Lake Inawashiro Sannokura Plateau Sunflower Field

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Tours in Fukushima

Unique in Fukushima

Ouchi-juku
Historical Sites

Ouchi-juku

Take a journey to the past in Fukushima Prefecture’s Ouchi-juku area. This isolated village boasts thatched-roof houses and natural streets making you feel at one with the people wholived here hundreds of years ago. Nestled in the southwestern mountains of Fukushima, Ouchi-juku is a great spot to visit thanks to its unique charm and history. This village was established under the post station system of the Edo period, and played a vital role as a rest stop for travelers. In 1981, the well-preserved streets of Ouchi-juku led to it being designated as an Important Preservation District for a Group of Traditional Buildings. It isn’t difficult to see why—the village looks as it did during its heyday. And with no telephone or electric wires above ground, the view from the top of the hill overlooking the village is marvelous. It is a picturesque village where you can lose yourself to the flow of time. The traveler’s road that used to run through this village was called the Shimotsuke Kaido Route, or the Aizu Nishi Kaido Route. Ouchi-juku not only connected Aizu to Nikko, it also connected Aizu-Wakamatsu to Imaichi, a post town on the Nikko Kaido Route in Tochigi Prefecture. This road was frequented by many travelers as well as by the processions of feudal lords who had to travel to and from Edo periodically. Travelers of the Edo Period rested at the inns of Ouchi-juku to relieve their fatigue. Nowadays, festivals and events help draw in new visitors. The annual Snow Festival in February turns Ouchi-juku into a pretty candlelit scene. Visit in July to see a procession of dancers dressed in traditional Edo Period costumes, and you might even get to wear a happi (festival attire jacket) and join the locals in their celebrations! And when you’re feeling hungry be sure to try some of the local specialties, which include negi soba (fresh buckwheat noodles eaten using a green onion), stick-roasted char fish, and more. There’s a little bit of everything at Ouchi-juku.

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).

Lake Inawashiro
Nature & Scenery

Lake Inawashiro

Japan's fourth-largest freshwater lake, Lake Inawashiro is situated in Bandai Asahi National Park. It is also known as the “Heavenly Mirror Lake” and has a surface area of 104 square kilometers! The combination of Lake Inawashiro and Mt. Bandai form one of Aizu's representative landscapes. And being less than three hours from Tokyo by shinkansen and local train means that you have easy access from a major transport hub. The lake offers year-round fun. Enjoy cherry blossoms in spring at Iwahashi Shrine, one of Aizu’s five famous cherry trees. Summer at Lake Inawashiro is slightly cooler than the rest of Fukushima, so take advantage of camping by the lakeshore, and a wide variety of marine sports. Colored leaves and hikes are the popular thing to do in autumn, view the fiery hues and take in the crisp air. In winter, visitors can enjoy fresh powder snow and winter thrills in the form of skiing and snowboarding; and you can even catch a glimpse of migrating swans on the shores. It’s truly a beauty no matter when you decide to visit. There are also a wide range of scenic spots from where visitors can take photographs and soak in the view. It’s a great place to escape from the stress of work and life or just to experience Japanese nature and landscapes. Lake Inawashiro's size means that it is accessible from a number of sightseeing spot, including Tenkyokaku stately house and Hideo Noguchi Memorial Museum (a museum dedicated to the life and work of a Japanese scientist famous for his research on yellow fever). There’s plenty more to do nearby: view some amazing works by international artists at the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art, or visit the rainbow-colored Goshiki-numa Ponds.

Tsurugajo Castle
Historical Sites

Tsurugajo Castle

Tsurugajo Castle allows visitors the opportunity to experience history, nature, and tradition with all five senses. Despite being mostly reconstructed, the surrounding park's stone walls remain in their original state. In 2010, for the first time since it was refurbished in 1965, the castle underwent a cosmetic restoration. Following completion in 2011, the same red-tile roofs seen by the Byakkotai (during the Boshin War and finals days of the Tokugawa shogunate) are now displayed for all to see. This castle is one of the final strongholds of samurai that remained loyal to the shogunate and today stands as a symbol of courage and faithfulness. Within the castle tower's museum, the swords and armor of the castle’s successive lords are on display. Visitors can watch a CG-enhanced theatrical video reflecting on the great history of Aizu. In addition to the historical atmosphere surrounding Tsurugajo, visitors can sense the changes that have occurred throughout history, thanks to the engaging and informative museum within the castle walls. It’s fun to gaze across Aizu from the fifth floor, like a feudal lord admiring his domain—the viewing platform up here provides panoramic views taking in Mt. Bandai and Mt. Iimoriyama. The castle is also a must-see in the springtime when approximately 1,000 cherry trees offer a magnificent display within the castle's grounds. When you’re in the mood for a rest, visit the Rinkaku Tea Rooms for some freshly-prepared matcha green tea. This tea house on the grounds of Tsurugajo was vital in the spread of this traditional art—and had it been destroyed during the Meiji Restoration, tea ceremony as it is known in Japan might have vanished. Tsurugajo Castle is truly a place where the modern visitor can slip into the past and become immersed in history.

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Trips in Fukushima

Inawashiro's Nature and Spirituality
Inawashiro's Nature and Spirituality
Nature

Inawashiro's Nature and Spirituality

Feeling a little tired of high-pace tours that are taking you this way and that? Why not slow down and enjoy the nature of Inawashiro and get in a side of spiritual cleansing while you’re at it? That’s exactly what this one-day side trip is for. Experience Inawashiro at a pace that suits you, during spring, summer, or autumn. You can travel minimally by train and bus to take away the stress of having to drive. Start out at Inawashiro Station and make your way to Lake Inawashiro. This lake is the 4th largest in Japan and its pristine, sparkling surface will definitely ease your worries away. Let yourself be transported into the heart of beautiful nature. Take advantage of everything that the lake has to offer; water sports, camping, and fishing are among the popular things to do here. So just relax and breathe in that fresh, crisp air. From Lake Inawashiro, gain even more solitude and clarity at Hanitsu Shrine. This beautiful shrine is especially lovely in autumn when the crimson leaves blanket the grounds. You’ll have an experience of introspection all to yourself as you walk the quiet shrine grounds.

A Summertime Traditional Experience
A Summertime Traditional Experience
Culture

A Summertime Traditional Experience

There’s no better way to celebrate summertime in Japan than with an impressive display of fireworks and masterful pyrotechnics along the riverside with a cold drink. Begin your Japanese summer adventure at Fukushima Station and travel by bus to the site of the Fukushima Fireworks Festival. Be prepared to be wowed as the night sky comes alive with a spectacle of lights and color. Let the sound of the fireworks, like rolling thunder, wash over your senses as you ooh and ah at the magnificent displays. The next day, make your way to the Soma Nomaoi to see the masterful horsemanship before your very eyes. The Soma Nomaoi has been performed abroad and was originated hundreds of years ago from military training carried out on horseback. Feel history and culture come to life and ignore the heat of summer with these fascinating and awe-inspiring experiences. Finish up your trip at Fukushima Station where you can do a spot of shopping before heading home. Please note, while Fukushima Fireworks Festival and Soma Nomaoi are generally held on the same weekend in July, please make sure to check the dates before planning your trip. Also, please be aware that the Fukushima Fireworks Festival may be cancelled in the event of rain.

Explore the Heights of Aizu
Explore the Heights of Aizu
Explore the Heights of Aizu
Nature

Explore the Heights of Aizu

It’s time to visit the dizzying heights of Aizu on this one-day tour that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Travel by train to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station and make your way for Michi-no-Eki Ozekaido Mishima-juku (Roadside Station). At this countryside road stop, you’ll find snacks, local handicrafts and produce galore, not to mention fantastic paulownia wood crafts. Be sure to pick some up. From Michi-no-Eki Ozekaido Mishima-juku (Roadside Station), take a short 10-minute walk to the lookout point for the Tadami Bridge. This is the number one place to look out at the bridge from and you’ll be entranced by the scenery - time your trip right and you might be able to see the Tadami Line train passing over it. The majestic mountains almost seem to hug the bridge and the landmark makes a beautiful contrast against a backdrop of nature. After you’ve finished bridge-watching, head south to ride a ferryboat across a jagged ravine at Mugenkyo no Watashi. The splendor of the natural craggy rocks and trees that cling to them will astound you from your seat at water level. Get a sense of size of these beautiful mountains and cliffs.

The Famous Sights of Aizu
The Famous Sights of Aizu
The Famous Sights of Aizu
Culture

The Famous Sights of Aizu

Spend a day traveling to the most famous sights of the Aizu region of Fukushima by train. Begin your trip in Kitakata City, famous for its delicious ramen, sake made from the best quality mountain water, and traditional Japanese crafts. Specializing in the local Kitakata-style, there are more than 100 ramen shops in the area—the most per capita in the world! Kitakata is also famous for horse-drawn carriage tours and the city center where over 4,200 traditional kurazashiki storehouses remain or have been converted into inns, shops, and breweries. You can even visit the local ramen shrine of Kitakata that doubles as a ramen museum. Learn all about this famous and much beloved food. From the Kitakata Ramen Museum travel to Tsurugajo Castle, famed for its beautiful red tiles and the tragic history of the Byakkotai samurai brigade. After a brush with history, move on to the charming shopping street of Nanokamachi-dori Street. There are plenty of wonders and shops for you to explore in the area. Take a few hours to find souvenirs and take photos. You'll be spoiled by the sights and wonder of everything that Aizu has to offer you.

Diamond Route Japan

Diamond Route Japan

Seasons on Fukushima

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