Day 1 – 蔵王:Birth place of the Samurai Legacy

真田幸村公血脈の郷-Real Samurai’s Birth Place


“We want the Samurai culture to pass from generation to generation, so that people won’t forget the spirit of true warriors.” Said Kazuhiko Hirama, who is the chief of tourism promotion sub-section of Zao Town.

s_4E4A9198 (2)

The ancestors of 真田 family used to be a large and famous Samurai family in Japan history, and I felt honored to visit this place of honor and duty. The samurai’s armors are multi-layered and are beautifully decorated no matter inside or outside.


In 真田幸村公血脈の郷, one can closely experience the Samurai culture, and also test some of the most unique local beverages and food.


The 真田の会 is their group to preserve the 真田 culture. “We honor and memorize our ancestors in a way, even it is not understood by others.”


In this fast-pace era everywhere, we shall not forget the spirit of warriors – their courage to face eternity. In a nutshell, we all need a code to live by.

The address of 真田幸村公血脈の郷 is as follows.

蔵王のグルメ.中華そば – The No.1 Noodle shop in Zao

“We moved to Zao many years ago, and stayed here ever since.” The owner of 麺王みらい herself is a real noodle lover, and she can tell even the slightest differences of Ramen even made by the same person.

The 麺王みらい is a sun-shine noddle restaurant, which you always wait for 5 minutes to eat as they are so popular. “Lots of people come to our places every day, and I like to see their smiles and happiness.”


“I decorate the noodles like painting, although not as complicated as that.” Said the chef of 中華そば. In fact, you may think twice before you ordered the “large” size I tried my very best but only finished half of it, before I couldn’t eat any more.

The address of 麺王みらい is as follows.

和菓子.玉浦屋-A Bakery House of more than 130 years

和菓子.玉浦屋 is a “father and son” baking shop with a history of over 130 years. Established by the father’s father’s father, their baking is worldly famous and you’d be lucky to have tested anything from their shop.


It’s amazing how the baking skills is passed and inherited generation after generation, and the proud of the chef reveals us that the skills are not merely inherited, but improved and adjusted according to the time and market.


The flavor and shape of their bakery may change from time to time, but the spirit and culture are of the same from generation to generation.


They also offer bakery lessons which provide you with the opportunity to closely interact with the real Japanese masters.

The address of 和菓子.玉浦屋 is as follows.

胸アトリエ花*花 -Ceramic Workshop With Love and Memory

“My husband used to make ceramics, and he was accompanied by his brother; I started making them with the love to my husband, I didn’t anticipate that one day I could be so good at this.” Hatsumi Suzuki became a real talented ceramic artist under the influence of his husband.

The room gives people very special feelings when you entered, as if time is stopped at the moment, all what left if nothing but memory.

“I love painting, and it’s a wonderful way to pass the time.” Hatsumi usually sits in her working shop and spend the whole day paint and decorate.


“When I look at those beautiful creatures, I think about times when I was younger. When painting ceramics, it’s like dressing young girls with colorful cloths.” All the painting material Hatsumi used are natural, and after painting for decades, she let her mind and thoughts flow freely when creating those master piece.


The address of 胸アトリエ花*花 is as follows. They also offer ceramic-making experience which provides you with the opportunity to closely interact with the real Japanese masters.

こけし館-Wooden Dolls That reflects the Inner of You

“Maybe one day I will leave my teacher and this place, but now I found my inner peace here.” Said one of his apprentice, who followed his step for over three years.


The こけし館 is a special place for the national-famous wooden dolls, they have exhibitions hall and teaching classes offered in the building. Each year, lots of people from other places and countries visit こけし館 and bring wooden dolls for themselves as well as their family friends.


The wooden doll making process is very complicated; as all dolls were hand-made, you cannot find two dolls exactly the same with each other.


The mood and feelings of the drawer are reflected on the wooden dolls, so those dolls are of different emotions and thoughts. Therefore, different people can always find the very one that represents the inner side of themselves from those dolls.


Everything about こけし館 is hand-making, and they have special art-crafts of other forms for sale as well. The address of こけし館 is as follows. They also offer doll-painting experience which provides you with the opportunity to closely interact with the real Japanese masters.

万風窯-The Ceramic Craft Shop of “Father & Daughters”


Instead of calling “dad”, they called him “Sensei (teacher)” even when there are guests around. Emiko and Mamiko learned their skills in ceramic making from their dad – Toyohara Manpuu a nationally famous pottery maker who have travelled around the world.


In order to produce ceramics, Toyohara Manpuu hand-built a smelter near his shop many years ago.


Inside the smelter, those little white dolls are the “smelter god”, which guards the furnace from fire hazard.


Manpuu’s latest work was this amazingly crafted golden shine bowl.


Two of their most proud product is the traditional ceramic cup, with which you can drink tea or coffee. The line and texture is because of the magical chemical reaction when they make them.


All staffs in shop are hand-made from the soil and mud of Zao by Japanese local master and his two “beautiful apprentices”.


The address of 万風窯 is as follows. They also offer ceramic-making experience which provides you with the opportunity to closely interact with the real Japanese masters.

ホテル.源兵衛-Luxury Outside, Cultural Within

“Live in our hotel for one night and you will see the most Japanese elements.” Indeed, in ホテル.源兵衛, you can always experience the Japanese-style living facility and food.

The first Japanese element I noticed, is the wall painting about the stories of the samurai.

The second Japanese element I saw, is the wonderful food which definitely is not merely a “feast for the eyes”.

The third Japanese element I am interested in, is the local products that are full of love and endeavor.

The fourth Japanese element I experienced, is the samurai costume, which take 20 minutes just to put it on.

The address of ホテル.源兵衛 is as follows.