Kitakata is a small town located in northern Honshu (the main island) and is home to one of Japan's Three Greatest Ramen noodles, Kitakata ramen. Besides the ramen noodles, Kitakata is also well known for having many kura, or traditional storehouse style buildings and is nicknamed the "town of the kura" or Kura-no-machi.
Kitakata has long been known as the center of sake and miso production. Since kura are able to maintain a stable temperature and humidity throughout the year, they were built to store and preserve the products.
When the Great Fire of Kitakata broke out in 1880, only kura survived the fire, and therefore, many buildings afterward were built in the kura style afterwards. Nowadays, there are over 4,000 kura built all over the town.
Meet your guide at the Kitakata Station around 11:20am and head to lunch. You can try some Kitakata ramen or some locally-sourced food. After lunch, you will visit a kura yashiki (a kura that is used as a living quarter) of successful merchants.
After visiting a kura yashiki, you will visit a sembei specialty store where you will try and experience rice cracker making.
In Kitakata, you will find even kura-style temples. The main hall of the temple was re-constructed in the kura style after it was destroyed by the Great Fire of Kitakata. It is not easy to find such a temple in other parts of Japan.
Take a break at a wagashi (sweets) shop. Relax and enjoy wagashi sweets such as yokan (jellied dessert made of adzuki bean paste), manju (steamed bun) and many others at a shop built in the kura way with irori, or sunken floor hearth.
Visit saka gura from Edo-period where you can sip, taste and learn about the marvels of sake brewery at one of saka gura with over 200 years of history.
Then you can visit a shoyu gura. This shoyu gura, soysauce brewery, is made of persimmon trees and bricks. Many of KURA in Kitakata are soil lacquered and only privileged merchants were able to build such kura with their fortune. If you are lucky, you may get to taste their soy source.
Then you will visit a shikki store that has works handmade by craftsmen. Admire the beauty of Aizu shikki, lacquerware painted with region's original techniques. You can also create your own. Paint furin (windchimes), hand mirror, chop sticks or uchiwa (fan) with one of Aizu shikki technique called maki-e.
Please note: if you wish to make your own maki-e, the schedule may change.
At 5:30pm, your guide will take you back to Kitakata station.
JR line, Kitakata Station
If you cancel at least 7 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.
If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.
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On this guided tour, you will have special access to visit a local kura, a Japanese-style storehouse. You will see a variety of kura during the tour from saka gura (kura for brewing sake), shonin yashiki (kura used as living quarters by merchants) and jozo moto (kura for brewing soysauce).