Relax in traditional hot springs visited by generations of feudal lords and samurai
Higashiyama Onsen, located in Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken, is a place where you can experience the rich culture and history of traditional Japanese hot springs. Considered one of the top three onsen villages of old Tohoku, Higashiyama Onsen has been a popular destination for relaxation and rejuvenation for centuries.
The hot springs of Higashiyama Onsen were discovered about 1,300 years ago by the Buddhist priest Gyoki. It is said that the feudal lords and their samurai retainers would come to these hot springs to relax and unwind after a long day of work or battle. The healing properties of the hot springs were believed to soothe their tired bodies and provide them with a sense of tranquility.
Today, visitors to Higashiyama Onsen can still experience the same sense of relaxation and rejuvenation that the feudal lords and samurai enjoyed centuries ago. The onsen village is made up of several traditional ryokans, or Japanese inns, where guests can stay and immerse themselves in the hot spring culture. These ryokans offer a range of accommodations, from simple and rustic to luxurious and extravagant, ensuring that every visitor can find the perfect place to unwind.
One of the highlights of Higashiyama Onsen is the opportunity to witness performances by the Higashiyama geigi, or geisha. These skilled entertainers perform traditional music, dance, and storytelling, providing a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of japan. Watching a geisha performance is a truly unique experience and a must-see for anyone visiting Higashiyama Onsen.
Another event that shouldn’t be missed is the Higashiyama Water Throwing Festival, which takes place in August. During this festival, locals and visitors gather to throw water at each other in a playful and joyous celebration. This tradition is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits, and it is a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved.
To reach Higashiyama Onsen, the most convenient way is to take a train from Tokyo to Koriyama, and then transfer to the JR Ban-etsu West line to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. From there, you can either take the Aizu Wakamatsu Town Bus or a short 10-minute taxi ride to the onsen village. The journey itself is an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Tohoku region, with its lush green mountains and picturesque countryside.
Once you arrive at Higashiyama Onsen, you will be greeted by a tranquil and serene atmosphere. The village is surrounded by nature, with beautiful mountain views and lush forests. It is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the peacefulness of the hot springs.
In addition to the hot springs, there are also several attractions nearby that are worth exploring. One of the most notable is Tsuruga Castle, a reconstruction of the original castle that stood in Aizuwakamatsu for centuries. This historic site offers a glimpse into the samurai culture of the Edo period and provides stunning views of the surrounding area.
Another attraction is the Aizu Samurai Mansion, a 38-room complex that showcases the lives of people from the Edo period. Here, you can explore the traditional architecture and learn about the daily life of the samurai and their families. The mansion is beautifully preserved and offers a fascinating insight into Japanese history.
For nature lovers, there are also several hiking trails and scenic spots in the area. The nearby mountains offer breathtaking views and the opportunity to connect with nature. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll through the forest or a challenging hike to the mountain peak, there is something for everyone in Higashiyama Onsen.
After a day of exploring and soaking in the hot springs, you can indulge in the local cuisine. Higashiyama Onsen is known for its delicious and authentic Japanese food, with a focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients. From savoring a traditional kaiseki meal at a ryokan to enjoying street food at a local market, there are plenty of dining options to satisfy your taste buds.
In conclusion, Higashiyama Onsen is a place where you can truly relax and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of traditional Japanese hot springs. Whether you’re interested in experiencing a geisha performance, participating in the Water Throwing Festival, or simply soaking in the healing waters of the hot springs, Higashiyama Onsen offers a unique and unforgettable experience. So why not embark on a journey to this charming onsen village and discover the beauty and tranquility it has to offer?
Address And Maps Location:
Higashiyama-machi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken