Tsurugajo Castle

Tsurugajo Castle

Tsurugajo Castle allows visitors the opportunity to experience history, nature, and tradition with all five senses. Despite being mostly reconstructed, the surrounding park's stone walls remain in their original state.

In 2010, for the first time since it was refurbished in 1965, the castle underwent a cosmetic restoration. Following completion in 2011, the same red-tile roofs seen by the Byakkotai (during the Boshin War and finals days of the Tokugawa shogunate) are now displayed for all to see. This castle is one of the final strongholds of samurai that remained loyal to the shogunate and today stands as a symbol of courage and faithfulness.

Within the castle tower's museum, the swords and armor of the castle’s successive lords are on display. Visitors can watch a CG-enhanced theatrical video reflecting on the great history of Aizu. In addition to the historical atmosphere surrounding Tsurugajo, visitors can sense the changes that have occurred throughout history, thanks to the engaging and informative museum within the castle walls.

It’s fun to gaze across Aizu from the fifth floor, like a feudal lord admiring his domain—the viewing platform up here provides panoramic views taking in Mt. Bandai and Mt. Iimoriyama. The castle is also a must-see in the springtime when approximately 1,000 cherry trees offer a magnificent display within the castle's grounds.

When you’re in the mood for a rest, visit the Rinkaku Tea Rooms for some freshly-prepared matcha green tea. This tea house on the grounds of Tsurugajo was vital in the spread of this traditional art—and had it been destroyed during the Meiji Restoration, tea ceremony as it is known in Japan might have vanished. Tsurugajo Castle is truly a place where the modern visitor can slip into the past and become immersed in history.

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttp://www.tsurugajo.com/language/eng/
Contact

Aizu-Wakamatsu City Tourism Bureau

(+81) 242-27-4005

info@tsurugajo.com

Best SeasonAll Year
Opening Hours

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

Open every day

ParkingAvailable (Space for 200 cars at the west side, 45 cars at the south side, 36 cars at the San-no-Maru entrance)
Related infoAdmission Fees
Park entrance: Free
Castle tower admission: Adults 410 yen; Children under 12-years-old 150 yen
Rinkaku Tea Room Combo Ticket: Adults 520 yen

Kimono rentals available from Tsurugajo Kaikan (3 min walk from the castle)
Access Details
Access1-1 Outemachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Pref. 965-0873
View directions
Getting there

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

By Bus: Easily accessible from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (JR Ban-etsu West Line) via the sightseeing loop bus. The nearest stops on the "Haikara-san" loop bus route are Tsurugajo Kita-guchi (鶴ヶ城北口) and San-no-Maru (三ノ丸) .

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Nearby

The World Glassware Hall
Nature & Scenery

Tenkyokaku

Named by the Crown Prince Yoshihito upon its opening in 1907 as “The Palace of Heaven’s Mirror”, Tenkyokaku is a decadently decorated former villa. Imperial Prince Arisugawa Takehito decided to build Tenkyokaku after being impressed by the beauty of Lake Inawashiro during a visit to the Tohoku District. His family, the Arisugawa-no-miya Family, owned the villa until 1952, when it was granted to Fukushima Prefecture. Tenkyokaku has since been used as a meeting hall and a space for lectures and exhibitions. The former villa, its annex and its front gate have been specified as important cultural properties of Japan. Despite being restored in 1984, the building retains many of its original features, including the impressive chandelier which can be seen below. Despite no longer being able to see Lake Inawashiro from the windows of Tenkyokaku, the luxurious renaissance-style architecture and liberal use of all things gold and glittery means that visitors will by all means feel that its name still rings true. For only 520 yen, you can dress up in a traditional outfit and take as many photos as you would like in the building!

The World Glassware Hall
Nature & Scenery

Inawashiro Herb Garden

The breeze from the nearby Lake Inawashiro, seasonal flowers, and art displays of the Inawashiro Herb Garden await your visit! The outdoor garden area is around 100,000 square meters and is filled with various herbs, flowers, and plants that bloom at different times on the year, creating a unique visitor experience that changes with the seasons! The park has around 500 varieties or herbs, flowers, and plants including: lavender, mint, chamomile, nanohana blossoms, poppies, sunflowers, cosmos, and kochia!  There is an indoor greenhouse area, so, even on rainy days, visitors have plenty of greenery and flowers to see! In addition to the herbs, flowers, and plants you will also find seasonal decorations and original art displays that are created and updated for guests to enjoy. The outdoor garden area of the Inawashiro Herb Garden also features 5 m-tall wooden statues carved by a Canadian artist, Glen Greenside. The 12 statues, one for each zodiac sign, were carved over the course of twelve years as part of a now-discontinued annual chainsaw festival that took place at the garden. Inside, at the shop, visitors can find products and snacks that are made from various herbs and flowers.

The World Glassware Hall
Historical Sites

Enzoji Temple

A symbolic temple of Aizu, Enzoji was built about 1,300 years ago in 807. Fukuman Kokuzo Enzoji Temple (Enzoji Temple for short) was built by Tokuichi Daishi, a noted priest from the Aizu region. The main hall of the temple rises high above a huge crag. From here, the Tadami River can be viewed flowing magnificently through the town. You can also see the various views of each season, with cherry blossoms in spring, mist over the river in summer, red maples in autumn, and snow in winter. The temple has many highlights, such as a treasure house and monuments in memory of poets, inscribed with their poems and haiku. The temple is dedicated to Fukuman Kokuzo Bosatsu (the Bodhisattva of wisdom). There are many legends associated with the temple. For example, one legend tells of how when Kobo Daishi threw wood shavings from the statue of Kokuzo Bosatsu into the Tadami River, they immediately turned into countless Japanese dace fish. Another story is about how a red cow helped with the difficult construction of the temple - a story which led to the widespread acceptance of the "akabeko" red cow as an important symbol of Fukushima. One more story is that of Nanokado Hadaka Mairi ("Naked Man Festival" at Nanukado Temple). The legends are many and varied.

The World Glassware Hall
Hot Springs

Yunokami Onsen

Yunokami Onsen is famous for having one of the only thatched roof station buildings in Japan. The hot spring area is fed from 8 source springs. Each ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in the town draws its hot water directly from the source. The clear, transparent water is beloved for being soft and gentle on the skin. Many lodges offer just day-use of their baths, making it a great place to enjoy on a whim. There is also a public foot bath located at Yunokami Onsen Station. During the cherry blossom season, visitors can enjoy a warm foot bath while watching the light pink petals fluttering in the wind.

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Historical Sites

Isasumi Shrine

Aizu Misato Town’s historic Isasumi Shrine, known as a great spot for viewing beautiful irises, holds a festival to celebrate the splendor of these flowers every year. Isasumi Shrine's history is thought to be connected to how the Aizu region got its name - a story that has been recorded in two of Japan’s most legendary books of folklore. According to the tale, around 2000 years ago, four shogun were entrusted with uniting the four areas of land which would become Japan. Two of these shogun happened to be father and son. One was sent to the north-east, and the other to the north-west. When the father and son had completed their work uniting the towns in their respective areas, they met in the middle. They named the area “Aizu” (会津), which can be translated as “The riverbank (津) where we met (会)”. The father and son travelled to Mt. Mikagura-dake, a mountain that borders Niigata Prefecture and Aizu, and prayed to the shinto god of pioneering new lands to protect Aizu, and the rest of Japan. Isasumi Shrine is thought to be built where they met. In spring, the shrine grounds become decorated with the blossoms of one of the most prized cherry trees in Aizu. It is said that this tree, which is named Usuzumi Sakura (“Diluted-Ink Sakura”), has been the sacred tree of Isasumi Shrine since it was brought down from Mt. Mikagura-dake and planted in the shrine grounds as a way of commemorating the efforts of the father and son. The lovely, light scent of the cherry blossom welcomes visitors each spring.

Nanokamachi-dori Street
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Nanokamachi-dori Street

Nanokamachi-dori Street is a quaint shopping street with an olde-worlde atmosphere, located in central Aizu-Wakamatsu City. There is a mix of western-style buildings, and traditional Japanese architecture, including Japanese-style storehouses and wooden town houses, from the Taisho Period (1912-1926). This street is home to a number of shops selling local products such as Aizu lacquerware and Aizu momen (cotton made in the Aizu area). Nanokamachi-dori Street is a great spot to grab a bite to eat, and is also useful as a base to explore Aizu-Wakamatsu City. Suehiro Sake Brewery and Suzuzen lacquerware shop are just two of the esteemed businesses located close to this shopping street.

Yunokami Onsen Station
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Yunokami Onsen Station

Yunokami Onsen Station is one of only 2 train stations with a thatched roof in Japan. The station is known for its great location as a cherry blossom viewing spot with a unique atmosphere. There is an irori (sunken fireplace) where tourists can warm themselves up in winter, and a foot bath sourced from natural hot spring water just next to the station. Yunokami Onsen town is a popular place to stay the night for those visiting destinations such as Ouchi-juku and To-no-hetsuri are located in the same area.

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The Warehouses of Kitakata

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.

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