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Unique in Fukushima

Sazaedo Temple
Historical Sites

Sazaedo Temple

Sazaedo is a Buddhist temple built in 1796. Its architecture is similar in shape similar to the shell of a horned turban (‘sazae’ in Japanese) hence its name ‘Sazaedo’. The inside of the temple consists of a double-helix slope, meaning that visitors who come to pray won’t meet anybody coming from the opposite direction. This one-way system makes Sazaedo extremely unique. In 1995, it was appointed as a National Important Cultural Property, and in 2018 it was showcased in Michelin Green Guide (1 star, interesting place to visit).

Kura Café Sen no Hana
Cultural Experiences

Kura Café Sen no Hana

The Kura Café Sen no Hana is located on the grounds on Kunitaya Miso Factory in a remodeled kura (storehouse). Try the local flavors of Fukushima cuisine with their lovely lunch items featuring locally Nihonmatsu-produced miso and soy sauce. There are also many other menu items to appreciate, such as amazake, Mongolian-style tea, and coffee. The inside of the shop is also calming and decorated with local pressed flowers. Open from 11am to 6pm (with a break from 2 to 3pm), the Kura Café Sen no Hana is sure to give your taste buds a treat. Their fair prices and delicious cuisine make them popular with locals and visitors alike. The amazake, a nonalcoholic drink made from koji, or fermentation starter, is popular with guests. As for food, the zaku zaku soup is a traditional soup of chunky cubed vegetables which is eaten on special occasions like festivals and ceremonies, it is a famous Nihonmatsu specialty. But if you’re wanting to go for dinner, make sure you’re there before last order at 5:30pm (4:30pm on Sundays). Next door to the Kura Cafe Sen no Hana, guests can also visit the Kunitaya Miso Factory. The red-wood lattice of the exterior is especially attractive. In addition to the tours, the Factory also sells miso, soy sauce, and koji which is used to make Fukushima’s famous sagohachi pickles. All the products for sale are made at the Kunitaya Miso Factory and use pure water from Mt. Adatara and locally grown ingredients. It’s a great way to get the fresh flavors of Fukushima Prefecture. There are also seasonal products available, so be sure to have a look!

Goshiki-numa Ponds
Nature & Scenery

Goshiki-numa Ponds

The Goshiki-numa ponds of Urabandai are a cluster of five volcanic lakes at the foot of Mt. Bandai. When Mt. Bandai erupted in 1888, Goshiki-numa - which translates as "Five-Colored Ponds - were formed. In actuality dozens of lakes were created due to the 1888 eruption, but the Goshiki-numa Ponds are the most famous. It was thanks to the eruption that the lakes each took on rich color; the various minerals found in each lake give them a unique color and create a mystical aura. The colors of the Goshiki-numa Ponds also change throughout the year depending on weather and time of day, a truly mysterious phenomenon. The lakes have become a popular tourist destination. The five main lakes are Bishamon, Aka, Ao, Benten, and Midoro, and their colors range from a lime green to deep turquoise to a topaz blue. A scenic walking route guides visitors around the ponds. At 3.6 km in length, this walking route - which will take you past many of the ethereal colors - takes about 70 minutes to complete. If you’d like a view of all five lakes at once, why not take the 4 km walking trail from Bishamon-numa (largest of the five lakes) up to nearby Lake Hibara. Alternatively, if hiking is not on your itinerary, enjoy a simple rowboat out on Bishamon-numa. It’s especially lovely in autumn as the color of the autumn leaves reflects on the deep green surface of the lake. In winter, there are even snowshoe trekking tours offered. The color of the lakes looks particularly vivid in winter, seeing as the minerals in some of the lakes stop them from freezing over, meaning you can see their colors contrasted with the white of the snow. Be sure to stop by the Urabandai Visitor Center, which is a large and well-equipped facility. You can find great information here about tours as well as the various geography, wildlife, and even the history of the area. It’s a great chance to learn more about the ecosystem that makes up the Goshiki-numa Ponds.

Komine Castle
Historical Sites

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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