Tour Aizu and Nikko by Samurai-Themed Train

kengishu

Awaken your inner Samurai as you witness a world-famous samurai show first-hand and visit castles, shrines, and Edo-towns on this unique tour of Aizu and Nikko by SAMURAI TRAIN.

If you've ever been curious to see how Japan's modern love of trains would mesh with its samurai culture of old then behold, as Tobu Top Tours have put together a 2-day tour of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture and Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture by Samurai Train!

Departing from the modern metropolis of Tokyo, the Samurai Train will transport you across the ages with the help of an exclusive on-board "Kengishu Kamui" samurai show performed by the world-famous Kamui Samurai Artist Group that's guaranteed to light a samurai-fueled fire in your belly - did we mention the group's leader, Shimaguchi Tetsuro, directed the choreography in the early-2000s classic, Kill Bill: Vol. 1? 

The tour's first stop is Nikko, the site of a huge national park and a ton of beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Prepare to immerse yourself in the deeply profound aura surrounding Tōshō-gū Shrine, Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine and the resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the pioneering samurai warrior who went on to found the lengthy Tokugawa shogunate. Major restoration work in recent years has ensured the shrine remains in excellent condition and that its notable features such as Yomeimon (the main gate) and the Three Wise Monkeys are as splendid as ever - there's a reason the famous Japanese proverb goes, Nikko wo mizu shite "kekkō" to iu nakare (roughly translated into an English equivalent, "You've not seen anything until you've seen Nikko")!

Yomeimon of Tosho-gu ©JNTO

From Nikko the Samurai Train continues further north to Aizu, a former feudal domain said to have inherited the soul of bushidō (武士道, way of the warrior) from its strong association with the samurai centuries ago. Marvel at the thatched roof buildings that line Ouchijuku, a former Edo Period post town, and treat yourself to some of the delicious soba noodles and skewered char fish available from its many shops and restaurants - now you really are walking in the footsteps of samurai! At the end of the day, retreat to the plush Aizu Wakamatsu Washington Hotel, located in the centre of the city. 

The second and final day begins with the Nisshinkan Samurai Kyūdō experience - an opportunity to learn about Japanese Samurai Culture and try your hand at traditional Japanese archery. Luckily for you, your visit to 600 year-old Tsuruga Castle, the symbol of Samurai culture in Aizu, doesn't require you to put those newfound archery skills to the test in a battle for survival! Admission to the castle is included so be sure to bring your camera for up and close shots of one of Japan's most iconic and impressive sights. And finally before heading back to the concrete jungle, treat yourself to a spot of local produce shopping in the small town of Shimogo. 

Tsuruga Castle - Flickr @かがみ~

The tour will depart from Tokyo on three separate dates: 30 November6 December, and 13 December. For more information, including tour fees and detailed itineraries, check out www.samurai-train.com.

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