Travel to Aizu for the tastes.
Aizu's food and sake have been refined by its climate and history.
Aizu has deep valleys and pure water. It is surrounded on all sides by 2000m mountains, at the source of a mighty river that empties into the Sea of Japan. The etymology of Aizu has been explained as from an ancient legend, the port where two rivers meet, and a spot where trade from the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean meet. In any case, Aizu has long been populated,developed a culture, and cultivated a locally entrenched food culture.
Its beautiful nature endures, falling snow supplies water, which doesn't dry up even in summer. Its erratic temperatures give produce umami, quality rice is produced in the plains, and buckwheat in the mountains. Aizu is one of Japan's leading breadbaskets, which even has breweries producing delicious sake.
Experience Aizu's nature and food to the fullest in Aizuwakamatsu, Shimogo, and Minamiaizu, connected by Aizu Railway. Here's an idea of their unique appeal and great tastes.
Samurais in Aizu domain carried on proudly to the last in the turbulent 19th century. Aizuwakamatsu flourished as a castle town, and is the center of "Aizu cuisine", which turned grains into traditional cuisine with wisdom and tricks. The honest, serious, firm, but kind temperament of the people of Aizu lives on in their delicious food and sake.
Shimogo is imbued with the struggle of history and nature, with Ouchi-juku which flourished in the 17th to 19th century as a post station, and To-no-Hetsuri, an impressive rock landscape formed by strata several million years old. The buckwheat fields of Sarugaku Plateau uphold Aizu's buckwheat culture, showcasing their stunning natural beauty from late August to early September.
Minamiaizu lies 500m above sea level, coexisting with nature. The town's surface area is 92% mountain forests. Water purified by the deep forests as well as heavy snowfall becomes abundant, high-quality groundwater, producing excellent sake. The cool climate gives summer tomatoes plenty of sweetness, and the cool water nurtures mountain trout and yamame trout.