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Shimogo in Aizu, Fukushima

This video, titled "Shimogo Promotion Video" (下郷町プロモーションビデオ), was uploaded by "ShimogoKanko."
Shimogo is located in the center of Fukushima in Japan's Tohoku region.
The area was known as Aizu until the Edo period (1603-1868) and it's a sightseeing spot with many charms.

In Shimosato, there's a mountain in the direction of the rising sun where the gods are said to rest.
You'll also find Kannon-numa Forest Park at the foot of the mountain, which can be seen from 2:39 in the video.
You can enjoy the natural scenery of the four seasons nurtured by the harsh climate of Aizu, and in fall, the area around the swamp is decorated with the colorful, beautiful autumn foliage.
This article will provide information on recommended sightseeing destinations in Shimogo, where the blessings of Japan's rich natural environment, scenery, history, and culture are intertwined, alongside the video.

A Tour That Connects the Past and Present

Image of Ouchi-juku in autumn, Shimogo, Fukushima
Photo:Ouchi-juku in autumn, Shimogo, Fukushima

The history of Aizu was a series of turbulent events that were swallowed up by the swell of Japan's modernization.
It's said that after the Meiji Restoration, the Aizu clansmen were forced to move to an undeveloped area called Nakatsuma, where they established Minami Aizu.
The traditions such as the Hange Festival and Ouchijuku Snow Festival shown from 3:18 in the video, were handed down from their ancestors.
Shimogo is a town where ancient Japanese culture and traditions remain and where the present meets the past.

Fukushima is best visited during winter as the snowfall in the region creates beautiful landscapes.
There is an event called "Mizuki-no-hana-dango" (みずきの花団子) during Little New Year.
It is an event to pray for health and longevity and colorful dumplings are stuck into the branches of trees that haven’t yet sprouted.
This is a unique Japanese custom in Aizu to enjoy the long winter.
This can be seen from 3:33 in the video.

Sightseeing Information for Shimogo

Image of Shimogo, Fukushima, To-no-Hetsuri
Photo:Shimogo, Fukushima, To-no-Hetsuri

The beautiful scenery of the nature-rich town of Shimogo has always amazed the tourists who come to see it.
To-no-Hetsuri, a marvelous landscape created by the Aga River (阿賀川, Agagawa), is a photogenic spot that you don't want to overlook when sightseeing in Aizu.
Also, the buckwheat fields of Sarugaku Plateau is a place where Aizu clansmen lived through the turbulent times of Japan from the end of the Edo period to the Showa period.
These can be seen at 2:12 in the video.

The Aizu Line is a popular line with direct access to the Tokyo metropolitan area and is full of peaceful views.
From 2:07 in the video, you can see mountain cherries in Toaka, and at 3:51the Nakayama Snow, Moon, and Fire Festival, where igloos and lights decorate a snowy Aizu.
There are many popular sightseeing spots in Shimogo, Fukushima, including a snowshoe experience which is filled with the wisdom of Fukushima's ancestors who have lived through the harsh winters.

The Food Culture of Shimogo, Fukushima

Image of Minamiaizu's local cuisine, Shingoro
Photo:Minamiaizu's local cuisine, Shingoro

The Aga River, a quiet, clear stream flowing through Shimogo, is an important river that nurtures abundant life and is necessary for preserving the local culinary culture of Aizu.
Upstream, there are many hot spring hotels and inns where you can enjoy a steamy atmosphere.
You can relax at hot springs such as Yunokami Onsen after a long day of sightseeing.

Fukushima is also famous for rice production.
Shingoro is a local delicacy of Shimogo. It's made by rolling up a special type of rice, sticking it on a skewer, coating it with Junen (a kind of egoma) miso, and grilling it over charcoal.
At the roadside station and Shimogo Town Local Products Center, you can find a different kinds of souvenirs of local food, such as soba noodles and local sake.

Summary of Shimogo, Fukushima

Image of Shimogo, Fukushima
Photo:Shimogo, Fukushima

The spirits and thoughts of the Aizu clansmen who lived through the turbulent times in Japanese history can still be found in Shimogo.
The ancient traditions are kept alive by the people who love their town.
The Shingo Furusato Festival, Shingoro, and Hana-dango during Little New Year are designed to heal the hearts of tourists, and to keep the healing alive, they will be passed on to the future.

Please enjoy the attractions of Shimogo, Aizu, Fukushima, a town with beautiful, traditional Japanese scenery, by watching this video.

【Official Website】Aizu Shimogo Town, Fukushima Prefecture Town Hall Website
https://www.town.shimogo.fukushima.jp/

【Tripadvisor】Shimogo Town
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g1120990-Activities-Shimogo_machi_Minamiaizu_gun_Fukushima_Prefecture_Tohoku.html

Written By
Sep. 15, 2020
Japan
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori
Shimogo in Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture, Spins a Tale of Past and Present. Here You'll Find Traditions Handed Down by the Ancestors of Japan and a Traditional Japanese Spirit That Protects the Town
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