Aizu-Wakamatsu: Quick Wrap-Up

Here are a few odds-and-ends photos from around Aizu...
 This is an akabeko. A red cow. I've discussed the red cow before; it is the symbol of the Aizu region and is thought to be able to ward off diseases like smallpox.
 Right outside the station, a giant akabeko greets new visitors. Like the smaller, original akabeko toys, this one's head moves. The traditional toy souvenir that most people buy in Aizu is an akabeko.
 Inside the train station, this small display was set up for visitors to take their photo. In the background is an at-the-time unused mascot costume; I later saw this costume in use...
 Along with this one! Although, when I took this photo, the castle mascot wasn't being "worn" either. Remember, Aizu's castle is famous for its red roof.
 I spent one night in Aizu, sleeping in a hotel right next to the station. This is not my hotel, but it is a pretty cool building near it.
 My hotel is visible in this photo (Hotel alpha-one). It was comfortable, convenient, and relatively inexpensive. But I took this shot because of the dozens of birds resting on the wires. I don't know what drew them to that spot in the middle of summer; there wasn't any food source that I could see. They were chatting up a storm, too, and I crossed the street to avoid any falling ... objects from the birds. I should note that I didn't hear the birds inside my hotel room...
 This is Kitakata ramen. It's a soy sauce-based ramen, with thicker chewy noodles and lots of pork slices. Or, it's pretty close to Kitakata. I got this in Urabandai at the visitor's center at the western end of the Goshikinuma Trail. It's good ramen, but not the best I've had. My favorite comes from Kyushu.
You can get to Aizu from Tokyo in two separate ways. JR Rail Pass users and most tourists will take the bullet train to Koriyama Station, and the Ban-etsu Line west to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. This way takes about 3.5 hours.

The nicer route starts in Asakusa, via the Tobu SkyTree/Isesaki/Nikko Line. It takes a little longer - about four hours, but it too involves only one transfer. Half the journey is via the Aizu Mount Express, a tourist train that looks more traditional; both trains are comfortable rides. It's actually cheaper to go this route, saving about 2000 yen ($20). Add to that the ability to go to Nikko on the way - spending one day in Nikko and one in Aizu would make for a historic weekend.

That's the end of my summer vacation. I still have a few more vacations to post photos from! So, until then...

No comments:

Post a Comment