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Step 3/15: Japan - Shiroishi

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About Shiroishi

While I wouldn't describe it as the next hot tourist destination, this sleepy village (population 30,000, apparently) is a tiny gem. I am however, immoderately biased, I lived here for one year. Shiroishi itself is a tiny water canal town, home to what is claimed to be the most exact replica of an ancient castle in Japan. The surrounding area is also comprised of outstanding natural beauty. The roads to the south lead out into the mountains, through deep valley gorges housing tiny Japanese onsen; and to the north, head towards the shimmering lights of the prefectural capital, Sendai. In Spring the cherry blossoms around the castle are stunning, in summer the soothing canals provide respite from the heat, in autumn the persimmons are plentiful, and in winter the town spends its weekends on the local ski slope. The town specialty, umen, is a type of Japanese noodle made solely from flour and water. Umen is absolutely delicious, and incredibly light. A brilliant way to end the day.
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How I got here ?

Price: 6 £

Traveling time: 1 hours

Local trains from Sendai are frequent. They are also available from Fukushima. Shiroishi also has a shinkansen station: Shiroishizao, providing quick access to Tokyo.

Tips & Tricks

  • People don't speak much English, but in doubt try asking the school aged kids!
  • You can rent a bike from the train station here, it's the best way to get around

Things to see

Shiroishi Castle 0 /10
2.5 £
Shiroishi Castle photo by Jenni Yau

User's opinion
The castle is supposed to be the best restored castle in Japan owing to its reconstruction with traditional methods and materials. There is a great samurai festival here every October, there's a recreation of the battle which took place here and ninjas (firemen) that slide down the outside of the castle!
Shiroishi Samurai House 0 /10
- €
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User's opinion
The samurai house is actually an original which was donated to the city council approximately 20 years ago. It sits across a small moat with a little thatched roof, right behind the castle.
Smile Hiroba 0 /10
- £
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User's opinion
Smile Hiroba is a small square off the main street in Shiroishi. It doesn't look like much, but usually at least one Saturday a month there is something going on, from local market, to music concert. Just follow your ears.
Umen-ya 0 /10
7 £
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User's opinion
Yes, even a tiny sleepy little town like Shiroishi has a specialty food! Shiroishi umen is a thin white noodle, like a lighter, thinner, tastier version of soba! It is served cold with a soy based dipping sauce and never fails to put a smile on my face. The best restaurant in my mind is just opposite the train station. The owner and his wife are charming and always ready to help!