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Enzoji Temple (, Enzōji) is a Buddhist temple in the small town of Yanaizu, about a one hour train ride from Aizu Wakamatsu. The temple has a history stretching back 1200 years and is considered one of the three main temples in Japan dedicated to the Kokuzo Bosatsu, a bodhisattva whose wisdom is said to be as great as the universe.

The hillside temple's main hall is constructed in a similar style as Kiyomizudera's in Kyoto with a large balcony. Although Enzoji's balcony also used to be wooden, it was replaced by a concrete one in the postwar era. The rest of the hall is wooden and dates from the Edo Period.

The traditional approach to the temple starts at the bottom of the hill, and visitors have to climb about a hundred steps to the main hall. A less tiring approach is driving to the parking lot at the top of the grounds and walking a few steps down. The temple grounds are among the largest in Fukushima Prefecture, featuring numerous other temple buildings and monuments.

Enzoji Temple is also the birthplace of akabeko, the highly popular red cow that is sold in large numbers as paper-mache toy in the Aizu region. According to the legends, a mythical red bull helped to build Enzoji's original temple buildings, hauling the heavy materials up the hill. There are two bull statues near the main hall, the original one made of stone and a newer, metallic one. Many visitors rub the spots on the bull where they themselves wish for improvement, resulting in exceptionally smooth or worn out areas around the trouble areas afflicting many people.

Despite having its roots at Enzoji Temple, akabeko figures have been mainly produced in the neighboring castle town of Aizu Wakamatsu rather than in the local town of Yanaizu. This is because the decorative bulls were originally used as gifts from the local lord to the shogun and other dignitaries. The toy's bobbing head is a post-feudal invention and quickly overtook the stiff akabeko in popularity when it first came out.

Getting there and around

Enzoji Temple can be reached in a ten minute walk from Aizu-Yanaizu Station. From Aizu-Wakamatsu, Aizu-Yanaizu Station can be reached in about a one hour train ride by infrequent trains along the JR Tadami Line (680 yen one way).

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Hotels around Aizu

Top rated in Aizu
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    • Tagoto
      Mid-range
      Tagoto features a hot public bath, Japanese-style and Western rooms and Japanese cuisine, a 5-minute drive from Aizu Wakamatsu Station. It offers free Wi-Fi throughout the propert and free parking is on-site. Japanese-style rooms have a tatami (woven-straw) floor and traditional futon bedding, while Western rooms come with beds and an en suite bathroom. All rooms are air-conditioned and fitted with an LCD TV and a fridge. The restaurant offers local specialities, including the regionfs signature meppameshi rice dish and an Aizu Kaiseki multi-course dinner. Tagoto is a 7-minute drive from Tsuruga Castle and a 10-minute drive from Mount Iimori. The Noguchi Hideyo Memorial Museum is a 30-minute drive.
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    • Kutsurogijuku Chiyotaki
      Mid-range
      Boasting hot spring baths with mountain views, Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki is a 15-minute bus ride from JR Aizuwakamatsu Station. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and unwind in a private hot spring bath with views that was open in July 2017. Free WiFi is available in all rooms. All guest rooms have a flat-screen TV and an electric kettle. Slippers and a hairdryer are provided for guest's comfort. An on-site restaurant offers Japanese local cuisine and sake. There is a Japanese sake bar available on site from the evenings. You will find a shared lounge fitted with various books and complimentary tee and coffee. Guests can unwind in an open-air hot spring baths with mountain views on the top floor, and they can enjoy free access to hot spring baths at the sister property in the vicinity. Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is 100 metres from Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki, while Mount Iimori is 2.8 km from the property.
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    • Kutsurogijyuku Shintaki
      Mid-range
      Featuring 4 hot spring baths with free flowing spring water, Kutsurogijyuku Shintaki offers accommodation located a 15-minute bus ride from JR Aizuwakamatsu Station. Free WiFi and a restaurant are featured on site. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV and an electric kettle. Slippers and a hairdryer are provided in guest rooms. All guest rooms are non-smoking, while there is a designated smoking area on each guest floor. There is room service at the property. Local cuisine and various local rice wine can be sampled at the on-site restaurant. A shared lounge has books and complimentary tea and coffee for guests' comfort. You can play table tennis at the ryokan free of charge. Guests have an free access to a hot spring bath of a sister property nearby. Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is 100 metres from Kutsurogijyuku Shintaki, while Mount Iimori is 3 km from the property.
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    • Keikokubinoyado Kawane
      Luxury
      Located in Ashinomaki Onsen, kJ̏h쉹 provides air-conditioned rooms with private open-air hot spring bath. The property is situated 16 km from central Aizuwakamatsu and Aizuwakamatsu Castle is 14 km from kJ̏h쉹. Ouchijuku, featuring traditional buildings is 14 km from the property. The ryokan features a public hot spring bath, open-air hot spring bath and sauna. Free shuttle service to Ashinomaki Station is available. Luggage storage is available for guest's convenience. The rooms in the ryokan are fitted with a flat-screen TV. kJ̏h쉹 offers certain units that feature a balcony, and every room comes with an electric kettle. All units will provide guests with a fridge. Certain rooms feature Simmons mattresses. A traditional kaiseki (multi-course) dinner is served at the dining area. A buffet breakfast or Japanese-style breakfast is served each morning at the property.
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    • Onyado Toho
      Luxury
      Set in Aizuwakamatsu, 500 metres from Aizu Higashiyama Onsen, Onyado Toho features free WiFi access and free private parking. Free shuttle service is available from Aizuwakamatsu Station to the hotel on a first-come, first-served basis. You will find a kettle in the room. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers, free toiletries and a hairdryer. You will find shops at the property. Mount Iimori is 2.4 km from Onyado Toho, while Aizuwakamatsu Castle is 2.6 km away.
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    • Shosuke-no-Yado Takinoyu
      Luxury
      Featuring an open-air bath and views of mountain, Shosuke-no-Yado Takinoyu is a ryokan situated in a historic building in Aizuwakamatsu, 3.4 km from Mount Iimori. This 4-star ryokan offers a 24-hour front desk and a lift. The accommodation offers a hot spring bath, spa facilities, family-friendly restaurant and free WiFi. The ryokan will provide guests with air-conditioned units with a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a minibar, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. There is a seating and a dining area in all units. At the ryokan, each unit comes with bed linen and towels. A minimarket is available at the ryokan. The ryokan is located in a geothermal area, with a number of hot springs nearby for guests to relax in. For guests with children, the ryokan provides a baby safety gate and a children's playground. Guests can relax in the garden at the property. Aizuwakamatsu Station is 4.6 km from Shosuke-no-Yado Takinoyu, while Kitakata Station is 25 km away. The nearest airport is Fukushima Airport, 73 km from the accommodation.
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    • Hotel Route-Inn Aizuwakamatsu
      Mid-range
      Only a 5-minute drive from JR Aizuwakamatsu Train Station, Hotel Route-Inn Aizuwakamatsu features simple modern accommodations and a free-breakfast for all guests. Free wired internet is available in all rooms and you can refresh in the spacious public baths. Contemporary rooms are furnished with amenities from a flat-screen TV and a fridge, to nightwear and toiletries. An air humidifier and an extra pillow are available on request. Laptops can be rented at the front desk and a coin-operated launderette is on-site. Guests can relax in the massage chairs and use the free-use computers. The free breakfast buffet is available from 06:45-09:00 at the dining area. Hana-Hana-Tei serves Japanese favourites and sake from 18:00-22:00 (last order at 21:30, closed Sundays). Aizuwakamatsu Route-Inn Hotel is a 10-minute drive from Tsururga Castle and a 30-minute drive from Lake Inawashiro. Sazaedo is a 5-minute drive away.
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    • Aizuwakamatsu Washington Hotel
      Mid-range
      A 5-minute walk from JR Aizuwakamatsu Train Station, Aizuwakamatsu Washington Hotel offers accommodations with free Wi-Fi. Massages can be requested for an extra cost and guests can enjoy refreshments at the hotelfs cafe. The air-conditioned rooms feature a flat-screen satellite TV, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags. Japanese Yukata robes and toothbrush sets are provided for all guests. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer. Luggage storage is provided at the front desk. Free parking is available and photocopying services are provided for an extra cost. Washington Hotel Aizuwakamatsu is a 10-minute drive from Tsuruga Castle and a 5-minute drive from Sazaedo Shrine. The foot of Mount Iimori is a 25-minute walk away.
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    • Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu
      Mid-range
      3.5 km from Mount Iimori in Aizuwakamatsu, Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu offers accommodation with access to a sauna, hot spring bath and public bath. This 3-star ryokan offers a 24-hour front desk and a lift. The ryokan features rooms with air conditioning, free private parking and free WiFi. All units at the ryokan are fitted with a TV and a safety deposit box. There is a private bathroom with bidet in some units, along with slippers, a hair dryer and free toiletries. The units will provide guests with a fridge. The ryokan is located in a geothermal area, with a number of hot springs nearby for guests to relax in. You can play table tennis at the ryokan. Guests can also relax in the shared lounge area. Aizuwakamatsu Station is 4.7 km from Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu, while Kitakata Station is 25 km from the property. The nearest airport is Fukushima Airport, 73 km from the accommodation.
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    • Niko Ryokan
      Budget-friendly
      Located 3.8 km from Mount Iimori, Niko Ryokan offers accommodation in Aizuwakamatsu with access to a hot spring bath. This 2-star ryokan offers a 24-hour front desk and a shared lounge. The ryokan provides rooms with air conditioning, free private parking and free WiFi. At the ryokan, all units come with a desk and a TV. At the ryokan, all units are equipped with a shared bathroom with bathrobes and slippers. An Asian breakfast is available daily at the ryokan. The ryokan is located in a geothermal area, with a number of hot springs nearby for guests to relax in. Aizuwakamatsu Station is 5 km from Niko Ryokan, while Kitakata Station is 26 km away. The nearest airport is Fukushima Airport, 74 km from the accommodation.
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