We spent two days exploring Aizuwakamatsu in the Tohoku Region of Japan, in mid-November, 2013. Aizu is a great city at that time of year with the changing leaves but it's also a great city to explore Samurai houses, the traditional burial ground of the Matsudaira Clan and the sake breweries in the city. In fact, while we were at Tsurunoeh Brewery, we asked one of the owners where we should eat that night. She recommended Hairansho, an Izakaya in the downtown area-and it turned out to be an excellent suggestion.
When we arrived, the owner, Kazuhiro Matsuda was very welcoming and the evening was full of conversation and laughter--as well as delicious food. Kazuhiro knew alot about the local sakes so when we asked for something very dry, he brought out the Aizu Masume. Very oishii!
And from there it was one incredible dish after another including stir-fried squid. small fried fish, deep-fried fish with amadare (special sweet sauce) and daikon radish, an amazingly fresh plate of assorted sashimi, and tsukuneh--minced chicken meat on a skewer, Yakitori style, with a sweet terrikayi sauce.
It was a memorable evening and we've been waiting for the opportunity to return from the moment we left. Highly recommended.