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During the event, eight districts within Kitakata City gather their soba for the "Soba Festa," sake from local breweries throughout the prefecture are gathered for the "Sake Festa," and ramen shops selected from areas around the country gather for the "Ramen Festa." "Kanjiki Walk" for trekking the Sannokura Highlands in winter will also be held.
There are various cherry blossom viewing spots throughout Kitakata City, such as the Shidare-zakura along the Nicchusen Memorial Bicycle and Pedestrian Road. During the cherry blossom festival, limited-time only menu items and souvenirs are available.
Events, such as the Hanabatake Walk Rally, are held at the Sannokura Highland rapeseed field, and the field is illuminated at night. There is a local goods vending corner, and you can eat apple pie made with honey from the Sannokura Highland flower field at Yamagoya Kurara.
This area recreates the townscape of the Showa era and the festivals that were held back then, which were filled with a dynamic energy. During the event, cars from the Showa era line the street at the Retro Motor Show. Other numerous programs are also held.
The "Aizubandaisan Shosuke Odori" dance is performed throughout town to the folk song "Aizubandaisan." To pray for a plentiful autumn harvest, the powerful rhythm of the drums reverberate in the "Aizu Kitakata-kuradaiko-enso" performance, and the "Kodomo-matsuri-bayashi," children's festive music performance, is also held. The rows of lanterns elegantly light up the festival. The festival reaches its peak with the final performance of competing drums in the "Taikodai-kyoen"
Sannokura Ski Resort, which overlooks the entire Aizu valley, boasts one of Japan's largest sunflower fields where 2.5 million sunflowers bloom across approximately 8 hectares of ski slope. The sight of the carpet of flowers and the naturally woven landscape will force you to gasp at its awe-inspiring beauty. On Miharashi-no-oka (hill with a view) there is a "bell of happiness."
Symbol of autumn in Aizu. Approximately 30 hot air balloons from around the country gather here. The site of all of them rising together is definitely worth seeing. On the first day of the event, the collaborative fireworks show, "Night Glow" is held. On both days, a limited number of people on a first-come-first-served basis can experience riding in a hot air balloon (for a fee).
This is a Buddhist temple of the Soto sect (of Zen Buddhism) that was built by the Buddhist monk Kuukai at the beginning of the Heian period. The Kannon statue is on your left as you climb the splendid stone steps and pass through the temple gate, Senju Kannon is the shrine’s principal deity. You will feel rejuvenated strolling through the lush greenery.
Uryu Iwako, born in 1897, is thought to be the ancestor of the founder of the Atsushio Onsen Yamagata Hotel. Despite experiencing many hardships in her life, she established a school with her own funds and dedicated her life to helping orphans and the poor. She is affectionately known as “Japan’s Florence Nightingale.” The statue of her at Jigenji temple still watches over people today.
There is a small public bath on the top of the hill in the hot spring town. It has separate baths for men and women. Each bath can accommodate 4 or 5 people. The endless flow of fresh, superior quality spring water makes it a popular bathing spot in Atsushio.
Located about 10 minutes’ walk uphill is the Onsen Jinja shrine. Its origins are unknown, but it is thought that the gods have been watching over Atsushio’s local population and its water for many years. There is a 1000-year-old Japanese cedar tree in the shrine grounds, creating a unique atmosphere, with a circumference of 6.5 meters it is one of the largest cedars in the prefecture.
The heat of Atsushio Onsen is thought to keep bathers warm for a while, even after exiting the bath, for this reason it has long been known as a “kodakara no yu,” or fertility onsen. It is located next to the hotel’s souvenir shop in a hollowed-out rock resembling a cave. Many people come to pray in front of the Jizo statue.
Next to the hotel there is a large horse chestnut tree with a hollowed-out area around the roots. It is called the God of ears because it looks like an ear canal. There is a unique custom which consists of making an ear-shaped hole in the bottom of a bowl to improve one’s hearing.
Until 1984, Kitakata and Atushio were connected via the Nitcchuu line of the old Japanese National Railway. After the train line was closed, Atsushio Station was preserved as a memorial building, complete with train carriages which you can board. Many train lovers come to visit this well-loved spot.
Sannokura Ski Resort overlook Atsushio Onsen. They are famous not only in winter, but also in spring when the Nanohana flowers bloom and in summer when the area is full of sunflowers. In total, there are 8 hectares of sunflower fields-a particularly impressive site.