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4 Things To Do In Aichi Prefecture For Culture Enthusiasts

A trip to Japan is always a welcome respite from work. I have been to the usual tourist spots—from Tokyo to Kyoto to Osaka. When an invitation came from the Aichi Prefecture Tourism Authority to visit Nagoya and its surroundings, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. 

Aichi Prefecture is a manufacturing hub with a rich cultural heritage. It is located roughly in the center of the Japanese archipelago and is bordered by Mie, Gifu, Nagano, and Shizuoka Prefectures. It's been a pivotal point for traffic between western and eastern Japan, and has flourished as a base for industries for centuries. Industries include ceramics in Seto and Tokoname, the automobile manufacturing in Toyota, and the woolen textile industry in Ichinomiya. The prefectural capital of Nagoya is the region’s largest and Japan’s fourth largest city. The City of Nagoya is the center of politics, economics, and culture of Aichi Prefecture.

1. For Beer Lovers: Visit the Kunizakari Sake Museum

Opened in 1985, the Kunizakari Sake Museum museum is the ideal place to learn about the history, preparation, and drinking of sake or “nihonshu.” Kunizakari literally means “the prosperity of the country”. The brewery is located in Handa City in the Chita Peninsula. At its peak, the Chita peninsula boasted of 227 sake breweries, but now only six remain. This building had been used for sake brewing for more than 200 years, and the first floor is still used to keep sake to this day.


2. Eat Seafood at Himaka Island

Catch a private boat from Katana fishing port to Himakajima Island to have lunch. The island is famous for its sea produce such as octopus (taco) and puffer fish (fugu).  


3. See a Rare Species of Cherry Blossoms

While ordinary cherry trees only bloom once in spring, the Obara shikizakura blooms once in spring, and again from October to December. The flowers begin to blossom at the end of October, and are at their peak from mid-November through early December. The peak period varies somewhat from year to year. Growing in all parts of the district, the trees number approximately 10,000. Among them, the Maehora Shikizakura, aged more than 100 years, has been designated a natural monument by Aichi Prefecture and is carefully protected. 


4. Visit the Okazaki Castle

For three centuries, the Okazaki castle, honored as the birthplace of the deified Iyeyasu and cradle of the Tokugawa Shogunate, was guarded by the hereditary vassal daimyos, who, though humbly fiefed, wielded enormous power. At the same time, Ozakazi was valued as a strategic point along the Tokaido Road. In the Meiji restoration period, the feudal clans were abolished. In 1873-1874, the castle was demolished, leaving only its moat and stone wall. In 1959, however, the three-tiered, five-floor donjon, together with the annex and well house, were masterfully reconstructed.


This article was originally published in Metro Society. Changes have been made for Metro.Style.