Maizuru East and West: Tour Two Sides of Kyoto's Port City

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    • 2021-01-04

Maizuru: A Port City With Two Sides

Maizuru is a port city in northern Kyoto. The western half of the city is home to a fishing harbor with a traditional neighborhood built during the Edo Period (1603 - 1868). The east features naval ruins and western architecture from the Meiji Era (1868 - 1912). The two halves of the city each have their own unique characteristics and wonderful places to visit.

The Historical Streets of Western Maizuru

The history of Maizuru starts in its western half.

During Japan's warring states period, the feudal lord (*) Hosokawa Fujitaka commissioned the construction of Tanabe Castle. The city was later named after the castle's other name—Bukaku Castle—written in the same kanji characters as Maizuru.

Shortly before the warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tanabe Castle was besieged by the anti-Tokugawa army for two months.

Hosokawa used his military prowess to resist the opposing army of 15,000 troops. By preventing Tanabe Castle from falling into enemy hands, Hosokawa contributed to Tokugawa's victory and was later rewarded by the warlord himself.

Except for the castle tower, the original structure no longer remains. However, you can visit the castle museum to get a glimpse of its original glory. The castle's Otemon gate was rebuilt in homage to the gate at Kyoto's famous Nijo Castle.

Enjoy Traditional Sweets at Hiranoya Shopping District

What was once a castle town is now a collection of shopping districts. The streets have retained the atmosphere of Edo Period architecture, from the white storefront warehouses to the town houses.

Hiranoya Shopping District is fashioned with a colorful archway. Its design is said to have been influenced by Russian visitors who once frequented the city.

The shopping district is home to a number of dessert shops. Among them, Yumekabo Miyashita is a traditional wagashi (*) store that also sells Western-style sweets.

Pictured above is a fruit-flavored popsicle (160 yen with tax) available in the summer. Made using arrowroot powder, this tasty treat has a firm texture and won't melt quickly.

Don't miss out on the chance to dine at Ameiro Bistro Arle, a renowned Italian restaurant. They serve desserts, as well as delicious Italian dishes!

You can also order some desserts to go. The Maizuru Pudding (original flavor 320 yen before tax, matcha flavor 350 yen before tax) is popular with visitors.

Yoshihara Inlet: The Venice of Japan

Yoshihara Inlet is located on the north side of western Maizuru. You'll find many fishing vessels docked at this traditional harbor. With houses lining the shoreline, the inlet resembles the boathouses of Ine.

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