Fukushima’s Revitalization Educational One-Day Trip
- Coastal Area
- All Year
- 3 destinations
- One Day
This is a model itinerary for visitors who would like to learn about Fukushima’s revitalization.
The coastal area of Fukushima is the only place in the world to have survived a triple disaster: an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear disaster. Following extensive decontamination efforts and a great deal of demolition and reconstruction, several areas that were once designated as ‘difficult to return’ have started welcoming both residents and visitors again, with many residents eager to share their stories with the world.
This itinerary centers on the towns of Futaba and Namie, both of which were severely affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011.
The first stop is Futaba station and the surrounding Futaba Art District, a mural art initiative that pays homage to the residents and folk art of the town.
From there, you’ll visit the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum, which has a detailed account of the area before, during, and after the disaster. At the museum, you’ll learn about the stories and testimonies of locals, as well as the plans and ideas for the future of Fukushima.
The last stop is the remains of the Ukedo Elementary School in Namie town. Although the school building, located only 300 meters from the sea, sustained great damage from the tsunami, students, teachers and staff were able to evacuate from the school safely, for which it is known as a ‘miracle’ school.
This is a one-day itinerary, but we recommend staying somewhere in the coastal area of Fukushima after your visit.
JR Futaba Station
You can reach Futaba Station from Tokyo Station by train. Take the JR Hitachi Limited Express train bound for Sendai and get off at Futaba Station (3 h, 15 stops).
- Coastal Area
Cycle to The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum (the museum is 2 km from Futaba station). Alternatively, take the free shuttle bus to the museum from the station.
Pick up a bicycle and ride from The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum to the The Remains of Ukedo Elementary School in Namie Town (approx. 2.8 km). Alternatively, walking from one place to the other takes approx. 40 minutes.
Go back to the JR Futaba Station and return the rental bicycles. Alternatively, walk back to the museum and take the shuttle bus to the station. We recommend staying overnight at the accommodation of your choice in the coastal area of Fukushima.
JR Futaba Station
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.
Day Trip in Aizu-Wakamatsu City
This one-day trip around Aizu-Wakamatsu City includes everything your bucket list has: castles, sake breweries, temples, and onsen. Start with an Akabeko painting experience (1100 yen) at Tsurugajo Kaikan, before looking around the castle itself and enjoying a Japanese tea experience at the Rinkaku Tea Room.
Onsen and Relaxation Tour
Take a 2-day tour of relaxation, history, and culture on this trip you can enjoy by train or taxi. You’ll journey around Fukushima Prefecture to see some stunning sights and relax in some of the best springs. Begin your first day at Fukushima Station where you will travel to Iizaka Onsen by a quick bus ride. Iizaka Onsen has been a famous hot spring town of Japan for more than 1,000 years. Soak up the rejuvenating waters and history that has inspired countless artists and poets of the past before moving to Nakano Fudoson Temple. Founded some 800 years ago, this famous temple has three minor deities worshipped on the grounds. Find your own inner peace as you take in the cleansing atmosphere and breathe in the culture and history. From Nakano Fudoson Temple, visit Kyu Horikiri-tei, a former residence of the Horikiri family from the Edo Period. Enjoy soaking your feet in the foot bath and taking this calming scenery. You’ll enjoy your time by both relaxing and exploring the past.
Relaxation in Tsuchiyu
You can enjoy this multi-day relaxation tour of Fukushima any time of year. But that’s not the only thing to make this trip so enticing. You’ll find something for everyone in the family or quiet spots of solitude to be enjoyed alone. Whether you’re traveling with someone or by yourself, this is the perfect way to enjoy Fukushima. Take a bus ride from Fukushima Station to Hotel Sansuiso. Enjoy a quiet room at this lovely hotel where you can soak away your worries in one of their many hot spring baths. Especially nice during winter are the outdoor baths, let the cool air wash over your exposed face while the waters keep you warm. After a day sequestered in baths, why not take a stroll about town and visit the famous shop Matsuya. See their own unique kokeshi dolls, which are popular toys around Japan with each area creating completely unique kokeshi dolls. After you’ve admired the curious little wooden dolls, try your hand at painting your own under the guidance of one of the shop’s staff. Take your very own kokeshi doll back with you as a unique souvenir and memory of your time in Fukushima Prefecture. Finally, explore the other hot spring baths that Tsuchiyu Onsen has to offer. Choose from public baths, baths in other ryokan, or a number of a foot baths dotted around the town. No matter where you turn, you’re sure to enjoy the calming and rejuvenating waters. When you’ve finished enjoying everything that the area has to offer, head back to Fukushima Station by bus.