Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
  • Driving
  • Aizu Area
  • Central Area
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

  • 9 destinations
  • Multi day

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!

Start

Fukushima Station

Mt. Azuma Kofuji is about 1 hour's drive from Fukushima Sta.

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Mt. Azuma-Kofuji

  • Central Area

Drive an additional 40 min to get on to the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line

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Bandai-Azuma Lake Line

  • Central Area

Bandai-Azuma Lake Line is a sightseeing road that runs for 13.1 km, connecting Inawashiro Town and Kitashiobara Village. Outstanding backdrops of hundreds of lakes, including Lake Akimoto, Lake Onogawa, and Lake Hibara can be seen from along the road.

Drive for around 20 min to reach the Goshiki-numa Ponds.

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There are places to dip in an onsen / stay the night between a 5 min drive and a 15 min drive from Goshiki-numa Ponds.

Urabandai Onsen

  • Aizu Area

A hot spring region in the Urabandai area where you can intimately feel the changing of the four seasons. There are many outdoor baths and onsens with spectacular views, allowing you to wash away the fatigue of daily life and be healed amidst abundant nature. From the outdoor bath at the Grandeco Resort, you can enjoy a garden of verdant green in the summer, and a pristine landscape of snow in the winter, along with a clear, star-filled night sky.

It takes about 1 hour to reach Tsurugajo Castle from Urabandai.

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Tsurugajo Castle

  • Aizu Area
  • 90

Tsurugajo Castle, also known as Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle, is arguably Tohoku’s most impressive castle. It's remembered for its role in Japan’s civil war, when it was one of the last remaining samurai strongholds. The castle was fully rebuilt in the 1960s and houses an interesting history museum within the keep. The grounds of Tsurugajo Castle are an excellent place to catch Tohoku’s cherry blossoms in mid-April, and the view from atop the outer walls is particularly impressive.

Sazaedo Temple is a 15 min drive from Tsurugajo Castle.

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Sazaedo Temple

  • Aizu Area
  • 20

Sazaedo is a Buddhist temple built in 1796. Its architecture is similar in shape similar 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 won’t meet anybody coming from the opposite direction. This one-way system makes Sazaedo extremely unique.

Higashiyama Onsen is a 10 min drive from Sazaedo Temple.

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Higashiyama Onsen

  • Aizu Area

Established over 1,300 years ago, Higashiyama Onsen is a well-known retreat area in Aizu-Wakamatsu City. The recognized historical onsen town is said to have been founded by the Buddhist priest Gyōki. According to legend, he found the area by following a bird with three legs, an auspicious and mystical omen. The area was popular with people from all over Aizu during the Edo Period and was developed as a retreat area.

Ouchi-juku is a 50 min drive from central Aizu-Wakamatsu City.

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Ouchi-juku

  • Aizu Area
  • 60

The To-no-hetsuri Crags are accessible by car, approximately 20 minutes from Ouchi-juku

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To-no-hetsuri Crags

  • Aizu Area
  • 40

A national natural monument, To-no-hetsuri Crags consists of tower-shaped cliffs overlooking Okawa River. These strange-shaped cliffs are thought to be made of various types of rocks formed around 28 million years ago and feature deep cracks along the vertical joints. In spring and summer, the lush greens create a beautiful carpet down the rocks and in winter, the heavy snows make To-no-hetsuri Crags look otherworldly.

Returning by car to Shin-Shirakawa Sta. will take around 50 min from To-no-hetsuri Crags.

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Finish

Shin-Shirakawa Station

Other Trips

Must See Sights of Fukushima:Halal Friendly Model Route
Must See Sights of Fukushima:Halal Friendly Model Route
Driving

Must See Sights of Fukushima:Halal Friendly Model Route

Including halal friendly information! This is a two-day model course by public transportation and rental car that takes you through breathtaking nature to the historic post town of Ouchi-juku and Tsurugajo Castle, home of the once mighty Aizu samurai clan! Information about halal restaurants and lodgings is available at the bottom of this page. From Tokyo to Fukushima, you can conveniently use the Shinkansen bullet train or the Tobu Liberty train that leaves from Asakusa station. From the terminus at Aizu Tajima Station, you can easily hire a cab that offers a full-day plan to get to the historic Ouchi-juku and nearby Aizu-Wakamatsu City. On the first day, you will visit Ouchi-juku, where you can experience the historical charm of the Edo period, followed by the castle town of the former Aizu clan, Tsurugajo Castle in Aizu-Wakamatsu City. On the second day, get a taste for the rich nature of Tohoku. From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, you can rent a car and drive towards the Urabandai area. Goshiki-numa, located in Bandai Asahi National Park, is a beautiful natural park named after its five colored lakes and ponds, which appear to change colors depending on the light at different times or day and seasons. Hop into a rowboat and paddle around to admire the carp swimming around in the crystal-clear waters of the lake. There is a trail that takes you around the Goshiki-numa area, where you can appreciate the hues of the various ponds. If you happen to be visiting in the fall, you will be blown away by the spectacular array of autumn leaves in their stunning gradients of red and gold. Finally, be sure to go fruit picking so that you can taste the delicious flavors of Japanese fruits at the end of your trip. HALAL-friendly Restaurant ※Reservations required [Japanese Restaurant] Kissui Restaurant Aizu-Wakamatsu City "Halal / VG Requests OK / Reservations required" http://aizu-kissui.jp [Chinese Restaurant] Hotel Hamatsu / Shaga Chinese Restaurant Koriyama City https://www.hotel-hamatsu.co.jp HALAL-friendly accommodations ※Reservations required ・Yosikawaya Iizaka Onsen Ryokan http://www.yosikawaya.com/ ・Inawashiro Rising Sun Hotel (Villa Inawashiro) https://www.villa.co.jp/ ・Bandai Lakeside Guesthouse Kitashiobara Village https://www.bandai.ski/   Taxi ・Minamiaizu Kanko(Hire a Taxi for 2-hour or 4-hour flat rate plan) https://www-minamiaizu-co-jp.translate.goog/tour/index.php?_x_tr_sl=ja&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=ja Rent a Car ・Eki Rent-a-car https://www.ekiren.co.jp/phpapp/en/  

One-Day Drive in Minamisoma City
One-Day Drive in Minamisoma City
Driving

One-Day Drive in Minamisoma City

Located in the Northeastern part of Fukushima prefecture, Minamisoma City is one of the main hubs in the prefecture’s coastal area. The city perhaps draws the most crowds in July for the Soma Nomaoi festival, an event featuring horseback riders in samurai attire, which developed from an ancient samurai practice of military drills with horses. Outside of the event times, visitors can still experience Minamisoma’s equine traditions year-long. Once a vital enclave for the Soma samurai clan, Minamisoma specialized in manufacturing and the military during the most pressing years of Japan’s modernization. Many samurai customs continued; for one, people kept breeding and caring for horses even when this practice disappeared from most other places in Japan. In 2011, the city suffered greatly from the triple disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Despite difficulties, people have sought to pass on their heritage to new generations, adapting samurai traditions to modern times to continue cultivating their love for horses. The city is reachable from Tokyo in a few hours by car or public transportation, but this itinerary is designed specifically for driving. By horseback riding along the coast, having lunch at a cafe that has made a significant impact on the community after the 2011 triple disaster, and visiting a National Historical Treasure that is over 1,000 years old, you will travel through ancient history, medieval history, and modern times in Minamisoma.

Relaxation in Tsuchiyu
Relaxation in Tsuchiyu
Relaxation in Tsuchiyu
Culture

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.  

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