Oyakuen Garden

Oyakuen Garden

Oyakuen was used approximately 600 years ago as a villa for the then lord of the Aizu Domain. Subsequently, in the mid-17th century, the lord of the Aizu Domain started growing medicinal herbs within the grounds which he developed to protect the citizenry from epidemics. This lead to the garden gaining the name "Oyakuen", which literally means "medicinal garden."

The traditional garden has been preserved as it was long ago, and Oyakuen has now been designated as an important national asset. The buildings within the grounds were used by the lord as a place of relaxation and for entertainment. Accordingly, Oyakuen still contains buildings devoted to Japanese tea. Visitors can enjoy a cup of herbal tea here even today.

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttps://aizuwakamatsu.mylocal.jp/en/trip/spot-list/-/spotdetail/spotinfo/1000000066/3999496
Contact

Oyakuen Garden

(+81) 242-27-2472

info@tsurugajo.com

Best SeasonAll Year
Opening Hours

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM (Last entrance at 4:30 PM)

Open all year

ParkingFree (61 cars)
Entrance FeeAdults: 330 yen
High school students: 270 yen
Junior high and elementary school students: 160 yen
Related infoEnjoy seasonal views of Oyakuen Garden throughout the year.
Recommended photo spot: The view of the garden from the tea house
Access Details
Access8-1 Hanaharumachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Pref. 965-0804
View directions
Getting there

By Car: 15 min drive from the Aizu-Wakamatsu I.C. exit off the Ban-etsu Expressway

By Bus: Take the Haikara-san or Akabe sightseeing loop bus from Aizuwakamatsu Station (JR Ban-etsu West Line) and get off at Oyakuen Bus Stop. From there, walk for 3 min. The gardens are a 15 min walk from Tsurugajo Castle

Nearby

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Higashiyama Onsen

Established over 1,300 years ago, Higashiyama Onsen is a well-known retreat area in Aizu-Wakamatsu City. The recognized historical onsen town is said to have been founded by the Buddhist priest Gyōki. According to legend, he found the area by following a bird with three legs, an auspicious and mystical omen. The area was popular with people from all over Aizu during the Edo Period and was developed as a retreat area. Today it is listed among the top three onsen towns of old Tohoku. Being only 10 minutes by car from the heart of Aizu-Wakamatsu City, visitors are sure to enjoy their time at Higashiyama Onsen. The traditional Japanese ryokan (inns) of Higashiyama Onsen line both sides of the Yukawa River, giving the area a picturesque air. Let your mind and body relax in the warm sodium-sulphate waters and clean, crisp air. A visit in autumn treats ryokan and hotel guests to the fantastic experience of bathing in a hot springs while viewing autumn leaves. The ryokan in the area are a mix of modern and traditional, perfect to suit any taste. For sightseeing, there are plenty of shops and restaurants in the area for you to enjoy local goods and cuisine. Moreover, staying in Higashiyama Onsen is a great option for those who would like to sightsee in Aizu-Wakamatsu. Higashiyama Onsen is also home to geigi (geisha), whose traditions have been passed down through the generations. If you make a reservation, you can watch them perform. These classically trained entertainers are skilled in song, dance, and music. Their breathtaking performances reflect historical ballads and stories—the tale of the Byakkotai is especially popular. It is the tragic story of teenage samurai who committed ritual suicide at Mt. Iimoriyama.

The World Glassware Hall
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Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko

Built in 1055, the Nagatoko is Shingu Kumano Shrine's worship hall and translates to “long floor”. It is designated as a Nationally Important Cultural Asset. Built as the main structure during the Heian period to the Kamakura period, its thatched roof is supported by 44 massive pillars, each one 45 cm in diameter. This comprises a single large, open stage with no walls, and is said to have been used for ascetic training by priests, as well as kagura dance festivals. Housed inside a nearby large wooden frame is the shrine bell, which visitors to the shrine are welcome to hit with the wooden rod. There is also a famous copper pot where, allegedly, rice was rinsed before being offered to the gods; it was designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1959. This treasure is housed at the shrine along with many others and are on display for visitors along with national and prefectural designated cultural assets. Also not to be missed in the lion statue in the center of the treasure hall. It is known as a guardian of wisdom and there is a local legend that says if you can pass under the belly of the lion your own wisdom will blossom. It’s a popular place for students to visit before the exam season, and even politicians before election season. Come autumn, the magnificent 800-year-old ginkgo tree is bathed in yellow and makes a beautiful contrast with the Nagatoko. This ancient tree has also been designated as a Natural Monument of Kitakata City. in November of every year, you can even see a special illumination of the ginkgo tree for a limited time.

The World Glassware Hall
Historical Sites

The Grave of the Matsudaira Family

The gravesite was constructed in 1657 when Masayori, the heir of the first Aizu lord Hoshina Masayuki, passed away. Tombs for the second lord Masatsune through the ninth lord Takamori, as well as their wives and children, stand side by side. A Buddhist funeral was conducted for the second lord, but the Shinto style was used for all the other lords. This gravesite is one of Japan’s top daimyo family graves, and is known for its history and scale. The Grave of the Matsudaira Family has also been nationally recognized as an Important Historic Site.

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In the Meiji and Taisho eras, Kitakata City experienced a boom in the construction of kura (traditional Japanese storehouses). There are approximately 4,200 still left in the city today. While these were used both as storehouses for businesses in the brewing and lacquerware industries, the building of a kura has traditionally been considered among Kitakata locals as a great symbol of status, and a source of pride. In the Mitsuya District, the rows of brick storehouses are reminiscent of rural Europe, whereas in the Sugiyama district, they have roofs that take the appearance of helmets. Visitors can see a range of kura and other traditional buildings at Kitakata Kura-no-Sato museum, or enjoy exploring the kura of the city on foot or by bike. See here for a 1 day itinerary for visiting Kitakata City.

Mt. Iimoriyama
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Mt. Iimoriyama

Located less than 4km from Tsurugajo Castle in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima, Mt. Iimoriyama has had a difficult and somewhat dark past. But despite it’s history, the natural beauty of the place remains untarnished. There are many local food stalls set up near the base of the hill, so it’s a good idea to have a snack before you begin the ascent up the stone steps. Also at the bottom is the Byakkotai Memorial Hall; it’s located next to the path up the mountain so it’s easy to find. Inside, guests can observe various artifacts of war and learn about some of Aizu's history. Visitors have two choices to get to the top of the hill: hike up the 183 steps to the summit for free; or pay 250 yen to ride the escalator up (150 yen for children). At the summit stand the nineteen graves of the Byakkotai, White Tiger Corps. The story of these young teenage samurai-in-the-making is legendary in Aizu-Wakamatsu City, and all around this prefecture. The Byakkotai boys were part of the defence against the military forces sweeping through the country during the 1868 civil war. They remained loyal to the leader of their domain and Shogun. On an autumn day during the one-month-long siege on their city, the boys had retreated to Mt. Iimoriyama. From the top of this hill, they caught sight of what they assumed to be Tsurugajo Castle set on fire - a sure sign that the war was lost. In response, they did what they had been taught was the honourable course of action, and took their own lives. In fact, the castle had not been set on fire, and the war was not yet lost. One boy was unsuccessful in his attempt, and was saved by a local woman traversing the hills. His life was saved and his story has become the history we know today. Visitors to Mt. Iimoriyama can stand in the same spot as the boys looking out over the city, or pay respects at the various memorials. The gravesite at the top of Mt. Iimoriyama was built in remembrance of those nineteen boys. Their story resonated with the leaders of the Axis Powers of World War II; near the gravesite are two historic landmarks donated by Nazi Germany and Italy. Down the northern side of the mountain are Uga-shindo, a shrine built in the late seventeenth century which deified a white snake as a god of abundance and fertility. There is also a lovely temple shaped like a turban shell, Sazaedo Temple, that visitors can actually go inside.

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