My family and I moved to the UK earlier this year and we often cook Japanese dishes in our London home. I will share a recipe from my wife for Sauce Katsu-don, so I thought it only fair to introduce her hometown of Aizuwakamatsu (although I am from Fukushima city).
Aizuwakamatsu City is in the western part of Fukushima Prefecture. It retains a strong sense of history as a former castle town of the Aizu domain. The most famous local attraction is Tsuruga-jo
, which looks especially stunning in the spring surrounded by cherry blossoms, and in the winter covered in snow.
There are numerous legacies of the samurai age in Aizu Wakamatsu, and the influences of samurai society remain strong today. Although Aizu lost in the Boshin war at the end of the Edo period, the history of its samurai is popular across Japan - particularly that of the Byakkotai (young teenage samurai of the Aizu domain).
Aizu is also famous for traditional crafts and souvenirs such as urushi-nuri (lacquerware) and decorative candles. The traditional dolls, Okiagari-koboshi, are also well-known. They are dolls made from papier-mache and designed so that they always return to an upright position if knocked over.
There are also a lot of Sake breweries in Aizu. In fact, this year's champion of the International Wine Challenge Sake Competition
was Homare Sake brewery from Kitakata - the northern part of Aizu Region (although this is not in Aizuwakamatsu city itself).