In Japan, legendary samurai once walked the streets, swords at their hips, as recently as 150 years ago.
They disappeared into the annals of history, but the samurai remains a constant source of fascination and inspiration for travellers visiting Japan, eager to learn of their history, exploits and creed.
One of the best places in Japan to get a taste of samurai history is Fukushima Prefecture’s Aizu region.
Aizu was the last region of resistance to Japan’s modern revolution during the Boshin War – the end of which triggered the Meiji Restoration and the modernisation of the country – which is thought to have partly inspired the The Last Samurai (2003), a film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe.
The history of this civil war can be experienced at some of the region’s best known attractions.
Among these is Iimori Hill, a legendary mountain said to be where a group of teenagers known as the Byakkotai (‘White Tiger Force’) achieved true samurai status by committing sepukku, after observing what they thought was the sight of their home, Tsuruga-jō castle, burning.
Travellers can see Tsuruga-jō castle from Iimori Hill, which was rebuilt after the Boshin War, and discover its many exhibits, including suits of armour and swords, and other items detailing the history and lifestyles of the people of Aizu.
Chances are you’ll even see guides dressed in traditional samurai armour near the main tower of Tsuruga-jō – each keen to have a happy snap with travellers.
For everything you need to know about Fukushima, including agent advice, and destination and experience guidance, speak to the experts at Aizu Dream Development, a Japan-based travel agency specialising in travel to the Tohoku region and East Japan.
Fukushima: Back on the hot list
For return visitors to Japan, one of the best regions to explore in 2020 is Fukushima Prefecture, a destination returned to multiple travel hot lists, thanks to the prefecture’s plenitude of wonderful natural, wellness and foodie experiences.
The region remains one of the best places in Japan to visit for an onsen experience, with the mesmerising onsen region known as Inawashiro (also known as Nakanosawa Onsen) home to the amazing Numajiri Kogen, a lodge founded by Junko Tabei – the first woman in the world to scale Mount Everest – situated near some of Aizu’s best snow regions.
Additionally, Fukushima Prefecture will also return to travel watch lists, this year, as the city plays host to the world’s biggest event – the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics – with sports played at the J-Village football stadium and Azuma baseball stadium in Fukushima City.
For more information on travelling to Fukushima, speak to the experts at Aizu Dream Development.