We spent a night at excellent hotel at the beginning of mountain area in Aizu. I can`t describe you what kind of pleasure it was to go to onsen, traditional japanese spa, after the whole day spent in bus and out in the cold. It was, of course, impossible to take a camera there but I will give you a link to a web site of a hotel where you can take a glance – unfortunately, web site is all in Japanese but I think you will be able to find links :happy: In the morning I could see beautiful karesansui – stone garden – in front of my hotel room window.
A small village Ohuchijuku was important during Edo era (XVII – XIX century) because it was on the Aizu Nishi road and in that time it served as an important lodging for Shoguns; all houses in a village remained in the same form as they were in the past, with thatched roofs and traditional restaurants where famous soba noodles were served.
A castle was built in 1384. by Ashina Naomori, feudal lord, who called it Higashi Kurokawa Yakata at the beginning. Gamo Ujisato daimyo built (in 1591.) a 7 floor black tower surrounded with canal – lake and 3 bridges that connected it to the rest of the area, and called it Tsuruga-jo, a Crane Castle. A tower itself wasn`t meant for living but only as observation point. Main buildings were placed all around. The castle was badly damaged in earthquake in 1611. and was rebuilt with a 5 floors white tower, as it looks like today.
In 1643. whole Aizu area was given to illegitimate son of shogun Hidetada Tokugawa, Masayuki. In recognition of his familial ties to the Tokugawa he was ofered surname Matsudaira and Tokugawa crest. From that times, Tsuruga-jo castle served as a main residence for 9 generations of Matsudaira family.
Masayuki passed down instructions to his descendants in the form of the house code. Some of them were:
– do not neglect military readiness
– take as fundamental the way of samurai
– do not confuse duties of the higher and lower ranks
– older brothers should be respected and younger brothers loved
– the words of women should be totally disregarded
– lawbreakers should not be treated with lenience
– other than elders, no one should have a voice in determining punishments and rewards
– if a retainer acts beyond his station, he should be dealth with strictly
– the money and rice set aside for emergencies are to be used for the common people and only in times of famine
– serve the shogun with single minded devotion; do not measure your loyalty by the standard of other domains; if any Aizu daimyo is disloyal to the Tokugawa house, he is no descendant of mine and on no account you are to obey him
The last instruction was maybe the most important one for the entire family, and obeying it was the main reason for Boshin war in 1868. and fall of the Matsudaira family, along with resigning of the last Tokugawa shogun, Yoshinobu.
A castle was totaly demolished in 1874,. after the order of government but was reconstructed in 1965. using modern materials. Today, tower serves as a museum of Aizu area. Photographing of the internal parts of tower is restricted so for the end of this part you can take a look from the 5th floor.
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This is the end of part two of Aizuwakamatsu post. There will be another one because even though I wanted to keep them as short as possible, this was the best I could come up with 😀 More photos here.