Venice Aka at Wakayama Bamboo Farm

Travel Back in Time: Utsunomiya’s Long and Rich History by Venice Aka

About this Utsunomiya City Local Travel Guide

This Utsunomiya City local travel guide for history is for those looking for historical places to visit near Tokyo. The city has a long history in Japanese religion and warfare, which I find fascinating. Here are a few must-see historical spots for those who wish to learn more about what it was like during Japan’s early times.

Who is this travel guide for?

This Utsunomiya City travel guide for history is aimed towards the casual traveller of any age. Above all, those that enjoy history. 

Total budget?

¥4,000 – ¥6,000 per person

Walking around the historical Shinohara Family House (Travel Guide for Utsunomiya History)

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Blast From the Past

Shinohara Family House

The Old Shinohara Family House is a black traditional Japanese-style house near JR Utsunomiya station. It was an old merchant’s house which operated way back around the Edo period. It’s interesting to see old structures like the wooden staircase with drawers and secret doors for transactions. In addition, you can also see how wealthy people used to live in the past. The old house is a quick 3-minute walk from the JR Utsunomiya Station’s West Exit.
Fee: 100JPY(cash) Time: 9 AM-5 PM

(Location: Google Map)

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A Thousand Six-Hundred-Year-Old Shrine

Futaarayama Shrine

Established around 400AD, Futaarayama Shrine is approximately 1,600 years old and is one of the oldest structures in Utsunomiya City. It’s located at the centre of the city and has a huge tori gate leading to a staircase going up to the main shrine. It is also home to 12 “Massha” or sub-shrines like the Hatsutatsu Inari Shrine at the left side of the main shrine. It’s also the centre of big festivals held in Utsunomiya like the yearly Miya-matsuri. Fee: Free, Office hours : 8:30 AM-3:50 PM

(Location: Google Map)

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See historical Japanese swords at Futaarayama Shrine (Futawarasan Shrine) - Travel Guide for Utsunomiya History
Lean Utsunomiya's history at the Utsunomiya Castle Ruin Park (Travel Guide for Utsunomiya History)

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The Center of Utsunomiya’s First Towns

Utsunomiya Castle Park Ruins

The first stable settlement in the city was said to be around the Utsunomiya Castle Park Ruins lead by the Utsunomiya Clan. You can visit the park’s museum and learn about early settlements, festivals, and the urban legends about this place. You can also go up to the walls and take a peek at one of the castle’s reconstructed areas. It is also surrounded by beautiful cherry trees that bloom during springtime.
Museum fee: 100JPY(cash) Time: 9 AM-7 PM

(Location: Google Map)

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A Church Made of Oya Stone

Matsugamine Catholic Church

Matsugamine Catholic Church is a hundred-year-old church and just a 5-minute walk from Tobu Utsunomiya Station. Most importantly, the building is quite a charmer due to its structure made with Oya stone, a famous local stone mined in Utsunomiya. Everyone is free to enter the church and look around its beautiful architecture. The Church’s English masses are held every 1st and 3rd Sunday at 2 PM. Fee: free

(Location: Google Map)

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Visit Matsugamine Catholic Church made by Oya stone (Travel Guide for Utsunomiya History)
An Ancient Village in Utsunomiya (Travel Guide for Utsunomiya History)

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Utsunomiya’s Ancient Village

Negoyadai Ruins

Negoyadai Ruins is an archaeological site excavated during 1982-1986, where prehistoric signs of dwellings were found. The  reconstructed village is made to look like the original “Jomon” settlement (14,000-1,000BC) . You can enter and view several huts and get that feeling of being in an ancient village. Fee: free

(Location: Google Map)

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Walking on Fire

Tegesan Fudoson
Tegesan Fudoson, this Buddist temple, was built on the hillside of Mt. Taki in 822AD. Every May, the temple holds a Firewalking event in which visitors can also participate for a fee. Besides walking on the burning coal, participants are also granted a blessing for good wishes, which is part of the ritual.
Fee: Entrance-free, Walk on coal-5,000JPY.

(Location: Google Map)

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Tegesan Fudoson (Travel Guide for Utsunomiya History)
My favorite places to eat in Utsunomiya city

Japanese

Eating the best ramen in Utsunomiya city (Sobayagura)

Sobayagura is probably one of the most popular ramen shops amongst foreigners here in Utsunomiya. They have this insanely huge chasu or pork slices on their ramen and it tastes amazingly good and the texture is so soft. That is to say, my personal favourite is the shoyu (soy sauce) based ramen.
1,000-1,500 per person.
English-No 
Location : Google Map

Western / Other

Delicious Western food at Fudan Cafe
If you’re looking for a chill vibe, Fudan Cafe is a good choice. They have sandwiches, coffee, tea, pasta, wine, dessert, and more. I love their pasta and desserts specifically. For something a little bit more sophisticated, I recommend Ishi no Kura石の蔵 or stone warehouse. The restaurant offers a course meal inspired by local Japanese cuisine and is excellent for an intimate dinner. It is made of Oya stone and the interior has this cosy classy vibe.
6,000-11,000JPY per person.
English-Partly
Location : Google Map
Itinerary (Ideas for a day trip)

Morning

Afternoon

Evening

Lunch

Dinner

Stay

Find out more about Utsunomiya Ciy here!
Venice Aka at Wakayama Bamboo Farm

Local writer: Venice is a former flight attendant and now YouTuber who loves exploring and adventure. She has been to 20 countries and has a fascination with Japanese culture and history. She moved to Japan two years ago with her husband and is now making videos about her travel experiences around the country.

See all of Venice’s guides: Venice Aka Travel Guide

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