Mt. Azuma-Kofuji

Mt. Azuma-Kofuji

Every year in spring, as the snow melts away it leaves behind the shape of a giant white rabbit on the side of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. This snow-made rabbit is called the “seeding rabbit” and it signals to the people of Fukushima that the farming season has come. No matter when you decide to visit Mt. Azuma-Kofuji, you can always experience the beauty of this awe-inspiring natural landscape.

Mt. Azuma-Kofuji is actually an active volcano. It has an appealing symmetry to it, and a soft conical shape; it is because of these classic features that it was named Kofuji, or "little Fuji", after the iconic Japanese mountain. Thanks to the volcanic ground, the area has given birth to many nearby onsen areas which are perfect for relaxing, such as Tsuchiyu Onsen and Takayu Onsen. It’s also a great destination for those who decide to drive through the area as the Bandai-Azuma Skyline happens to pass just below the crater of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. It’s just a short hike up to the crater and there are plenty of other great trails in the area.

Near the crater, along the roadway, stands Jododaira Visitor Center, which offers visitors a place to park, rest up, get a snack, and maybe even buy some souvenirs. It’s the perfect spot to take a break and explore one of the many short hiking routes to stretch out your muscles after a long car ride. Circle the crater of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji on a relaxed 40-minute walk and—if you’re lucky—enjoy gorgeous views of Fukushima City, Mt. Bandai, and the Urabandai area. But do watch your step as the ground can be uneven and even slippery on grey days. The mountain is open from spring to autumn every year.

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttps://fukushima-guide.jp/discover/jododaira/
Contact

Fukushima City Tourism & Convention Association

(+81) 24-563-5554

fukushima.guide@f-kankou.jp

Best Season
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
Opening Hours

Entry is not possible from November to April, as road leading up to Mt. Azuma-Kofuji is closed during the winter months.

ParkingAvailable (Jododaira Visitor Center's Parking Lot)
Entrance FeeFree
Access Details
AccessTsuchiyu Onsen-machi, Fukushima City, Fukushima Pref. 960-2151
View directions
Getting there

By Car: 1 hour drive from the Fukushima-Nishi I.C. exit off the Ban-etsu Expressway

Related trips

  1. 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!

    Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip

Nearby

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Located in the sleepy village of Tamura-machi, and surrounded by sprawling rice fields is the Niida-Honke brewery. Since its founding in 1711, Niida Honke has seen eighteen generations of head brewers, each bringing their own personality and subtle changes to the company and its sake. The current head brewer is Yasuhiko Niida, an incredibly nice person with an awe inspiring passion for making Sake. Under Mr. Niida’s supervision, Niida Honke has seen many changes. In 2011 the brewery celebrated its 300th anniversary and the achievement of using 100% natural rice in its brewing process. Unfortunately, this was the same year as the Great East Japan Earthquake and the following nuclear disaster. Despite the difficulties, Niida Honke worked hard to return the health of the rice fields. After the fields were cleaned and returned to their healthy status, a decision was made to move the company into a more sustainable and natural direction with the goal of creating its sake with 100% natural and organic ingredients. They currently grow much of the rice used to create their sake in the fields that surround the brewery. Working with local farmers to create healthy, high quality rice that is grown without the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals. In the future Niida Honke aims to brew all of its sake in natural wooden tanks, switch entirely to solar power, and grow 100% of its own rice. For each bottle that you buy, Niida Honke takes one step closer to these goals. Read more about the sake brewing process at Niida Honke!

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Design Your Own Shirakawa Daruma

There are records of Shirakawa Daruma (Japanese traditional dolls) being sold as far back as the feudal reign of the Niwa Domain in 1627. Current Shirakawa Daruma are known as “Shirakawa Tsurugame Shochikubai Daruma.” The faces of these dolls are painted to incorporate various animals and plants, with the eyebrows representing cranes, the mustache representing a turtle, the ears representing pines and plum trees, and the beard representing bamboo or pine trees. All of these images are thought to bring good luck. The daruma is known to be a very classical, lucky talisman, started by Matsudaira Sadanobu, the lord of Shirakawa, when he hired the renowned painter Tani Buncho to paint the now famous face on the daruma doll. Once every year a large Shirakawa Daruma Market is held to celebrate and sell the beloved daruma dolls. You can paint your own daruma at the two daruma workshops in town!

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Himonoya Sake Brewery

Fukushima’s sake is renowned across Japan, and Nihonmatsu is known in particular as a region with great sake production and high-grade sake producers. Using water from Mt. Adatara, the sake of the area is characterized by a mellow taste and is popular with sake lovers around the world. Himonoya Sake Brewery was established in 1874 and specializes in Senkonari sake; Senkonari is named after the battle standard "Sennari Hyotan (1000 Gourds)" of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the famous military leader and one of the great unifiers of Japan. The sake at Himonoya is a local secret that many outsiders, even Japanese, don’t know about. To get real sake-brewing experience to be sure to visit in the winter on a morning when the sake brewing art begins and most of the day’s tasks are performed. Because Himonoya Sake Brewery operates in a traditional and artisanal manner, it only makes sake during the winter season (a centuries-old rule). The tours and sake tasting offered at this old-fashioned brewery are available by reservation and are a treat to anyone with a taste for Japanese sake, or Nihonshu. These sake brewery tours are free for groups of one to ten people and take only 30 minutes to experience the brewing process. Guests should be legal Japanese drinking age, 20 years old or more, in order to enjoy the free tasting. There are four types of sake to be sampled along the tour, among them Kinpyo is the most highly recommended with its sweet aftertaste it makes an excellent match for Japanese snacks.

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Jododaira Visitor Center

Jododaira Visitor Center, located at an altitude of 1500 m, stands partway along the Bandai-Azuma Skyline sightseeing road. Jododaira acts as a base to spend the day hiking nearby mountain routes, including Mt. Higashi-Azuma (1,975 m) and Mt. Issaikyo (1,949 m). For those who don’t fancy a long hike, the 1-hour round trip walk up and around the crater at Mt. Azuma Kofuji (1,705 m) is perfect, as it is a very short walk from Jododaira Visitor Center. The Azuma mountains are all totally unique, and are great places to enjoy local flora and fauna. If hiking in this area, please be mindful that the altitude reaches close to 2000 m, so make sure to take equipment necessary in the event of a sudden weather change. The Jododaira area is also prone to high volcanic gas levels, so it is a good idea to check whether the area is open to visitors before making the drive up the mountain roads.

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