The usually-overlooked Fukushima and Yamagata prefectures are positioned within the Tōhoku area of Japan and are each wealthy in tradition and panorama.

The fun of Fukushima are nonetheless obscured in the back of a cloud of a nuclear twist of fate following the 2011 nice east Japan earthquake. That’s a disgrace as a result of Japan’s third-largest prefecture provides unbelievable herbal good looks, heat hospitality, and interesting historic points of interest a decade later.

Yamagata is extra pleasantly famed as being Japan’s greatest manufacturer of cherries and pears. It’s also recognized for its stunning spring cherry blossoms, the Kajo Park containing the stays of Yamagata Citadel and its herbal good looks.

Getting there from Tokyo is straightforward as it is only an 80-minute educate journey at the Tohoku Shinkansen to Southern Fukushima. From there, you’ll be able to pick out up a apartment automotive and meander throughout the mountains of the Aizu area, making your method via Fukushima and Yamagata preventing off at those historic locations.

Take a look at them out right here. 

Ouchi-juku (大内宿), Fukushima 

Ouchi-juku

Ouchi-juku

The far off mountain village of Ouchi-juku is more than likely probably the most fascinating historic spots of Fukushima. Right through the Edo era, the shogun made each and every feudal lord in Japan commute to Edo (now referred to as Tokyo) and are living there each and every different yr to keep watch over them. In consequence, shukuba or postal cities had been created alongside the roads to Edo, serving as relaxation stops for the lords, traders and travellers. Ouchi-juku is one in all Japan’s best-preserved examples of a shukuba.

The principle side road is covered with preserved properties whose thatched roofs recall the extra well-known Shirakawa-go in Hida, however with out the touristy crowds. Locals nonetheless are living in them, the use of the bottom flooring as shopfronts to promote memento crafts, native dishes and sake. A handful additionally provides in a single day lodging.

TIP: Take a look at the native speciality – Negi Soba. This buckwheat noodle dish is eaten the use of a leek as an alternative of chopsticks. The leek can also be eaten too.

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Tsurugajo Citadel, Fukushima 

Tsurugajo Citadel

Tsurugajo Citadel is a throwback to the 14th century Aizu Wakamatsu Town – a town that thrived for 1000 years with a deeply embedded samurai tradition. 

The fortress you notice nowadays is a loyal recovery from the enduring white central tower right down to the original iron red-tinted roof tiles.  However there may be nonetheless sufficient of the unique building to be able to spot the construction kinds, from the medieval nozura-zumi of piled stones to the Edo-period uchikomi-hagi manner of reducing stones to shape flat surfaces.

A travel as much as the watchtower observatory offers rewarding perspectives of the encircling neighbourhood and inexperienced mountains at the horizon. Inside of, the exhibition contains reproductions of many artwork and woodcuts depicting key characters and moments within the historical past of samurai tradition.

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Okawaso (大川荘), Fukushima

Reside samurai sword efficiency of “Kengishu Kamui”

Okawaso is a sumptuous onsen lodge resort nestled within the lush sizzling spring valley of Aizu alongside the pretty valley of Okawa River. The majestic foyer has wood tables, lattices, balconies, stairs and working water-centred round an intimate sq. level. Carrier via the kimono-clad feminine attendants, referred to as nakai-san, is attentive.

Probably the most highlights is a day by day are living efficiency at the shamisen (a Jap three-stringed tool).

If you happen to sign up for the particular excursion, you’re going to have a possibility to observe a are living samurai sword efficiency of “Kengishu Kamui” set in entrance of a landscaped non-public lawn. The impressive display is an entertaining show of each conventional kenjutsu swordsmanship and samurai values.

Lunch is a lovely multi-course meal that includes recent seafood, sukiyaki pork, and dainty cakes.

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Nisshinkan (日新館), Fukushima

Nisshinkan

Based in 1803 via the Aizu area, Nisshinkan used to be created all through the Edo era to coach the sons of prime rating samurai officers who entered the college at 10 years previous. It used to be probably the most outstanding samurai colleges within the nation. At Nisshinkan, the men discovered no longer best teachers but in addition the spirit, behaviour, and manners of samurai.

Nisshinkan’s historical past is laced with the tragedy of the famously trustworthy Byakkotai troop of nineteen teenage boys. When the Byakkotai, composed of boys elderly 16 to 17, retreated from the battlefield throughout the Takizawa Move and the cave of the Tonoguchi, and reached Mt. Iimori, the men noticed the fortress tower of Tsurugajo Citadel lined in smoke. They determined to die like a samurai somewhat than being stuck and humiliated via the enemy and killed themselves with their very own sword.

Within the struggle of 1868 that signified the top of the Samurai generation, the college’s constructions had been burnt down. These days the college has been restored, you’ll be able to discuss with the halls, and the swimming pool, which is alleged to be the oldest in Japan, or even take a look at your hand on the archery vary with actual wood arrows and an actual bow.

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Toko Sake Museum, Tohoku

Kojima Sohonten sake brewery in Yonezawa has been brewing Toko sake rice wine has been since 1597 via the similar circle of relatives. The present chairman, Kojima Yazaemon, is the twenty third descendant of the brewery’s founder.

From 1603 till the top of the Edo era, Kojima Sakaya used to be the manager brewer of sake for the ruling samurai Uesugi extended family. They should were proud of the sake.

The Toko Sake Museum used to be opened in 1984 and housed in a restored Meiji-period kura brewery. It comprises large wood fermentation vats, a big cedar tank used to steam the rice, reconstructed chambers and historic artefacts akin to a 400-year-old Bizen pottery vessel used for sake brewing. And, after all, you get to pattern Toko sake.

If you happen to sign up for the Samurai Teach Excursion, you’ll be able to see a dramatic iaido (居合道) demonstration on the museum, all through which a swordmaster slashed via vertical rolls of rainy tatami mats as substitutes for human our bodies in weight and density. However, iaido’s final purpose, consistent with the grasp, is to turn out to be so inherently dominant that you just steer clear of any combat within the first position. ”

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Denkoku no Mori (伝国の杜), Yamagata

Denkoku no Mori in Yonezawa, Yamagata, is located adjoining to Matsugasaki Park, house of the Uesugi Shrine. The museum provides an interesting show of artefacts of the Uesugi Extended family that flourished as warriors.

Notable a few of the many artistic endeavors is the Uesugi Rakuchu Rakugai Zubyobu (Folding Display), thought to be a countrywide treasure. Take a detailed search for an outline of lifestyles, whole with fauna and plants, of the two,500 other people depicted at the display screen some 450 years in the past. It used to be a present from the well-known samurai warrior Oda Nobunaga to the warlord Uesugi Kenshin.

The museum’s out of doors plaza usually hosts native fairs, taiko performances and particular appearances via the Yamagata Ai Samurai Troupe (recognisable via the “ai” kanji adorning the helmet famously worn via the literary and sensible samurai Naoe Kanetsugu).

Extra data about Denkoko no Mori: click on right here 

Uesugi Shrine (上杉神社), Yamagata

The Uesugi Shrine, positioned on Yonezawa’s Matsugasaki fortress ruins throughout the park, used to be constructed to honour one in all Japan’s maximum coveted warriors, Uesugi Kenshin, who changed into a primary normal on the comfortable age of 16 years previous. He is thought of as probably the most robust warlord of the Warring States era.

It’s also a well-liked position to look the cherry blossom, which seems magnificent within the spring.

Somewhere else at the grounds is the Matsumisaki Shrine, dedicated to Uesugi Yozan, who changed into the feudal lord of Yonezawa on the age of 17 and reformed the Yonezawa area via political innovation economically. The shrine has particular that means for Yonezawa for the locals and you’re going to usually see {couples} posing for marriage ceremony pictures, youngsters dressed in kimono for ceremonies, or locals merely out for a stroll with their dressed-up canines.

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Uesugi Joshien “Abcys” (上杉城史苑 アビシス)

This eating place, simply across the nook from Denkoku no Mori and Matsugasaki Park, no longer some distance from Yonezawa educate station, is a handy position to experience conventional Jap delicacies in a eating room flooded with herbal mild.

Take a look at the Yonezawa pork, thought to be to be one in all Japan’s most sensible 3 pork manufacturers. If you happen to experience it then discover the department stores of Uesugi Joshien and purchase a slab or Yonezawa pork for later. Different must-buys are native cherries or a bottle of in the neighborhood produced pear and grape juice for which the area is so well-known.

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