Lake Inawashiro

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 spots, 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.

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttps://bandaisan.or.jp/ib/en/
Best SeasonAll Year
ParkingAvailable (parking areas can be found around the lake perimeter – please check the official website for exact locations)
Access Details
AccessMinamieboshi-639 Osada, Inawashiro Town, Yama District, Fukushima Pref. 969-3283
View directions
Getting there

Northern Side

  • The closest train station is Inawashiro Station (JR Ban-etsu West Line), which can be reached directly by train from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station or Koriyama Station
  • From Inawashiro Station, the northern side of the lake is between a 5km-7km walk, or a taxi ride.
  • By car, the northern side of the lake can be reached in around 45 minutes from either Koriyama City or Aizu-Wakamatsu City.

Southern Side

  • The easiest way to reach this area is by car, as there are no nearby train stations.

Useful Links

Visiting Inawashiro in Summer

Shibuki-gori (Naturally-forming ice sculptures)

Salvador Dali Art Museum in Stunning Japanese National Park

Inawashiro's Nature and Spirituality

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Aizu Bukeyashiki (Samurai Residence)

Aizu Bukeyashiki (Samurai Residence) is a historical open-air museum where visitors can learn about the history of Aizu and sample some of the specialty products of Fukushima.Stroll around the residences to take in traditional Japanese architecture, including the residence of Tanomo Saigo, the Aizu Domain's chief retainer, a magistrate's office, a tea ceremony house, a rice mill, and a warehouse (resource center).Visitors can also enjoy local specialty food at the onsite Kuyotei restaurant, and find specialty products from Aizu and other parts of Fukushima at Sato-Kobo Kokon, and enjoy hand-painting traditional toys and practicing Japanese archery, which is perfect for young kids.Besides such cultural enjoyment, the natural beauty of the spring cherry blossoms and the autumnal foliage are a major attraction for tourists.

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Kannon-numa Forest Park

Kannon-numa Forest Park (観音沼森林公園) is a picturesque natural area in the Minamiaizu District of Southern Fukushima Prefecture.A wide variety of vegetation, flowers, and birds can be found at Kannon-numa Forest Park. There are nine walking trails, each offering unique sights. The main trail covers about 1.2 km and goes around the Kannon-numa swamp, which is one of the main highlights of the park. The park becomes transformed in each season, with cherry blossoms in spring and hydrangeas in the summer, and it is particularly popular with visitors during the autumn. The colorful trees reflected on the swamp’s waters make for a lovely sight, making it one of the main autumn attractions in the area. The best time to visit to see the autumn foliage is typically from late October to early November. There is also a shrine, Dake Kannondo, believed to have been built over 1,000 years ago.Located about 35 minutes from Ouchi-juku by car, this park is the perfect place to bask in the natural wonders of Shimogo Town. 

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Sazaedo Temple

Sazaedo is a Buddhist temple built in 1796. Its architecture is similar in shape 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 will not 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).

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Named by the Crown Prince Yoshihito upon its opening in 1907 as “The Palace of Heaven’s Mirror”, Tenkyokaku is a decadently decorated former villa.Imperial Prince Arisugawa Takehito decided to build Tenkyokaku after being impressed by the beauty of Lake Inawashiro during a visit to the Tohoku District. His family, the Arisugawa-no-miya Family, owned the villa until 1952, when it was granted to Fukushima Prefecture.Tenkyokaku has since been used as a meeting hall and a space for lectures and exhibitions. The former villa, its annex and its front gate have been specified as important cultural properties of Japan.Despite being restored in 1984, the building retains many of its original features, including the impressive chandelier which can be seen below.Despite no longer being able to see Lake Inawashiro from the windows of Tenkyokaku, the luxurious renaissance-style architecture and liberal use of all things gold and glittery means that visitors will by all means feel that its name still rings true.For only 1000 yen, you can dress up in a traditional outfit and take as many photos as you would like in the building!

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