Experience the rich samurai legacy of Aizu-Wakamatsu. The journey begins with a visit to majestic Tsuruga Castle, the former stronghold and center of life for the Aizu samurai and the cherished symbol of the city. From there, visit many other fascinating historical and cultural sites around the city to discover the stories of the people who embodied the samurai spirit—the same proud and welcoming spirit you will find in Aizu-Wakamatsu today.
The Samurai Spirit of the Aizu Domain
The life of a samurai was based on a moral code of conduct known as Bushido (the way of the warrior). Great importance was placed on values such as loyalty, courage, courtesy, mercy, frugality, and honor. Samurai were not a monolithic group and research suggests their lifestyle varied depending on the era and the region in which they lived. However, experts agree the Aizu samurai upheld the way of the warrior to the highest degree. Historical sites that bear witness to the samurai spirit can still be found in Aizu-Wakamatsu, and residents are very proud of their cultural heritage.
A righteous way of life
The Aizu samurai lived by the motto “Die in righteousness; do not live in unrighteousness.” This is reflected in two sets of rules for the Aizu domain’s forces, written in the late eighteenth century. One set was for the leaders and one set for the troops. The rules called for respecting the human rights of civilians, including not harming women, children, and the elderly, and refraining from destroying enemy homes, rice fields, and animals.
The Aizu samurai were also well-educated and knowledgeable about cultural activities such as the tea gatherings, poetry writing, and calligraphy, as well as martial arts, horse riding, and swordsmanship. Visitors can learn more about the samurai way of life at some of the well-preserved historical sites in Aizu-Wakamatsu.
This English-language text was created by the Japan Tourism Agency