Aizuwakamatsu – part II

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.

click for bigger resolution
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 πŸ˜€ More photos here.

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27 Responses to Aizuwakamatsu – part II

  1. edwardpiercy says:

    "the words of women should be totally disregarded"Hmmm. I never really considered that, but…:)More great stuff, Darko. Thanks again. BTW, why can't you take pictures inside that castle tower?

  2. rose-marie says:

    I couldn't find any pictures on the links, but a spa sounds fantastic :up:.Seems to be quite strict at Tsuruga-jo castle… :p

  3. gdare says:

    Ok, but let`s hope you and Mik will be able to go there by your own. It is much, much better :yes:

  4. gdare says:

    Thanks Kimmie. And I would like to go there again. In fact, I will go to Japan, maybe in a two or three years, I still don`t know. But there is something in that country that really moves. Or it is just me :left:

  5. Spaggyj says:

    I think I know what you're trying to say. I've never been, and I find the place so… So… Elegant, beautiful… Some history that stirs a sense of dignity and honour… I dunno I can't think properly. But I definately wish to see it. And if I can't, well, you can keep going there and be my eyes :up:

  6. Spaggyj says:

    *seething with jealousy* it's as beautiful as I imagined… And more fascinating, really! I have to go one day…

  7. ellinidata says:

    PS I did spotlight this post, I hope Opera directs here more members to read it ,because it is amazing!

  8. ellinidata says:

    the Tsuruga-jo looks like a Pagoda but it is not…. amazing pictures you got Darko! I am so proud of you and your accomplisements! :heart:

  9. thaodp says:

    It's wonderful to know these :up: Thank you very much, Darko.

  10. gdare says:

    Ed – I knew you will notice that πŸ˜€ Photographing was forbiden because of the flash sensitive documents and materials inside; it is museum nd in a few rooms I could see instruments for temerature and light control as well as for control of vibrations;Rose -here :DAngeliki – thank you :happy:Mit – I like to share my experiences with my friends in Opera communty :yes:

  11. Zaphira says:

    the words of women should be totally disregarded

    You probably knew I would notice this as well. This is the rule of a stupid, inferior man. He was probably afraid that if women were heard, people would discover that they were all wiser than him.Besides from that, it's an interesting post. I'd love to visit that spa as well, it looks fantastic. :up:

  12. SittingFox says:

    the words of women should be totally disregarded

    :eyes: :rolleyes:Spectacular buildings and fascinating history :yes:

  13. Dacotah says:

    Great post Darko.

  14. PainterWoman says:

    Another informative post Darko. Love the rock garden.

  15. Cois says:

    :up: excellent as always..Ok i got a few pennies saved already :yes:

  16. Dacotah says:

    Yay on another one. :irked: Not bother us about Japan. :p

  17. gdare says:

    Zaphira – as I mentioned, Masayuki Matsudaira was illegitimate son of shogun Tokugawa Hidetada; Hidetada had plans to make him a daimyo but his wife was very jealous, so at the beginning he was adopted by Hoshina Masamitsu, another daimyo; Masayuki was not able to meet his father until 1629. after Hidetada`s wife passed away;This is what history says. Maybe this was the reason for that. I don`t know really. And I have found all of this codes in some website about this family. It was not my intention to hurt anyone`s feelings as a woman. It was just interesting to me because this is insight into life of people of that era.Adele – thank you; I hope that previous explantion was enough to ease your confusion :)Carol – thank you; I will make another one and then stop bothering all of you about Japan :DPam – thanks, I am glad so many people like my posts; I just hope all of this is not just politeness :DCois – I have few eurocents too; I can borrow you all of them and you can pay me back in a year πŸ˜› then I will maybe need your help to get some money for my next trip πŸ˜€

  18. Dacotah says:


  19. gdare says:

    Yes Rose, I was there :happy:A snow was falling and we were out in one basin made of rocks, water was hot and snowflakes just fell on our heads; silence, just a sound of a hot water pouring inside πŸ™‚

  20. rose-marie says:

    Thanks for the pictures, Darko. Was that where you were? It looks very nice :up:.

  21. rose-marie says:

    Lovely! πŸ™‚

  22. ellinidata says:

    it is a fact that women were treated less than a man in many parts of the word,a reality that exists to this day, however history can not be half told because women today are speaking up and do reclaim their status in society.We gave those rightsup by trying to lure men with nonsense more than our intellegence…When the time comes that women stop wearing their lipstick as a weapon the equal rights will be ours…I hope my comment does not turn a fantastic posts to a men vs women field but I just wanted to saythe treatments of women did not come overnight and women have an 80% of the teach people how to treat you…I

  23. wickedlizard says:

    What a beautiful place!

  24. gdare says:

    Angeliki – noted :up:Isabel – It is nice, right πŸ˜€

  25. bomaki_chan says:

    I really enjoyed your fotos. i finaly made my album of my last holiday in Japan.please visit!

  26. gdare says:

    Hi Maki, nice to see you here again. I will go to visit it, for sure πŸ™‚

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