Aizu is a mountainous region in Tohoku (North-East Honshu) with Aizu-Wakamatsu being the central city. The local government brands it the “samurai city”, and with good reason! During the Edo period, this was the home of exceptionally powerful feudal lords who educated and hired large amounts of samurai that were sent on missions all over the country. When war erupted between the shogunate and the Emperor’s forces, Aizu was the last samurai domain to be defeated, a narrative popularized in the West through the film “The Last Samurai”. Needless to say, this is a mecca for anyone interested in samurai history, but it is also a paradise in terms of natural beauty as it is filled with winding rivers and steaming hot springs, and it is surrounded by towering mountains in all directions.
Just a 40-minute bus ride from Aizu Wakamatsu Station, ryokan Ookawaso is a deluxe Japanese hotel where guests can take a dip in Ashinomaki's traditional hot springs and bask in the beauty of the Ookawa valley.
The bold greenery in spring, the cool Ookawa river in summer, beautifully colored red and orange leaves in autumn, and a magical snowscape in winter. Of the two buildings, the newer Yoimachitei sports a modern edge while Tsukimitei is more traditionally Japanese.
AIZUWAKAMATSU WASHINGTON HOTEL
Located just a few minutes' walk from JR Aizuwakamatsu Train Station, Aizuwakamatsu Washington Hotel offers rooms with a flat-screen satellite TV, a fridge, and an electric kettle as well as yukata robes. All rooms have a private bathroom.