took for a boy to grow into a samurai. Then move to Aizu Bukeyashiki, the 28-room sprawling estate that once belonged to a samurai family of the region. The preserved estate showcases everyday samurai life as well as some stunning artifacts and gardens. You will be thrilled every step of the way through your trek into the past and your adventure into discovering the soul of the samurai.
Reach Tsurugajo Castle from Aizu-Wakamatsu Sta. in 30 min by bus (or 15 min by taxi).View directions
- Aizu Area
From Tsurugajo Castle, it takes 1 hour by local bus, or 25 min by taxi, to reach Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan.View directions
- Aizu Area
From Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan to Aizu Bukeyashiki, it takes 50 min by bus (or 20 min by taxi).View directions
- Aizu Area
From Aizu Bukeyashiki to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, it takes 20 min by bus (or 10 min by taxi).View directions
Historical Samurai Tour
Enjoy this one-day trip around Aizu-Wakamatsu City, made possible thanks to the local city sightseeing buses that drive between the major sightseeing spots in the city. No matter what time of the year you decide to visit Fukushima, the Aizu-Wakamatsu area is sure to entrance you with its many sights and attractions. See Mt. Iimoriyama, where the Byakkotai samurai brigade tragically took their lives after the supposed fall of their lord and castle. Visit Sazaedo Temple with its double-helix shaped interior and wonder at the peace and tranquility of the temple grounds and history. Move onto Aizu Bukeyashiki where this expansive samurai household has been well-preserved for visitors to walk through and imagine life as it was. Guests will enjoy this scenic home with its lovely gardens. Compare these gardens with those at Tsurugajo Castle and walk the grounds of this majestic castle. Visit the exhibits inside the castle and learn more about the Byakkotai boys, and the fascinating samurai history of the Aizu region. Finally, Nanokamachi-dori Street will welcome you with its charming rustic buildings and shopping sites; wander the narrow streets to find some truly wonderful hidden gems. Finish your day back at Aizu-Wakamatsu Station.
Explore the Heights of Aizu
It’s time to visit the dizzying heights of Aizu on this one-day tour that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Travel by train to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station and make your way for Michi-no-Eki Ozekaido Mishima-juku (Roadside Station). At this countryside road stop, you’ll find snacks, local handicrafts and produce galore, not to mention fantastic paulownia wood crafts. Be sure to pick some up. From Michi-no-Eki Ozekaido Mishima-juku (Roadside Station), take a short 10-minute walk to the lookout point for the Tadami Bridge. This is the number one place to look out at the bridge from and you’ll be entranced by the scenery - time your trip right and you might be able to see the Tadami Line train passing over it. The majestic mountains almost seem to hug the bridge and the landmark makes a beautiful contrast against a backdrop of nature. After you’ve finished bridge-watching, head south to ride a ferryboat across a jagged ravine at Mugenkyo no Watashi. The splendor of the natural craggy rocks and trees that cling to them will astound you from your seat at water level. Get a sense of size of these beautiful mountains and cliffs.
Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
Have you ever wanted to take a cross-prefecture tour of Japan, from Tokyo to the impeccable countryside of Fukushima? Well, now is your chance to travel from the international hub of Tokyo and see what else Japan and—especially—Fukushima have to offer. Enjoy this cross-country tour of Japan any time of the year, over the span of a few days so that you can enjoy things at your pace. You’ll find life outside of Tokyo goes at a much slower pace. Start your trip from Tokyo Station and ride a short distance to Asakusa. See one of the busiest shrine-and-temple locations in Tokyo. You’ll love the bustling atmosphere and the street stalls with their many trinkets and souvenirs. Once you’ve finished in Asakusa, head out of the city and make your way for Tochigi Prefecture’s Nikko. Nikko is perhaps most famous for the three monkey statues that people equate with “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”. You’ll see these wonderful statues and more while you stop over in Nikko. From there, travel north to Higashiyama Onsen and enjoy the sights form the train along the way. Higashiyama Onsen is Fukushima’s home to some truly great hot springs and Japanese-style inns. Soak up the hot waters and relax your tired muscles. At Tsuruga-jo Castle, you can walk the pristine gardens and enjoy the castle grounds. Be sure to make note of the red-roof tiles of the castle as well, this is the only castle in Japan that boasts having these deep-red tiles. Inside the castle keep, discover the history of the Aizu samurai through the many exhibits and displayed artifacts. Make your way to Nanokamachi-dori Street and admire the local architecture, which is quite different than that from the rest of the area. Search out local hidden gems along the narrow streets and find the perfect souvenir to take home. Enjoy your time in Tokyo, Tochigi, and Fukushima like never before with this route.
Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
This trip highlights some of the best Fukushima has to offer and is perfect for those looking to get the most out of the prefecture in a limited time. Take in castles, nature, traditional villages, and more as you treat yourself to local styles of soba and ramen along the way. Renting a car is a must if you want to hit all the spots on this tour. You can take it slow and complete this trip over three days, or skip out an overnight stay in Urabandai area, and do it in two days. Start the day from Fukushima Station with a scenic drive to the the beautiful Urabandai region. We recommend taking the Bandai-Azuma Skyline road so that you can enjoy a mountain drive and check out the great sights at Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. From there, take the stunning sightseeing road Azuma-Bandai Lake Line into Urabandai. Explore the Urabandai area, have lunch, go on a walk around the five-colored ponds of Goshiki-numa, and maybe even take a dip in a hot spring or two. Choose whether take it slow and stay the night in Urabandai area, or whether to press on to Aizu-Wakamatsu City. Later that day - or the next morning, depending on your schedule - head into the castle town of Aizu-Wakamatsu City where samurai culture is prevalent. The majestic Tsurugajo Castle offers beautiful views of the surroundings from the keep. Check out the nearby Tsurugajo Kaikan to paint an akabeko or two and maybe have some lunch. Then explore the mysterious Sazaedo Temple and the surrounding Mt. Iimoriyama area. From here, we suggest staying overnight in the city. There are plenty of budget hotels in Aizu-Wakamatsu, but if you are looking for something traditionally Japanese, we recommend looking into lodging at the nearby Higashiyama Onsen hot springs town just east of the city. On the next day prepare to jump into the past with a trip to the Ouchi-juku mountain village. You can spend hours here shopping and eating local foods while walking up and down the street lined with traditional thatched-roof houses. Lastly, head to the To-no-Hetsuri Crags, a natural monument filled with towering cliffs overlooking the Okawa River. Cross the nearby suspension bridge which offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. After getting fully refreshed head back to Shin-Shirakawa station by car, drop off your rental car, and connect back to Tokyo or the next stop on your journey!