Aizu is an area that represents the western third of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. The main city in the area is Aizuwakamatsu. The city is especially known for its delicious sake and a long history of samurai culture.
During the Edo period, Aizu was a feudal domain known as Aizuhan and part of Mutsu Province. The rulers (daimyo) in this area throughout much of the Edo period were from the Hoshina clan, formerly high servants of the Takeda clan. At the beginning of the 17th century the head of the family, Hoshina Masamitsu, adopted the illegitimate son of the second shogun Tokugawa Hidetada.
And as a result, the Hoshina family fortune grew larger and larger. Hoshina Masayuki, the adopted son, increased in importance during the term as shogun of his half-brother Tokugawa Iemitsu. He was even acting as regent when the fourth shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna was still too young to rule.
The clan eventually supported the shogun when he confronted the Emperor in the final days of the Edo Period. This made them ‘enemies of the Court’. They tried to keep the peace but were forced to fight in 1868 during the Boshin War. This was the time they got defeated after a fierce battle.
These days, Aizuwakamatsu is especially known for its beautiful castle, nearby traditional post village Ouchijuku, famous sake breweries like Suehiro Sake Brewery, and Aizu Bukeyashiki, a reconstructed samurai home. There are ski resorts in winter, and onsen hot springs nearby year-round.
Because of its more remote location, Aizuwakamatsu is not an area that receives many foreign tourists which makes it a great destination for those looking to discover the lesser-known parts of Japan.
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