Onsen & Sightseeing in Aizu by Train

  • 6 destinations
  • Multi day

Jump start your vacation in Fukushima’s Aizu region with this multi-day tour, which can be enjoyed at any time of year. These ideas make for great additions to already existing plans, or as a tour of their own. No matter how you decide to use this itinerary, you won’t be disappointed. Travel by train and local bus, or taxi, to enjoy Aizu to the fullest.

Begin your adventure at Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (don’t forget to snap some pics of its bowing red akabeko cow out front) and use the local bus or taxi to make your way for Tsurugajo Castle. Walk through the gardens and grounds of this magnificent castle and marvel at the red-tile roof—the only one of its kind in all of Japan. Inside you can tour the castle keep and see the artifacts of Aizu, let history come to life before your eyes. From the castle, travel to Nanokamachi-dori Street; this quaint area has preserved its early-20th century architecture and is now home to souvenir boutiques and many diners and hidden gems. With that being enough for one day’s excitement, head over to Higashiyama Onsen and soak your travel aches away in the hot springs of Harataki ryokan, which even has its own hot spring source. You’ll love taking a dip in these hot, refreshing, and soothing waters—the outside open-air bath is especially recommended. The next day, why not head over to Ouchi-juku, here you can tour an authentic preserved Aizu village and try local cuisine. The whole area gets really busy in winter and, if you’re brave enough to face the cold, the snow festival is a popular event.
 

Start

Aizu-Wakamatsu Station

From Aizu-Wakamatsu Sta., it takes 30 min to reach Tsurugajo Castle by sightseeing loop bus, or around 12 min by taxi.

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Tsurugajo Castle

  • Aizu Area
  • 80

Tsurugajo Castle, also known as Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle, is arguably Tohoku’s most impressive castle. It's remembered for its role in Japan’s civil war, when it was one of the last remaining samurai strongholds. The castle was fully rebuilt in the 1960s and houses an interesting history museum within the keep. The grounds of Tsurugajo Castle are an excellent place to catch Tohoku’s cherry blossoms in mid-April, and the view from atop the outer walls is particularly impressive.

Tsurugajo Castle to Nanokamachi-dori Street takes 20 min by sightseeing loop bus, or 10 min by taxi.

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Nanokamachi-dori Street

  • Aizu Area
  • 60

This historic street in Aizu-Wakamatsu City is known for its traditional buildings, local crafts, and Japanese antique goods. This is a highly recommended location for souvenir shopping (yukata, kimono, etc.) and for those looking to get involved, you can paint your own candles or lacquerware, both popular crafts in the region.

From Nanokamachi-dori Street, reach Higashiyama Onsen in 40 min by sightseeing loop bus, or around 15 min by taxi.

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Higashiyama Onsen

  • Aizu Area

Higashiyama Onsen is a quaint hot spring resort on a hill just east of central Aizu-Wakamatsu City. There are numerous hotels and ryokan, and a couple of shops on either side of the beautiful river. There are many traditional ryokan to choose from, such as Mukaitaki and Harataki. These classic Japanese-style accommodation often have baths near the river and beautiful gardens.

Harataki sits along the main road of the Higashiyama Onsen area.

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Harataki

  • Aizu Area

Harataki is rare among ryokan for having possession of their own hot spring source. Whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, you’ll love the natural beauty of the area with open-air waterside dining. If you’re looking for a delightful private hot spring bath, they have four separate reservable baths with a view. Harataki also boasts an open-air bath filled with water from its very own hot spring source.

Take a bus from Higashiyama Onsen back to Aizu-Wakamatsu Sta. and travel to Yunokami Onsen Sta.; from there take the sightseeing bus to Ouchi-juku. The trips takes 2 hours.

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Ouchi-juku

  • Aizu Area
  • 90

Ouchi-juku’s rows of thatched-roof houses make up a rural backdrops that has been preserved since the Edo Period. Ouchi-juku Snow Festival takes place every February. Bright white snow falls and slowly builds up, as candles burn bright in snow lanterns, bathing the old post town in warm light.

Get back to Yunokami Onsen town from Ouchi-juku by bus (takes around 20 min).

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Yunokami Onsen

  • Aizu Area
  • 30

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.

It takes around 60 min to reach Aizu-Wakamatsu Sta. from Yunokami Onsen by train.

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Finish

Aizu-Wakamatsu Station

Other Trips

Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Driving

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!

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