Shirakawa historic sites tour: day 3, Nov. 15, 2018. (白河史跡巡り3日目 古墳群 2018年11月15日)

Today I headed towards eastern part of Shirakawa mainly along the Abukuma River and visited ancient kofuns (tumuli or burial mounds) and demolished temple ruins.

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Photos above show the largest kofun I visited today called Shimousazuka Kofun built in late 500’s. Large mound area spreading on a field in front was the kofun site which was 71.8m long keyhole shape type. It was considered that local powerful clan at Shirakawa at the time was buried in here. Most of the surrounding areas were now rice fields.

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Very close to this kofun site, ancient demolished temple site was excavated which was called Kariyado temple ruins. At the site shown above there were only some remains of foundations left but many artifacts were already taken out and preserved in museums. The temple existed between 700’s and 900’s.

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Earlier in the morning on the way toward east, I visited some more different types of kofuns. One of them was shown above named Yachikubo Kofun estimated to be built in late 600’s. A part of the stone structure was revealed on the surface but the whole shape was round type of 17m diameter.

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Another kofun site was Nojikubo site located very close to the Yachikubo site. The actual kofun was hiding underground and I could only see the location site in a wood as shown above. The type of this kofun, which was round at the top and square at the bottom, was a rare type across Japan. The time of this kofun was considered to be the late 600’s which was the same as Yachikubo.

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The last kofun site I visited today was Zaruuchi Kofun now moved and restored on the ground of Kochinodai Park located close to the original site. It looked as shown above. It was a round kofun of a diameter of 11.5m estimated to be built in 600’s.

Some other historic sites I stopped at today are shown below.

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Photo above shows Utatanenomori site where a powerful general Minamoto-no-Yoshiie (1039-1106) was said to have taken a nap here.

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Photo above shows Otaki Spring where the general Minamoto-no-Yoshiie loved during “Zenkunennoeki” battle in Tohoku (1051-1062).

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Photo above shows foot of Mt. Shinchi which had a nickname “Hitowasurezu-no-yama”. This word frequently appeared in Japanese Waka poem in the old days.

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Finally I stayed overnight at Kitsuneuchi hot spring inn as shown above located in the easternmost part of Shirakawa.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Aizu flower Himesayuri at Yuridaira, Tadami, June 7, 2018. (只見 百合平 の ヒメサユリ 2018年6月7日)

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(Himesayuri or Lilium rubellum at Yuridaira, Tadami, June 7, 2018. 只見町 百合平 の ヒメサユリ 6/7/2018)
Today I traveled to Tadami Town which was said to be the largest wild habitat of Himesayuri or Lilium rubellum. The plant only grows in Aizu region and the neighborhood and is designated as Near Threatened. I visited Yuridaira hill which is only 20-minute walk from JR Tadami Station. The plant was at its best season today as shown in a photo above. All kinds of flowers have been running earlier and shorter than usual this year and Himesayuri was not an exception. But today it seemed I was at the right place on the right day.

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(Himesayuri or Lilium rubellum at Yuridaira, Tadami, June 7, 2018. 只見町 百合平 の ヒメサユリ 6/7/2018)
Photo above shows a view on the hill with many wild Himesayuri flowers blooming here and there.

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(Himesayuri or Lilium rubellum at Yuridaira, Tadami, June 7, 2018. 只見町 百合平 の ヒメサユリ 6/7/2018)
Photo above shows opposite side view overlooking the town of Tadami.

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Another close-up view of the multiple flowers is shown above.

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Then I stopped at Furusatokan Tagokura as shown above, which was a small museum of collection of history documents, photos, and old living tools focused on former Tagokura village. The 290-people village sank in the bottom of Tagokura Dam in 1959 for building a hydroelectric power station. It was a good and compact museum with in-depth explanation by a curator. The location is 5-minute from JR Tadami Station.

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In the afternoon, I moved to Aizuyokota Station of JR Tadami Line, actually by substitute JR bus service because the train in this part was still suspended. From the station, I walked for a while enjoying beautiful Tadami River view along the way like shown above.

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My destination was Tansansui Well or a rare kind of natural carbonated water well in Kaneyama Town as shown above. It was about 15-minute walk from Aizuyokota Station.

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Photo above shows a close-up view inside the well. You can see bubbles coming up on the surface of the well water, which means it is carbonated. Anybody can draw the water using the kettle and taste it. It was cool, excellent and refreshing.

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A brief description board on the site as shown above explained a long history of the well.

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Then my last destination today was Oshio Onsen hot spring which was about 10-minute walk from the Tansansui well. The public bus house is shown above. The carbonated chloride spring water welled up naturally with the temperature of 38.3 degrees Celsius. The color was reddish blown and was said to be good for healing cuts and back pain among other things.

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Right next to the public bus, there stood a Minshuku or a private inn named Tatsumiso as shown above.

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The back of the inn was the Tadami River as seen from the room just like above.

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The next day I climbed halfway up Mt. Gamo which was said to have another Himesayuri habitat in the middle of the slope. Although I dared to climb the risky and rocky mountain about 500m above sea level, I found that most of Himesayuri flowers were finished. So I decided to return and just took a picture shown above. It shows Tadami Line track in the center, which is now still suspended but is scheduled to restart operation by the end of fiscal year 2021.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Snow scenery and JR Tadami Line in Aizu, Dec. 19-20, 2016 (会津の雪景色と 只見線 2016年12月19-20日)

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Winter weather pattern brought some amount of snow in Aizu Region during the last few days. But yesterday snow stopped and it turned to warm weather. I decided to visit Aizu for a couple of days to see snow scenery. I traveled from Aizuwakamatsu Station on JR Tadami Line and after about 2-hour ride I got off at Aizumizunuma Station in Kaneyama Town. I started to walk along National Route 252 towards Aizunakagawa Station which was 6km away. On the way I watched JR Tadami Line train which runs along the Tadami River through snow-covered landscape. Although snow was not heavy enough to cover the whole mountainside in white, the scenery gave me a year-end winter atmosphere. A photo above shows a view near Oshi village of Kaneyama Town. (Location: viewpoint #1 in the map.)

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Photos above show other views from near Aizumizunuma Station, where Tadami Line train travels through a bridge over the Tadami River. (Location: viewpoint #2 in the map.)

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Along the National Route 252 between Aizumizunuma and Aizunakagawa Station, there were some scenic places such as shown above including Ueda Dam or Ueda Hydroelectric Power Station.

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There is an excellent hot spring, which is called Hayato Onsen, down the river just across the border with adjacent Mishima Town. Tsurunoyu is a major hot spring facility which is about 10-minute walk from JR Hayato Station. It has a day use service as well as a simple accommodation without meals. Photos above show a view of the main building, a separate building for stay without meals, and one (small type) of hot spring baths. The sodium-chloride hot spring water wells out at 52 degrees Celsius. The bath is very natural without heating, nothing added, with source spring water just pouring into the bath unlimitedly.

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Photo above shows a bakery in front of Aizunakagawa Station. It has a variety of bread for lunch where I used to stop and buy some every time I come here. The breads were actually baked in Aizuwakamatsu City where the family members work.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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