Okuaizu, Japan

Home of seasonal tradition and events

About "Okuaizu"

Okuaizu, the home of traditional events is located in the southwestern part of Fukushima Prefecture. It is a collective name of 7 municipalities, such as Yanaizu, Mishima, Kaneyama, Showa, Tadami and Minami-Aizu towns (excluding Tajima district) and Hinoemata Village which extend over the watershed of Ina River whose springhead is Mt. Arakai. Okuaizu is at the border of Niigata, Gunma, and Tochigi prefectures, and a trove of traditional crafts, such as braid crafting and Karamushi weaving as well as folk events, such as a ritual to send offerings to the heaven . It is also a snowy area with 2m-high snowfalls covered even in a plain area, remaining ancient landscape of Japan. JR Tadami Line is running along Tadami River, and you can view seasonal landscapes profiled by the valley and railway.

7 towns and villages of Okuaizu

Yanaizu Town

Yanaizu Town is a town built and prospered around Fukuman Kokuzo Bosatsu Enzoji Temple with a history of 1,200 years. Traditional events, such as Nanokado Hadaka Mairi (worship by naked men with loincloth) and parade by children have taken place since old days. It is a birthplace of Akabeko, a red cow which is a folk toy of Aizu, with Yanaizu Hot Spring which is pulling spring water from the spring head in Enzoji Temple as well as Nishiyama Hot Spring called a secret hot spring of gods with 8 springheads remaining a worship for hot spring.

Mishima Town

Mishima Town is known as a production area of Aizu paulownia since a long time ago and full of light purple flowers around the town in spring. Okuaizu braid crafting that uses natural materials was designated as a traditional craft by the national government and Aizu chicken produced in Mishima is very chewy, rich and flavory.

Kaneyama Town

Kaneyama Town is surrounded by green mountains with the heights between 800 m and 1,300 m. There are Lake Numazawa, which is a compound caldera born by the eruption of Volcano Numazawa, and a fountain of natural carbonated water rarely found in Japan. Also, they have 7 springheads and many public baths with delicacy of hot spring being lost in Japan.

Showa Village

Showa Village is a beautiful mountain village surrounded by mountains. This is the only village that produces Choma ramie, material for traditional cloths "Karamushi weaving". At present, they focus on production of baby's breath and the growing area is the largest in Japan during summer and autumn seasons.

Tadami Town

Tadami Town is surrounded by mountains with height of around 1,000 m, such as Aizu Asahidake and Asakuradake. It is blessed with rich forest resources and beautiful transition of four seasons of four seasons brought by severe but fantastic natural environment. It is the source of the capital of nature, Tadami. It was registered to UNESCO Park in June, 2014, and the rich natural environment of Tadami is internationally recognized.

Minami-Aizu Town

Minami-Aizu Town covers one third of Okuaizu. Flowers of Lilium rubellum, also called "Otome Yuri (maiden lily)" for tender pink petals and delicate fragrance bloom in Nango district in June. Ina district has historical culture asset, such as big ginkgo trees and remains of Hisakawa Castle, and Tateiwa district has a village of Maezawa Magariya which was designated as a preservation area for Important Traditional Building Group by the national government.

Hinoemata Village

Hinoemata Village is surrounded by Komagatake, Hiuchigatake and Mt. Taishaku, particularly, Hiuchigatake (2,356m) is the highest in Tohoku District. Stage of Hinoemata Kabuki which has been handed down from generation to generation from the Edo Period as designated as Important Tangible Folk Cultural Asset by the national government. It is a gate of Oze National Park in Fukushima Prefecture, and yellow day lilies are in full bloom in Oe Wetland in the middle of July.