A hot spring resort area in a historic castle town in Aizu-Wakamatsu
Higashiyama Onsen hot spring was discovered by Gyoki, a monk who was highly respected by many people around 1300 years ago. It has remained very popular for the quality of its waters, which are believed to be effective for maintaining beautiful skin, and also for the stunning natural features that surround it: cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in early summer, colorful leaves in autumn and bountiful snowfall in winter. Other attractions are the entertainment offered by Higashiyama Geigi, or Karariko, who sing and dance at dinner parties.
Higashiyama Geigi "Karariko-san"
In this hot spring resort area, located about 3 kilometers southeast from the iconic Tsuruga Castle of Aizu-Wakamatsu City, there are around 20 hotels with hot spring baths along the Yugawa River. Karariko-san, or Geigi, are traditional female entertainers who visit these hotels. Since Higashiyama Geigi first appeared in the Edo Period (1603-1868), their skills and traditions have been passed down through the generations. When the Higashiyama Onsen Bon Dance Festival is held for about a week in mid-August, all Geigi in the area dance in yukata (summer cotton kimono) to the famous local tune "Aizu Bandaisan."
The Higashiyama Onsen area once flourished as a retreat for the Aizu Domain in the Edo Period. Some hotels lay claim to be the settings for some interesting historic episodes. For example, one has its origin as a second home of the Matsudaira Clan, who reigned the Aizu domain, while another was the vacation resort designated by the Aizu Domain. Yet another is famed as the place where Toshizo Hijikata, a famous warrior of the late Edo Period, came to heal the wounds he suffered in battle. This area, only 10 minutes by car from the center of Aizu-Wakamatsu City, is surrounded by beautiful nature and is the ideal starting point of any journey to explore the Aizu region.
|Address||110 Yumototakinoyu, Higashiyama-machi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima|
|Access||Approximately 15 minutes by bus or taxi from JR Aizu-Wakamatsu Station
Approximately 20 minutes' drive from the Aizuwakamatsu IC on the Ban-etsu Expressway
|Inquiries||TEL: 0242-27-7051 (Aizu Higashiyama Onsen Tourism Association)|