Samurai Spirit Experience

  • 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.
 

Start

Aizu-Wakamatsu Station

Reach Tsurugajo Castle from Aizu-Wakamatsu Sta. in 30 min by bus (or 15 min by taxi).

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Tsurugajo Castle

  • Aizu Area
  • 120

Tsuragajo 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.

From Tsurugajo Castle, it takes 1 hour by local bus, or 25 min by taxi, to reach Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan.

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Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan

  • Aizu Area
  • 50

Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan was the highest level of learning institution of its time. It was established in 1803 by the Aizu Domain for the purpose of fostering Japan's next generation of talented samurais. Children of samurai families entered this school at the age of ten and worked on academic studies and physical exercises to instill both physical and mental discipline. Visitors can enjoy practicing some of essential disciplines of the samurai, including tea ceremony, Japanese archery, meditation, and horseback riding.

From Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan to Aizu Bukeyashiki, it takes 50 min by bus (or 20 min by taxi).

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Aizu Bukeyashiki (Samurai Residence)

  • Aizu Area
  • 45

Aizu Bukeyashiki (Samurai Residence) is an historical open-air museum where visitors can learn about the history of Aizu and sample some of the specialty products of Fukushima. Stroll around the residences to take in traditional Japanese architecture, including the residence of Tanomo Saigo, the Aizu Domain's chief retainer, a magistrate's office, a tea ceremony house, a rice mill, and a warehouse (resource center).

From Aizu Bukeyashiki to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, it takes 20 min by bus (or 10 min by taxi).

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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!

Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
Adventure

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.  

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