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.
Refreshing Fruits and Waters of Fukushima
It’s time to be refreshed by the fresh fruits and hot waters of Fukushima City. This one-day itinerary can be experienced any time of the year. Catch a taxi from Fukushima Station and head out to Marusei Orchard. Here you’ll be able to pick fresh, juicy fruit already ripe for the eating. Eat all you can, and fill up on Fukushima’s best fruits. After you’ve had your fill of fruit, take a taxi to Iizaka Onsen. This hot spring area is famous in Japan for being one of the best in the area. After dipping your feet in the foot bath at Kyu Horikiri-tei, head over to Hanamomo no Yu (Hotel Juraku's onsen facility), soak in the hot, hot waters, and let your stress just melt away. You’re definitely in for a treat at all of these wonderful places and you’ll leave full and satisfied, not to mention warm and relaxed. It’s truly a rejuvenation for mind and body!
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.
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.