Useful Information

7 Ways to Enjoy the Goshiki-numa Ponds

7 Ways to Enjoy the Goshiki-numa Ponds

1. Rent a boat for a unique perspective!

At one of the ponds there is a small boat house where you can rent a row boat to explore the water up close and personal! The vibrant color of the water is beautiful and so fun to paddle around. If you paddle over to the banks of the pond, you can relax on the water beneath the shade of low-hanging branches and listen to the birds singing.

Please note: Boat services are not available in the winter months due to ice and snow.

2. Locate the koi fish of love

Living in the main pond is a very special koi fish, the koi fish of love? This is a special koi fish with a heart-shaped spot on its side. Some believe that if you see this fish then you will have good luck in love. So if you’re having trouble landing a date, maybe it’s time to come search for this mysterious koi fish!

3. Hike the trail

If you are the adventurous type, then I recommend exploring the trail around the Goshiki-numa ponds to get a look at more of the lakes and ponds in the area. There are many dotted around the area, all formed sometime after the eruption in 1888. There is a spectacular 3.6 km walking route that takes about 70 minutes to complete and wanders through the forest, taking you to see some of the different vibrantly colored bodies of water in the area.

If you are visiting in winter, you should look into a snow-shoe trekking tour. They are a lot of fun, but be sure to bring some warm clothes! 

4. Ponder the Geological History of the area

If you look in the distance your will see the back side of Mt. Bandai, however, only the trained eye will be able to notice the remaining evidence of the massive eruption that occurred in 1888. Mt. Bandai is actually a type of volcano! Prior to the eruption, the area around the Goshiki-numa ponds was an area covered with rivers and streams. The eruption greatly altered the surrounding area, including forming the Goshiki-numa lakes and ponds, as well as sinking an entire village! If you are interested in the geology of the area, I recommend a quick visit to the Mt. Bandai Eruption Memorial Museum. Thankfully various tools are used to predict volcanic eruptions here, so you don’t need to worry about that when visiting! 

5. Enjoy a pond-colored ice cream!

If you like weird foods, or have a sweet tooth, I recommend trying the pond-colored Goshiki-numa ice cream. The vibrant blue ice cream is made using frozen water from the ponds, the unique minerals create an interesting taste. (Just Kidding) The ice cream does not contain any water from the ponds, it is flavored like a lightly salted vanilla. It’s delicious and great for photos!

6. Visit during your favorite season!

Goshiki-numa has something different and special to offer depending on the season. In late April or early May you can catch a glimpse of some wild cherry blossoms. In summer the vibrant green colors will wow you! In autumn the contrast of the warm autumn leaves and the cool colored ponds is breathtaking. Finally, in winter the bright white snow makes the vibrant color of the ponds really pop!

7. Take it slow

If this all sounds a bit too active for you, then I recommend grabbing some snacks or a coffee at the food stand and sitting at one of the benches to admire the scenery at a more leisurely pace. The air here is very fresh and relaxing, so it is a really great place to sit and just be calm for a little while, especially in the mornings.

Published 2022/05/12

Latest posts

  1. Destination Spotlight

    Drift Taxi Experience at the Ebisu Circuit

    Nihonmatsu, a charming city in central Fukushima Prefecture, is known for its cultivation of rice and chrysanthemums, a famous lantern festival, and its thrilling motorsports scene. Many racing and drifting enthusiasts visit the Ebisu Circuit, a racing and drifting circuit tucked in the mountains of Nihonmatsu, to experience the adrenaline rush of drifting with a professional racer— a thrilling experience known as Drift Taxi.Experience OverviewDuring the Drift Taxi Experience, participants get to enjoy a thrilling ride while a pro driver drifts a few laps through three of the circuit courses. Although this might seem extreme at first, you can trust that your safety is in good hands with knowledgeable drivers who are experienced drifters. Since they are the ones who do the drifting, those who do not have a driver’s license can also participate.©JNTOWhat is Drifting, and What Does it Involve?Drifting is a motorsports technique in which a driver approaches a curve by oversteering the vehicle, causing it to glide sideways with the wheels facing the opposite direction to the turn. When drifting started growing in popularity in Japan during the 1980s, there were no closed courses where to practice, which meant that drifters would do it on public roads in the mountains at night, for which drifting gained a reputation for being dangerous. Nowadays, however, drifting has evolved into a widely recognized motorsport, with safety standards in place and thousands of enthusiasts and apprentices worldwide. Facilities like the Ebisu Circuit provide a safe space to enjoy and learn about drifting (the circuit also has a drifting school!).Driving and drifting safely is a top priority at the Ebisu Circuit. Apart from basic measures like fastening seat belts and wearing helmets, rest assured that drivers have a deep understanding of cars, oversteering, and drifting techniques.Meet Your Drivers“I am sometimes told that I have the best job in the world”, says Naoto Suenaga of his role driving for the Drift Taxi Experience at the circuit. Since first picking up an interest in cars decades ago, Suenaga has been an active member of the racing and drifting scene in Japan and is one of the salient members of Team Orange.So is Nobushige Kumakubo, the managing director of the Ebisu Circuit, who, after winning the D1 Grand Prix International Drift Championship in 2006, established himself as one of Japan’s legendary drifters and also travels the world connecting with others who share his passion for drifting.Although Kanta Yanaguida is among the youngest at the circuit and at Team Orange, his age should not be mistaken for a lack of experience. He is, in fact, a skilled and confident driver who has been honing his drifting abilities for over 10 years and frequently participates in racing and drifting events around the world.Cars Used for Drifting at the Ebisu CircuitCar manufacturers are making it increasingly difficult for drifters: new cars are anti-drifting by design. So, the drivers at the Ebisu Circuit tuned their vehicles for drifting. The two drift taxis used at the circuit are modified cars: a Toyota Chaser and a Toyota Mark II with above-average horsepower and bucket seats.Fasten Your Seatbelt for a Crazy Ride!Once the experience starts, the driver will drive you through the complex towards the drifting course. You will be required to wear a helmet and fasten your seatbelt. The driver will let you know once the drifting is set to begin. Whether you choose to sit on the passenger or the back seat, enjoy the electrifying halts, twists and turns as you dash through each of the three courses.BookingYou can book Ebisu Circuit’s Drift Taxi experience in English through this link.FAQs About the Drift Taxi Experience Are there any restrictions on who can participate? Participants must be over 140 cm tall to ride. Those with heart conditions or other health afflictions should ask their doctor before drifting. Do I need a driver’s license for this experience? No, you do not need to have a driver’s license to be able to participate in the experience. A professional driver from the Ebisu Circuit will be the one doing the drifting. Are there any requirements for participants? Participants are required to purchase insurance for an additional 500 yen. It is mandatory to ride with a helmet on and with the seatbelt fastened. How much does the Drift Taxi Experience cost? The experience is offered at a flat fee of 50,000 yen per vehicle.The price includes drifting several laps on three courses in one car with up to three passengers per car ride. For four participants or more, you can either take turns riding three at a time or book an additional car (up to two cars with a maximum of three passengers per car).The tires of the car wear off almost entirely after each Drift Taxi Experience. The price is calculated to cover the change of tires, as well as the cost of the gas and the expertise of the professional driver.If you go with a group, you will pay less per person than if you are going individually.  Can the drivers speak English? The drivers can speak basic English and are used to foreign visitors. How much time does the experience take? The experience takes approximately 45 minutes. How do I get to the Ebisu Circuit from Tokyo? Check the final section of this page for information about different ways of accessing the circuit from Tokyo.If you have any other questions, send them our way and we will do our best to assist you!Useful LinksEbisu CircuitEbisu Circuit: A Drift ParadiseEbisu Drift Matsuri (Ebisu Drift Festival)

    Drift Taxi Experience at the Ebisu Circuit
  2. Useful Information

    2023 Autumn Festivals in Fukushima: Dates & Times

    As the heat of summer fades and the cool autumn breeze sets in, Fukushima Prefecture is energized with its autumn festivals. Travelers who visit from late September to Mid-November get to enjoy both breathtaking foliage and rich cultural festivities. Here are some of the festivals scheduled for the fall of 2023:Aizu Festival (Aizu-Wakamatsu City)This is one of the main events in the Aizu area. It features a procession of horseback riders dressed in samurai attire, parades, sword performances, and more. In Japanese: 会津まつり Place: Tsurugajo Castle & other locations in Aizu-Wakamatsu City. Date: September 22 (Friday), 2023: Lantern Procession, Aizu-Mt. Bandai Dance September 23 (Saturday), 2023: Thanksgiving Ceremony for Ancestors, Procession of Aizu Domain Lords, Aizu-Mt. Bandai Dance September 24 (Sunday), 2023: Nisshinkan Children’s Parade, Drum and Fife Corps Parade Time: Varies depending on the event Tickets/Cost: Free to attend, but there might be a parking feeIf you are interested in participating in the parade, consider trying the SAMURAI CITY AIZU Special Program: Aizu Clan Lord Procession & Samurai Experience. The Kengido Samurai Experience is also scheduled for the same weekend as the Aizu Festival. Iizaka Kenka Matsuri (Fukushima City)Iizaka Onsen Town’s main yearly event is an exciting ‘fighting’ festival! Apart from taiko drums and food stalls, what makes this festival unique is the 'yatai' festival stalls that are fiercely pushed against each other as contending groups (each representing a different area of the town) try to get their mikoshi (portable shrine) into the Hachiman Shrine grounds first. More information about this festival and travel ideas in Iizaka Onsen. In Japanese: 飯坂けんか祭り Place: Hachiman Shrine. Click here for directions to Iizaka Onsen by train from Fukushima Station Date: Late September - early October (exact date TBD) Time: Evening (exact time TBD) Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival (Nihonmatsu City)With a history spanning back over 350 years, this vivid festival is a highly anticipated event in the central area of Fukushima! Large floats as tall as 11 m are lit up with over 300 paper lanterns and paraded to the beat of traditional music. In Japanese: 二本松の提灯祭り Place: Nihonmatsu Shrine Date: October 7 (Saturday), 8 (Sunday), and 9 (Monday). Held every year on the first Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of October. Time: Depends on the event Tickets/Cost: Free Nihonmatsu Chrysanthemum Doll Festival (Nihonmatsu City)In Nihonmatsu City, autumn brings beautiful flowers! The city prides itself on its cultivation of chrysanthemums, the National Flower of Japan, which bloom spectacularly in the fall. Each year for a month, from Mid-October to Mid-November, the Kasumigajo Castle Park Grounds are enlivened with a colorful display of chrysanthemum flowers and decorated dolls. In Japanese: 二本松の菊人形 Place: Kasumigajo Castle Park Grounds (Nihonmatsu Castle) Date: October 10 (Tuesday) to November 19 (Sunday), 2023 Time: From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets/Cost: General entry is 800 yen; 600 yen for those with disabilities, and free for middle-school-aged students and younger. Discounts may be applicable for groups of 20 people or more. Aizu Shiokawa Balloon Festival (Kitakata City)This local festival in Kitakata City is incredibly picturesque! Riding on one of the balloons requires a fee and previous registration, but spectators can enjoy the sight of balloons rising into the crisp autumn skies for free. In Japanese: 会津塩川バルーンフェスティバル Place: Nippashi-gawa Green Park Free Plaza (日橋川緑地公園自由広場) in Shiokawa-machi, Kitakata City Expected Date: October 8 (Sunday) and 9 (Monday) [to be confirmed] Time: TBD Tickets/Cost: Previous application (in Japanese) is required to fly, for which there is a fee. Please check the event's website (in Japanese) for more information. Hinoemata Kabuki (Hinoemata Village)This traditional art form passed on through generations is a fundamental tradition for the inhabitants of Hinoemata Village. There are typically three kabuki performances held each year, the last of which will be on September 2nd this year. For more information, please check our blog post 'Hinoemata Kabuki: A Hidden Gem of Japanese Folk Culture'. In Japanese: 桧枝岐歌舞伎 Place: 670 Idaira, Hinoemata Village, Minamiaizu District Date: September 2 (Saturday), 2023 Time: Venue opens at 18:00, performance starts at 19:00 Tickets/Cost: 1,000 yen per person (free for guests staying at the village) Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival (Sukagawa City)A spectacular fire festival in Sukagawa City, the Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival has a history stretching back 400 years. As the evening grows darker, the glowing fire and the rhythm of the taiko drums will make you feel as if you were transported to a different era. In Japanese: 松明あかし Place: Mt. Gorozan in Midorigaoka Park, Kuriyasawa, Sukagawa City Date: November 11 (Saturday), 2023 Time:  Main torches (Hon-taimatsu) Procession: 2:00 p.m. Big torches (Dai-taimatsu) Procession: 3:00 p.m. Main Event of lighting up the big torches (Dai-taimatsu): 6:30 p.m. Tickets/Cost: FreeUseful LinksTop 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in Fukushima5 Ginkgo Tree Spots To Visit In Fukushima This AutumnAutumn Colors of Fukushima

    2023 Autumn Festivals in Fukushima: Dates & Times
  3. Destination Spotlight

    Fukushima’s ‘Miracle’: A Visitor’s Guide to Ukedo Elementary School

    Step inside Ukedo Elementary School, and you’ll find dark walls, hanging cables, and rubble scattered across cracked floors. Yet, many call this place miraculous. While the building itself reflects the painful story of a disaster, it also stands as an enduring symbol of hope and unity.After a tsunami warning on March 11, 2011, teachers and principals at the Ukedo Elementary School, located 300 meters from the ocean in the coastal area of Fukushima, swiftly evacuated all students before the towering waves engulfed the area. All lives were saved. The school building sustained great damage, but it did not collapse. In the following years, residents asked for the building to be preserved as a testimony of the destructive force of the 2011 tsunami.Ukedo: A Fishing Area With Close Ties to the SeaUkedo Elementary School is located in Namie, a town in the Northern coastal area of Fukushima Prefecture. Today, the school is surrounded by flat fields and construction sites, but not long ago the area was a bubbly district made up of houses by the ocean where families enjoyed sea festivals, sailing, and going to the beach in the warmer months.The 2011 Earthquake and TsunamiStudents at Ukedo Elementary School were attending classes as usual when the earthquake hit on March 11, 2011. A few minutes later, a tsunami warning was issued for the area. The teachers and principals promptly urged everyone to evacuate to Mt. Ohira, located approx. 1.5 km away.A Hasty but Successful EvacuationStudents had no time to take their belongings, or even put on their coats. The cold wind blew strongly as they escaped inland, guided by their teachers.Once they reached the foot of the mountain, one of the students led the group, and everyone climbed to the other side toward safety. They reached a main road, where a truck driver picked them up and took them to an evacuation center.Upon arrival at the center, students and teachers could ascertain that no one was missing or had been left behind. Even though everyone from the school survived, the tragedy brought by the triple disaster changed their lives forever.The Area’s Aftermath & ReconstructionIn Ukedo, the tsunami resulted in the loss of over 120 lives, and many people went missing. A total of 402 houses in the district were destroyed. People’s hometown as they knew it was lost forever.To make matters worse, the area had to be evacuated due to the nuclear accident at the nearby TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. This meant that search parties couldn’t enter for weeks; and residents, who initially thought the evacuation would only last a few days, could not fully return home for several years.Once rescue and recovery personnel were allowed back into the area, many houses and buildings started being demolished as part of the decontamination efforts. Devoid of vitality, the wrecked town looked nothing like the cheerful locality it had been only months ago. For about six years, residents had to be granted permission to return, and could only do so for a few hours at a time due to radiation concerns. Knowing that some returning residents may also visit the school on their way to or from their houses, rescue personnel left encouraging messages and wishes for the area’s recovery on the school blackboards. Those who stopped by the school, in turn, replied. Soon, the blackboard was filled with cute drawings and kind interactions between both strangers and lifelong friends. The blackboard and the messages were preserved and are on display at the school today.When the evacuation order for the Ukedo area was lifted in 2017, the Ukedo Elementary School building was one of the few left standing, although it was utterly devastated. With time, more and more people expressed their wish to make the school building a memorial site to pass on the lessons of the tsunami, honor the Ukedo community, and let visitors see firsthand how disaster preparedness can save lives.In October 2021, the school opened for visitors and has since then become one of the flagship facilities where visitors can learn about Fukushima’s recent history and revitalization.After the disaster, a sakura tree began inexplicably growing from the asphalt by one of the old school entrances. The tree blooms beautifully each spring.Flow of the visitYou will begin your visit on the ground floor, with an exhibition showing life in Ukedo before the disaster.Next, you will enter the main school building, where you will grasp the scope of the destruction of the tsunami. You will see what the classrooms, staff rooms, kitchen, dining room, and school gymnasium look like now, alongside photographs showing what they used to look like.After walking in and around the first floor, you will head to the second floor, where you will learn more about the impact of the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear accident. There is information about the area, a model of the town, as well as images of the blackboard with support messages.Advice for Visitors Scan the QR code at the entrance to access the English translation of the explanation panels. As you walk inside the school, look for the corresponding number for each panel on the website to read the explanations in English.   When looking at the building from the outside, notice the blue panels showing the height of the tsunami.   Because this area has undergone extensive reconstruction, sometimes car navigation systems cannot accurately guide you to the school. If you notice your car GPS trying to take you down a road that is no longer there, we recommend using your phone navigation system instead, which might be more updated.   There is a toilet and a vending machine at the site, but no convenience stores, supermarkets, or restaurants are nearby, so consider eating or buying snacks before your visit.   After visiting the school, we recommend walking to the Ukedo Port to see what the area looks like today.AccessBy Train, Bus & Bicycle From the JR Futaba Station (JR Joban Line), take the shuttle bus from Futaba Station to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum. Take one of the free rental bicycles at the museum and ride to Ukedo.By Car Approx 1 h 45 min from JR Koriyama Station [郡山駅] via National Road 288. Approx 1 h 29 min from Sendai Station [仙台] via the Joban Expressway. There is a parking lot available at the site.By Train & TaxiAbout 15 min. by taxi from Namie Station [浪江駅] (JR Joban Line). Please note, though, that there are no taxis at the station, so please make your travel arrangements in advance.Useful LinksThe Remains of Ukedo Elementary School in Namie TownFukushima’s Revitalization Educational One-Day TripThe Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial MuseumNamie Roadside Station

    Fukushima’s ‘Miracle’: A Visitor’s Guide to Ukedo Elementary School
Top