Revival of its appearance at the end of the Edo Era
Tsuruga Castle has been nationally designated as a Historic Site. It was a robust structure that had endured withering attack for a month during the Boshin War, but was finally demolished with only the stone walls remaining. Originally completed in 1384, it was a famous castle whose name spread out throughout the nation. Thanks to the contributions of many people including local residents, the castle keep was restored in red brick and its appearance from the end of the Edo Era was revived. The keep has become a museum centering upon the samurai culture of Aizu.
A tearoom to enjoy the four seasons
The restored tea room Rinkaku in Tsuruga Castle has been prefecturally designated as an Important Cultural Property. Visiting tourists can enjoy a cup of tea in the room, which at times also holds tea ceremonies. It is said to have been built by Shoan, the child of Sen-no-Rikyu who was famous for the Japanese tea ceremony, and there you can spend a leisurely time within the lushness of nature. The Soan-style tea room, which was considered distinctive even in eastern Japan, was preserved at the bottom of the castle following the Bonin War, but in 1990, it was returned to its original place in Tsuruga Castle.
Oyakuen, a quiet garden
A 15-minute walk away from Tsuruga Castle, there is the beautiful and relaxing atmosphere of a spreading garden. This is Oyakuen, a strolling pond garden which makes use of the surrounding landscape and was shaped to resemble the Japanese kanji character for “heart”. Its name was derived from the herb (yaku in Japanese) garden that has been cultivated there. The lovely garden has also been designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty and it boasts blossoms all throughout the year. How about spending a soul-soothing time there as you sample the secret herbs that can only be found at Oyakuen?
Other Aizu amenities
At Aizu Town Denshokan Museum near Aizuwakamatsu Station, you can encounter the traditional handicrafts and industries of Aizu. Also, from Mt. Seaburi, you can get a panoramic view of Mt. Bandai and Lake Inawashiro. There are also an athletic park and a campground so the whole family can enjoy themselves.