BEAUTY OF JAPAN

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Discover Kitakata - Local Temples and Shrines Guided Tour by Chartered Vehicle

2016.06.22

Introduction

■History
Kitakata, a small town located in Tohoku, northern Honshu is home to one of Japan's Three Greatest Ramen noodles, Kitakata ramen. With roughly 120 ramen shops in town, Kitakata has the highest ramen shop-per-person ratio in all of Japan and known as ramen town. In Kitakata, you can eat ramen any time of the day. Some shops even open from 7am for Asa Rah, a unique custom of the region - "Morning ramen" or "Ramen for breakfast".

Besides the ramen noodles, Kitakata is also well known for KURA, traditional storehouse style buildings and is nicknames as KURA no Machi - "town of KURA". Kitakata has long been known as centre of sake (rice wine) brewery and miso (soy bean paste) production. KURA, able to maintain stable temperature and humidity throughout a year, were built to store and preserve the products.
When the Great Fire of Kitakata broke out in 1880, only KURA survived the fire and many of buildings were built by KURA style afterwards. At present day in Kitakata, there are over 4,000 KURA built all over the town - from main streets to back alleys, the largest number of KURA in Japan and many of them still in use.

On this tour, you will visit various religious sites in Kitakata - Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and also Kitakata's iconic KURA to explore its history and culture. It is worth to take a note that religious sites in Kitakata are often unique and have long and distinguished history. You will also see a number of precious cultural assets, for example, one of Japan's largest Senju-kannon, Thousand Armed Avalokiteshwara curved out of a piece of wood which remains rooted in the ground.

■Highlights
- Enjoy authentic Kitakata ramen, one of Japan's Three Greatest ramen noodles.
- Stroll around the town of Kitakata and discover and experience its history and culture - you will find picturesque KURA around you.
- Visit unique and distinctive religious sites of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines by Chartered Vehicle.

■Sample itinerary (11:20AM-5:30PM)
11:20AM Meet a guide at Kitakata Station (About 90 minutes train ride from JR Koriyama station.)
- Pick-up from Koriyama station by a private car can be arranged at additional fees upon request.

Visit saka gura with tradition and elegance from Edo-period
- Founded over 200 years ago in Edo period, this is a saka gura with history. Key to their highly valued sake, sourcing water from subterranean river just outside the brewery, so fresh and clean. You will learn how sake is brewed, and you are also welcome to taste different sake they brew.

Lunch
- Enjoy Kitakata ramen noodle, or local gourmet cooked from locally grown products at a restaurant with traditional atmosphere.

Visit Shinto shrine and its worship hall
- Visit a Shinto shrine with a sacred gingko tree of over 600 year-old, a shrine which enshrines one of Japan's sacred sites of Kumano Sanzan, Kumano's three major shrines. The shrine had been worshipped by local samurai as a guardian god in old days. It was also been a place for Shugendo, for practitioners of austerity. Repository of the shrine is open for public.

Visit historic Buddhist temple
- Located on a cliffside is a Buddhist temple built over 1,200 years ago. This temple is believe to be the origin of local Aka-beko legend.
* Aka meaning "red" and beko meaning "ox" in Tohoku dialect, you will find many folk toy of ox painted in red in the region. Learn more about Aka-beko and its legend from your guide.

Explore one of the largest Buddharupa in Japan
This buddharupa is 8m in length and one of the largest buddharupa in Japan carved out of a piece of wood. At Kannon-do Hall, there is a sacred pillar called "Dakitsuki bashira". Hug the pillar and make a wish - you will not suffer from illness and able to rest in peace.

Take a break at wagashi sweets shop
- Relax and enjoy wagashi sweets of yokan (jellied dessert made of adzuki bean paste), manju (steamed bun) and many others at a shop build by KURA style with irori, sunken floor hearth.

Visit shikki store
- Handmade by craftsperson, admire beauty of Aizu shikki, lacquer ware painted with region's original techniques. You can also create your own -paint furin (wind-bell), hand mirror, chop sticks or uchiwa (fan) with one of Aizu shikki technique called maki-e.
* Tour schedule may change should you wish to try maki-e.

Tour finished at 5.30pm, your guide will take you back to Kitakata station.

Please inquire us for more;
Visit kura yashiki
- Visit kura yashiki (KURA used as living quarter) of successful merchants who built fortune by various business such as silk-reeling, soy bean paste production and soy source brewery. Enjoy one of the largest and most splendid KURA in Kitakata.

Visit unique KURA style temple
- In Kitakata, you will find even temple is KURA style. The main hall of the temple was re-constructed by KURA style after it was destroyed by the Great Fire of Kitakata. It is not easy to find such temple in other parts of Japan.

Visit sembei specialty store
- Try and experience sembei (rice cracker) making. With over 100 years of history, you will see sembei grilled over charcoal one by one by hand at the store.

Visit shoyu gura
- This shoyu gura, KURA used as soy source brewery, is made of persimmon trees and bricks. Many of KURA in Kitakata are soil lacquered and only privileged merchants were able to build such KURA with their fortune. If you are lucky, you may get to taste their soy source.

*Pricing: please inquire us.

Tour Detail

Tour Style
Available language: English
Group Size
Min. 1 person
Max. 6 persons
(Please inquire us for a party of 7 or more.)
Duration
6 hours
Destination
What's Included
- Guide
- Admission fee to facilities
- Private vehicle
What's not Included
- Transportation fee to/from meeting point
- Food and beverage
Tour Tips
Booking process
1. Please contact us for availability and pricing through ‘BOOK IT’ button below.
2. We will check the availability and come back to you within 1 business day.
3. Payment request will be sent.
4. Reservation will be confirmed upon payment is received. Confirmation e-mail will be sent to you.

Payment method: Paypal, wire transfer, and bitcoin
*Payment needs to be made in advance

Cancellation Policy
Reservations may be cancelled without a charge up to 8 days prior to the program date.
Reservations cancelled less than 3 days before the program date will incur the following charges:
- Between 7 days and 3 day: 30% of the program charge
- Between 2 days and 1 day: 80% of the program charge
- Less than a day or no show: 100% of the program charge
*Time in JST