Lake Inawashiro Sannokura Plateau Sunflower Field

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Tours in Fukushima

Unique in Fukushima

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.

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).

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.

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.

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Trips in Fukushima

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.

The Coast of Fukushima
The Coast of Fukushima
The Coast of Fukushima
Adventure

The Coast of Fukushima

Refresh yourself along the coast of Fukushima with this one-day plan, which includes three of Iwaki's best spots. You can enjoy these places any time of the year, so it’s perfect to fit into your pre-existing travel plans. Start out at Iwaki Station and make your way down to Aquamarine Fukushima. This beautiful aquarium and aquatic museum will take your breath away with its amazing exhibits of sea creatures and habitats. Let your imagination run free as you walk through the interior and discover something new everywhere you look. After you’ve finished at Aquamarine Fukushima, make your way to Shiramizu Amidado Temple. This temple is a National Treasure of Japan and was first commissioned by a princess. It has a unique history and the atmosphere lends itself well to relaxation and introspection. Once you’ve found inner peace, head over to Natsuigawa Valley. The pristine river waters and cool countryside breeze will relax your body and rejuvenate your spirit. No matter where you turn to, the coastal area of Fukushima is sure to astound you. This plan is best enjoyed by renting a car from Iwaki Station.

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.

Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Driving

Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip

This trip highlights some of the best Fukushima has to offer and is perfect for those looking to get the most out of the prefecture in a limited time. Take in castles, nature, traditional villages, and more as you treat yourself to local styles of soba and ramen along the way. Renting a car is a must if you want to hit all the spots on this tour. You can take it slow and complete this trip over three days, or skip out an overnight stay in Urabandai area, and do it in two days. Start the day from Fukushima Station with a scenic drive to the the beautiful Urabandai region. We recommend taking the Bandai-Azuma Skyline road so that you can enjoy a mountain drive and check out the great sights at Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. From there, take the stunning sightseeing road Azuma-Bandai Lake Line into Urabandai. Explore the Urabandai area, have lunch, go on a walk around the five-colored ponds of Goshiki-numa, and maybe even take a dip in a hot spring or two. Choose whether take it slow and stay the night in Urabandai area, or whether to press on to Aizu-Wakamatsu City.  Later that day - or the next morning, depending on your schedule - head into the castle town of Aizu-Wakamatsu City where samurai culture is prevalent. The majestic Tsurugajo Castle offers beautiful views of the surroundings from the keep. Check out the nearby Tsurugajo Kaikan to paint an akabeko or two and maybe have some lunch. Then explore the mysterious Sazaedo Temple and the surrounding Mt. Iimoriyama area. From here, we suggest staying overnight in the city. There are plenty of budget hotels in Aizu-Wakamatsu, but if you are looking for something traditionally Japanese, we recommend looking into lodging at the nearby Higashiyama Onsen hot springs town just east of the city. On the next day prepare to jump into the past with a trip to the Ouchi-juku mountain village. You can spend hours here shopping and eating local foods while walking up and down the street lined with traditional thatched-roof houses. Lastly, head to the To-no-Hetsuri Crags, a natural monument filled with towering cliffs overlooking the Okawa River. Cross the nearby suspension bridge which offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. After getting fully refreshed head back to Shin-Shirakawa station by car, drop off your rental car, and connect back to Tokyo or the next stop on your journey!

Diamond Route Japan

Diamond Route Japan

Seasons on Fukushima

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