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Unique in Fukushima

Mt. Azuma-Kofuji
Nature & Scenery

Mt. Azuma-Kofuji

Every year in spring, as the snow melts away, it leaves behind the shape of a giant white rabbit on the side of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. This is called the “seeding rabbit”, and it signals to the people of Fukushima that the farming season has come.From April to November each year, you can experience the beauty of the awe-inspiring natural landscape of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji.Mt. Azuma-Kofuji is an active volcano with an appealing symmetry to it and a soft conical shape; because of these classic features, it was named Kofuji ('little Fuji'), after the iconic Japanese mountain.Thanks to its volcanic ground, the area has given birth to many nearby onsen areas perfect for relaxing, such as Tsuchiyu Onsen and Takayu Onsen.Mt. Azuma-Kofuji is a great destination for those who decide to drive through the area as the Bandai-Azuma Skyline happens to pass just below the crater of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. Along the roadway is the Jododaira Visitor Center, which offers visitors a place to park, rest up, get a snack, and maybe even buy souvenirs. It is the perfect spot to take a break and explore one of the many short hiking routes to stretch out your muscles after a long car ride. From there, it is just a short hike up to the crater, and there are plenty of other great trails. Circle the crater of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji on a relaxed 40-minute walk and—if you are lucky—enjoy gorgeous views of Fukushima City, Mt. Bandai, and the Urabandai area. But do watch your step as the ground can be uneven and even slippery on grey days. The mountain is open from spring to autumn every year.

The Remains of Ukedo Elementary School in Namie Town
Disaster Recovery & Revitalization

The Remains of Ukedo Elementary School in Namie Town

The Remains of Ukedo Elementary School in Namie Town (震災遺構浪江町立請戸小学校) are located in the coastal area of Fukushima prefecture.Ukedo Elementary School, located 300 meters from the sea, was having classes when the earthquake struck at 2:46 p. m. on March 11, 2011. A few minutes later, a tsunami warning was issued for Ukedo. The school staff urged students to evacuate immediately to nearby Mount Ohirayama, approximately 1.5 km from the school. When the tsunami hit about 40 minutes after the earthquake, all of the students and staff had evacuated safely.The school building suffered great damage from the earthquake and the tsunami, as did most of Namie town, which shortly after became under evacuation order due to the nuclear disaster (the evacuation order for some areas in Namie Town was lifted on March 31, 2017).In 2021, the remnants of the Ukedo Elementary School building opened to the public. The facilities remain largely untouched, with debris, broken floors and ceilings, smashed objects, collapsed furniture and other school items. Visitors can see the extent of the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami and learn about the importance of disaster preparedness.At the entrance, you can scan a QR code using your phone to access the English translation of each explanation panel as you proceed through the school grounds.

Byobuiwa Crags
Nature & Scenery

Byobuiwa Crags

The Byobuiwa Crags (屏風岩) are a rock formation in Minamiaizu, in the Southern area of Fukushima Prefecture. The rocks have eroded through many years to their current shape. The crags are light in color, offering an interesting contrast with the blue of the gushing Ina river, and the vibrant colors of the surrounding foliage, creating a scenery that becomes particularly poignant during the autumn. Visitors can stroll the walking course around the crags, which takes approximately 20 minutes to be completed and includes several interesting picture spots.

Abukuma Cave
Nature & Scenery

Abukuma Cave

A world of mystical beauty created over millions of years, Abukuma Cave is said to have the greatest variety and the largest number of stalactites in the whole of Asia. It takes about an hour to explore the inner world of the cave and the terrain is easy to navigate on foot.Abukuma Cave is a limestone cave that was discovered in 1969. Inside, visitors can walk the 600-meter-long path to explore and view the beautiful cave formations. Visitors can’t help but be impressed by the beauty of these natural creations formed over the course of 80 million years. The largest hall in the cave, called Takine Goten (Takine Hall), and Tsuki no Sekai (The Moon World), is illuminated with dramatic stage lighting and is particularly impressive.Also not to be missed are the rare cave formations called boxwork, you can identify them by their unique shape; thin blades of minerals coming off the walls and ceilings forming a honeycomb or box-like pattern. Abukuma Cave is the only cave in Japan with boxwork that is open to the public. Another notable stop along the cave path is the Christmas Tree and Silver Frost; both are impressive stalagmites that resemble festive holiday trees. The Christmas Tree is over two meters tall and said to be the largest example in all of Asia.There is an additional thrilling adventure course; experience crawling through narrow passages and climbing a ladder to spectacular views over the cave! This 120-meter-long course runs parallel to the main passage, but please note that visitors may have to crawl on their hands and knees at times.When you have finished exploring the mysterious depths and come back to the surface you can find plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops. Visit from mid-June to July to see the neighbouring hillside covered in 50,000 lavender plants.

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