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Unique in Fukushima

Bandai-Azuma Skyline
Nature & Scenery

Bandai-Azuma Skyline

This sightseeing road that runs from Fukushima City's Takayu Onsen to the Tsuchiyu Pass, commanding panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.The spectacular views that stretch out at an average altitude of 1,350 meters attract visitors time and time again, and Bandai-Azuma Skyline has been selected as one of the 100 Best Roads in Japan.In spring, tourists can enjoy flower viewing while at the same time taking in the otherworldly winter scenery of the "Snow Corridor".In summer, the Nemoto Shakunage (Rhododendron brachycarpum), a species of alpine rose, and other alpine plants display their colorful flowers and fresh, brilliant green leaves. During autumn, the drive warms as roads become enclosed by fiery seasonal leaves.There are also many hot springs in the vicinity of the Skyline where visitors can enjoy a bath and relax stiff muscles while out on a daytrip.The roadway passes next to the crater of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. Visitors can easily park their car at the nearby guest center and enjoy a short hike up to the crater’s rim.The Bandai-Azuma Skyline Roadway has been selected as one of the top 100 roads in Japan, and unlike many others, this one is free to use. There are rest stops along the way for the hungry traveler; the most popular is Jododaira, as it’s home to a rest house and an observatory.Be sure to plan ahead though, from mid-November to early April the roadway is closed due to heavy winter snowfall.

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.

Aizu Festival
Events

Aizu Festival

The Aizu Festival is one of the largest fall events in the Aizu Area. The main feature of the festival is the Aizu Hanko Gyoretsu, a procession of Aizu Domain Lords.Headed by flag-bearers holding the flags of the successive feudal lords of the Aizu Domain, the procession is attended by participants representing well-known feudal lords such as Lord Uesugi, Lord Hoshina, and Lord Matsudaira, and by groups of festival participants wearing garments and carrying tools associated with each of these lords.Each year, some 500 people parade through downtown Aizu-Wakamatsu in an event that magnificently recreates the world of samurai. Before the procession starts off, there is a kick-off ceremony at Tsurugajo Castle.Visitors can enjoy watching the sword dancing of the Byakkotai worriors and sword fight performances given by professional actors, with the castle keep of Tsurugajo in the background.

Komine Castle
History & Culture

Komine Castle

Shirakawa Castle (Komine Castle) was heavily damaged during the Boshin War (also known as the Meiji Restoration), and was restored in the 1990s.Komine Castle's restoration marked the first time in over 120 years that a restoration had been attempted on a triple turret (yagura) structure. Blueprints from the late Edo Period were used as references for the repair of this structure.As a result of using these blueprints, it was possible to restore the castle almost exclusively using wood construction techniques. This amazing architecture, along with the extraordinary techniques used to make the stone wall around the castle, make this castle extremely special. There is also an exhibition hall on site.

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