• Culture
  • Akita

Iwasaki District in Yuzawa City

Explore the historical Iwasaki district lined with traditional soy sauce storehouses operating for more than 100 years

Located at the northern end of Yuzawa City in Akita Prefecture, the Iwasaki district is a historical town lined with traditional shops from the late 1800s to the 1950s. Traditional buildings such as the old soy sauce storehouses and old-style townhouses are reminiscent of the town that flourished back then as a transportation hub. It is also a place where various legends are still passed down to this day.

Iwasaki district

The Iwasaki district in Yuzawa City is rich in history as a transportation hub since ancient times, as well as a base of the magistrate's office in the Edo period (1603-1868). There are also several breweries that utilize the high-quality water of the area. Streets of black wooden fences, old townhouses and storehouses create a quaint townscape.

Ishimago Honten soy sauce brewery

With a climate suitable for soy sauce manufacturing and an abundance of quality water, breweries in Iwasaki has been known to produce high-quality soy sauce. Ishimago Honten was established in 1855, and the brewery's No. 2 to No. 5 warehouses built between the late 1800s and early 1900s stand along the road going from north to south of the premises, creating a picturesque townscape. The brewery has been designated a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property as a valuable building representing the historic industry of the Iwasaki district, and continues to produce miso and soy sauce using traditional techniques today.

Kashima-sama straw dolls

The 4-meter-tall straw dolls have been passed down in the Iwasaki district for several centuries, and three dolls are enshrined. Since ancient times, Kashima-sama dolls were worshipped for having a divine power to drive away evil things and spirits and plagues, and placed at the entrance of the village. Today, their clothes are changed twice a year, in the spring and fall, and festivals are held to pray for the safety of one's family and a good harvest. Kashima-sama has been highly acclaimed as an artistic ethnic resource created through its 2,000 years of Japanese rice farming culture. It was invited to the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in 1986, and is also exhibited in the National Museum of Japanese History in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture.

Location

Name Iwasaki District in Yuzawa City
Website (In Japanese) http://akitayuzawa.jp/midokoro0132.html
Address Chitose, Iwasaki, Yuzawa-shi, Akita
Access Approximately 10 minutes' drive from the Yuzawa IC on the Yuzawa-Yokote Road
Inquiries TEL: 0183-73-0415 (Yuzawa City Tourism and Production Association)

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