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

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Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
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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.  

Fukushima’s Revitalization Educational One-Day Trip
Fukushima’s Revitalization Educational One-Day Trip
Fukushima’s Revitalization Educational One-Day Trip
Culture

Fukushima’s Revitalization Educational One-Day Trip

This is a model itinerary for visitors who would like to learn about Fukushima’s revitalization. The coastal area of Fukushima is the only place in the world to have survived a triple disaster: an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear disaster. Following extensive decontamination efforts and a great deal of demolition and reconstruction, several areas that were once designated as ‘difficult to return’ have started welcoming both residents and visitors again, with many residents eager to share their stories with the world. This itinerary centers on the towns of Futaba and Namie, both of which were severely affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011.  The first stop is Futaba station and the surrounding Futaba Art District, a mural art initiative that pays homage to the residents and folk art of the town. From there, you’ll visit the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum, which has a detailed account of the area before, during, and after the disaster. At the museum, you’ll learn about the stories and testimonies of locals, as well as the plans and ideas for the future of Fukushima. The last stop is the remains of the Ukedo Elementary School in Namie town. Although the school building, located only 300 meters from the sea, sustained great damage from the tsunami, students, teachers and staff were able to evacuate from the school safely, for which it is known as a ‘miracle’ school.  This is a one-day itinerary, but we recommend staying somewhere in the coastal area of Fukushima after your visit.  

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