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The following resources will assist you in planning your trip to Fukushima Prefecture. From reaching Fukushima from other parts of Japan and basic access information about moving between cities, to some cultural guides to inspire your travel plans, find what you need in this section.

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Useful Information

  1. Useful Information

    2023 Summer Festivals in Fukushima: Dates and Times

    Firework displays, people dressed in yukatas, and delicious street food are some of the typical elements of ‘natsu matsuri’, Japanese summer festivals. During the warmer months of the year, Fukushima prefecture hosts a wide range of events to enjoy, from festivals of great historical significance to others mainly aimed at having fun. These are some summer festivals to look forward to in 2023 (please note that events are subject to change/cancellation): Soma Nomaoi Festival (Minamisoma City) Possibly one of the most anticipated events in Fukushima prefecture, this horse-centric festival held yearly in the city of Minamisoma, in the coastal area of Fukushima, has roots in samurai practices reaching back over 1,000 years ago. Read more about the Soma Nomaoi festival here. In Japanese: 相馬野馬追 Place: Hibarigahara Festival Site, Hashimoto-cho 4-13-27, Haramachi-ku, Minamisoma City, Fukushima Pref. 975-0051 View directions Date: July 29 (Sat.), 30 (Sun.) and 31 (Mon.), 2023 Time: The festival has several events, each occurring at different times. Check the official website for details, and check our blog post for a detailed explanation of the flow of the festival. Tickets/Cost: Advance tickets (online): 800 yen. Same-day tickets (on site): 1,000 yen. Fukushima Waraji Festival (Fukushima City) Image courtesy of the Fukushima Waraji Festival Executive Committee (画像提供 福島わらじまつり実行委員会)  In this unique festival, dozens of people parade a huge straw sandal through the streets of Fukushima City. There are dance performances and music, as well as different festivities for visitors to enjoy. In Japanese: わらじ祭り Place: Route 13 in Central Fukushima City (5 min walk from JR Fukushima Station) View directions Date: August 4 (Fri.), 5 (Sat.) and 6 (Sun.), 2023 Time: Evening (around 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m) Tickets/Cost: Free entry, no advance booking required Tsukimachi no Akari, ‘the Light-Filled Moon-Waiting Party’ (Bandai Town) Image courtesy of Gokujo Aizu (極上の会津プロジェクト協議会) In this incredibly photogenic festival, Enichi-ji Temple, Tohoku’s oldest temple with foundational stones on display, becomes beautifully illuminated. In Japanese: 月待ちの灯り Place: Enichi-ji Temple (Motoderakami-4950 Bandai, Yama District, Fukushima 969-3301) View Directions Date: May 27 (Sat.) & 28 (Sun.), 2023 Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets/Cost: Free entry, no advance booking required Ouchi-juku Hange (Mid-summer) Festival (Shimogo Town) Image courtesy of Gokujo Aizu (極上の会津プロジェクト協議会) This traditional event is celebrated on the 11th day after the summer solstice, July 2nd, each year. The main event is a solemn procession of men carrying a portable shrine. In Japanese: 大内宿半夏祭り  Place: Ouchi-juku (Yamamoto, Ouchi, Shimogo Town, Minamiaizu District, Fukushima Pref. 969-5207) [Access information] Date: July 2 (Sun.), 2023 Time: To be confirmed Tickets/Cost: Free entry, no advance booking required Sukagawa Shakadogawa River Fireworks Festival (Sukagawa City) The most famous fireworks display event in Fukushima prefecture will be back after a four-year hiatus! See more information about this event here. In Japanese: 釈迦堂川の花火大会  Place: Sukagawa City Citizens’ Sports Plaza Date: August 26 (Sat.), 2023 Time: From 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (memorial fireworks scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m.) Tickets/Cost: Free entry, no advance booking required Aizu-Tajima Gion Festival (Minamiaizu) In this centuries-old festival, designated a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, there are music performances, kabuki performances and a procession of women dressed in kimono. For a detailed account of the event, read this post. In Japanese: 会津田島祇園祭  Place: A short walk away from Aizu-Tajima Station View Directions Date: July 22 (Sat.), 23 (Sun.), 24 (Mon.), 2023 Time: To be confirmed (previous year’s schedule as a reference: 22nd: noon to 10 p.m.; 23rd: 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., 24th: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) Tickets/Cost: Free entry, no advance booking required Otaue (Rice Planting) Festivals (Aizu Misato & Aizu Bange Towns) There are two rice planting festivals in the Aizu region (one in Aizu Misato town, and the other one in Aizu Bange town). During these events, townspeople pray for a bountiful harvest. Image courtesy of Gokujo Aizu (極上の会津プロジェクト協議会) In Japanese: 御田植祭 Place:  Aizu Misato Town: Isasumi Shrine (4377 Miyabayashi, Aizumisato, Onuma District, Fukushima 969-6263) View directions Aizu Bange Town: Kurimurainari Shrine (1922 Nakaiwata, Aizubange, Kawanuma District, Fukushima 969-6564) View Directions Dates: Aizu Misato Town: July 7 (Fri.), 2023 Aizu Bange Town: July 12 (Wed.), 2023 Time: To be determined Tickets/Cost: Free entry, no advance booking required   Lake Numazawa Festival (Kaneyama Town) Image courtesy of Gokujo Aizu (極上の会津プロジェクト協議会) During this two-day event, held at lake Numazawa during the first weekend of August each year, there are concerts, fireworks, and the reenactment of a folktale from Kaneyama Town. See more information here. In Japanese: 沼沢湖水まつり Place: Lake Numazawa, Kaneyama Town, Onuma-gun, Fukushima Pref. View Directions Date: August 5 (Sat.), 6 (Sun.) 2023 Time: Saturday event times tend to be 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM, with the Sunday event running from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM (Please check the official event page for up-to-date information) Tickets/Cost: Free entry, no advance booking required

    2023 Summer Festivals in Fukushima: Dates and Times
  2. Useful Information

    2023 Cherry Blossom Full Bloom Forecast & Spots in Fukushima

    Update (2023/03/14): This article was originally published in February 2023. Cherry blossoms are blooming earlier than expected this year, so most of the dates that were originally included in this article are inaccurate as per current predictions. Please find the updated dates (as of March 14, 2023) in red. Fukushima prefecture is the ultimate cherry blossom destination—home to Miharu Takizakura, said to be one of the oldest waterfall sakura trees in Japan, and the idyllic Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima City, a park on a hill with countless varieties of flower trees and shrubs, to name only two of its most famous spots. Miharu Takizakura in Miharu Town. Photo: (株)三春まちづくり公社 When to See Cherry Blossoms in Fukushima Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima City You may have heard (or experienced) that the cherry blossom season is painstakingly short. The blooming period typically lasts for about two weeks—flowers usually reach full bloom about a week after blossoming and keep blooming only for an additional week. Ozawa Sakura in Tamura City Fukushima prefecture boasts a long sakura season, however, with flowers sprouting along the prefecture from late March to early May. How Cherry Blossoms Bloom in Fukushima Cherry blossom tunnel at Sakura Hill in Dake Onsen Although the exact dates vary by year, cherry blossoms are known to bloom in an ‘m’ shape across Fukushima prefecture.  The coastal area, on the east side, sees the first blossoms between late March and early April, going from South to North. Next, flowers start sprouting in the central and western areas from North to South. The last blossoms can be seen sometime up until mid-May in South-West Aizu. Sakuratoge Pass in Kitashiobara Village For more information about how sakura blooms in Fukushima, please refer to this guide. Because it is best to see sakura in full bloom (or near full bloom), we recommend picking destinations according to the dates you have available.  2023 Forecast Dates Per Area Yonomori Sakura in Tomioka Town It is difficult to predict the exact date when cherry blossoms will bloom, as weather conditions in the prior weeks and months directly affect when the blooming starts and for how long it lasts. But there are ways to know a rough estimate. The following information is based on the website of the Japan Meteorological Corporation “Sakura Navi” (please note, however, that this is simply a forecast and actual blooming dates may vary).   As of February 2023, here are the projected dates for cherry blossoms in different areas of Fukushima in 2023 (Dates in red are as of March 2023): Coastal Area Iwaki City: Early April (Late March) Soma City: Early to Mid-April (Early April) Central Area Fukushima City: Early to Mid-April (Early April) Koriyama City: Mid-April (Early to Mid-April) Shirakawa City: Mid-April (Early to Mid-April) Aizu Area Aizu-Wakamatsu City: Mid to Late April (Mid-April) Yanaizu Town: Mid to Late April Full Bloom Forecasts Per Area The flowers are most beautiful when in full bloom, and for a few days to a week later. Cherry blossoms in Inawashiro Town Here are the Japan Meteorological Corporation's 'Sakura Navi' estimated dates for full bloom in Fukushima in 2023 (forecast as of mid-February; actual blooming dates may vary depending on future temperatures and the weather). Coastal Area’s Sakura Spots Full Bloom Forecast for 2023 (Dates in red are updated as of March 2023) Iwaki Flower Center (Iwaki City): April 5 (March 30) Miyukiyama Park (Iwaki City):  April 5 (March 29) Matsugaoka Park (Iwaki City): April 7  (April 1) Soma Odaka Shrine (Minamisoma City): April 8 (March 31) Tenjin Misaki Sports Park (Naraha Town): April 11 (April 5) Baryo Park (Soma City): April 11 (April 3) Cherry blossoms at Soma Odaka Shrine in Minamisoma City Central Area’s Sakura Spots Full Bloom Forecast for 2023 (Dates in red are updated as of March 2023) Hanamiyama Park (Fukushima City): April 9* (April 3)* Kasumigajo Castle Park (Nihonmatsu City): April 12 (April 6) Komine Castle (Shirakawa City): April 12 (April 6) Kaiseizan Park (Koriyama City): April 12 (April 6) Fujita River Fureai-Zakura (Koriyama City): April 14 (April 7) Natsui Senbon-Zakura (Ono Town): April 20 (April 16) Although it is difficult to predict the exact date as of yet, Miharu Takizakura is expected to be in full bloom in early to mid-April.  *Hanamiyama Park has different varieties of cherry blossom trees, each blooming at different times. More information here. Heidodan Cherry Tree in Miharu Town Aizu Area’s Sakura Spots Full Bloom Forecast for 2023 (Dates in red are updated as of March 2023) Tsurugajo Castle (Aizu-Wakamatsu City): April 16 (April 11) Miyagawa Senbon-Zakura (Aizu-Misato Town): April 17 (April 13) Yunokami Onsen Station (Shimogo Town): April 19 (April 15) Enzoji Temple (Yanaizu Town): April 20 (April 17) Kannonji-gawa River (Inawashiro Town): April 27 (April 24) Tenkyodai Showa-No-Mori Park (Inawashiro Town): May 7 (May 5) Although it is difficult to predict the exact date as of yet, the Nicchu Line Weeping Cherry Blossom is expected to be in full bloom around mid-April. Nicchu Line Weeping Cherry Blossoms in Kitakata City For information about hanami spots, itineraries, and more visit our section Spring in Fukushima. Cherry blossoms at Yunokami Onsen Station in Shimogo Town (close to Ouchi-juku) The information contained in this post is a rough forecast based on the information provided on the Japan Meteorological Corporation’s website ‘Sakura Navi’ as of February 2023 (dates in red are updated as of March 2023). Actual blooming dates may vary depending on future temperatures and the weather. To access the latest information about the status of cherry blossoms in Fukushima in 2023, visit Japan Meteorological Corporation’s website Sakura Navi (the website is in Japanese but you can change the language to English from the drop-down menu).   Arakawa Sakura Tsuzumi River Park in Fukushima City

    2023 Cherry Blossom Full Bloom Forecast & Spots in Fukushima
  3. Useful Information

    A Complete Guide to Visiting Fukushima During Winter

    The coldest months of the year bring beautiful scenery to Fukushima prefecture.  Kaneyama Fureai Hiroba Viewpoint From snow-capped mountains and thatched-roof houses in the Aizu area to the refreshing view of the sunrise over the iconic Bentenjima Shrine in the Hattachi coast, there is a wide variety of attractions and activities to enjoy during winter in Fukushima. We’ve compiled some useful information to make your winter getaway to Fukushima prefecture smoother and more enjoyable! Yanaizu Town Transportation Checking the Status of the Roads Before Departure Especially in the Aizu and Central areas of Fukushima, a snow storm could occasionally block some roads or affect visibility (a phenomenon known as a whiteout). Checking the status of the roads makes your trip safer and can help you foresee potential delays. This webpage shows camera footage of the status of the roads (available only in Japanese). Click or tap on the camera button in the area you’re planning on visiting. Select the road you’d like to see on the new pop-up window. In most rent-a-car facilities, you'll be asked where you’re going and be given a vehicle equipped with what you need (winter tires, chains, etc.). Preparing for Longer Travel Times Because road conditions change unexpectedly, it’s best to expect longer travel times, particularly if you’re traveling by bus or car. As an example, check the following estimates: Aizu-Wakamatsu City to Ouchi-juku: normally takes around 45 min. (90 min on snow-covered roads) Ouchi-juku to Tadami: normally takes around 90 min. (150 min. on snow-covered roads) Tadami to Kaneyama Town: normally takes around 40 min. (90 min. on snow-covered roads) Kaneyama Town to Mishima Town: normally takes around 30 min. (90 min. on snow-covered roads) Mishima Town to Aizu-Wakamatsu City: normally takes around 50 min. (120 min. on snow-covered roads). Finding the Public Transportation Winter Schedule Some buses or trains, like the Saruyuugou loop bus in Ouchi-juku, have different schedules in the winter. The service can either become reduced or extended for special events. If you’ll be relying on public transportation, take a close look at the time schedule for any notations of changes during the winter. If it’s only in Japanese and you can’t read it, inquire at the closest station or local tourist information office (or send us a message and we’ll do our best to assist you). Some hotels and ski resorts offer shuttle bus services to and from the closest station, such as the Minowa Ski Resort free shuttle bus service from Fukushima station. Be sure to make a reservation in advance. Activities Extreme Onsen Experience We’ve been getting many inquiries about the Extreme Onsen Experience recently. For safety reasons, it’s not possible to climb Mount Adatara when it’s covered by snow, so the tour becomes temporarily unavailable until the snow melts in the spring (write us a message if you’d like to be notified once the tour becomes available again!). Alternatively... Soaking in the hot springs while contemplating a snowy landscape is a truly magical experience that you can enjoy in many other onsen towns in Fukushima, like the nostalgic Tsuchiyu Onsen Town. Tsuchiyu Onsen Town Goshiki-numa Ponds If you’d like to visit the Goshiki-numa ponds during winter, we recommend booking a snowshoe tour and going with an experienced guide, as travelers are discouraged from visiting independently. Goshikinuma Ponds Snowshoe Experience If you’re interested in the experience, recommend contacting Aizu Dream Development, which organizes winter tours to Goshikinuma, and has English support. Other Places That Are or May Become Closed for the Winter Here are some sightseeing spots, experiences and tours that are only (or mostly) available from spring to fall (usually April to November) and could thus become unavailable during the winter: Unavailable In the Winter Still available, but... The Bandai-Azuma Skyline Crossing Mugenkyo Ravine by Ferry (Mugenkyo no Watashi) Extreme Onsen Experience, Soma City Bamboo Fishing Tour, SUP Experience at Menuma Pond and the Ouchi-juku Time Slip & Soba Making Experience. Ebisu Circuit could become closed in case of heavy snowfall (check the live camera and contact Ebisu Circuit directly for more information)   Goshiki-numa and Oze National Park are closed to individual travelers and some of their facilities become unavailable. For safety reasons, it is advised for travelers to only visit as part of a guided tour organized by a reputable company or with an appropriate permit. Experiences that are still available during the winter months: The Ouchi-juku kimono experience,  Kitakata Ramen-Making Experience, Minamiaizu Private Taxi Program and the Minamisoma Coast Trekking. Finding Winter Destinations While some places and experiences enter an hibernation of sorts, others take center stage. Ski slopes, with powder snow and lots of activities for the entire family, become one of the main attractions in Fukushima (check out our 2-day skiing itinerary here). Winter festivals, illuminations and other events enliven several spots around Fukushima (check our calendar for winter events in Fukushima in 2023). If You’re Planning The Ultimate Winter Road Trip... Bring snacks and drinks with you! Japanese convenience stores and vending machines are spread out in remote rural areas. It’s always safer to bring snacks and drinks with you, particularly if you are traveling with children. If you would like to know where to go for pit stops, roadside stations, known in Japanese as “michi no eki” (道の駅) usually have local specialty foods and souvenirs. Prepare for the Unexpected—and the Beautiful We recently visited the famous No. 1 Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint with my coworker. In the morning, we were told that the JR Tadami Line, which famously runs over the scenic bridge, had canceled operations for the day due to heavy snowfall, but we decided to go anyway. When we arrived at the viewpoint, it was snowing heavily and there was zero visibility—the iconic view was nothing but an indistinguishable mass of white and gray. We decided to drive to another scenic point (Kaneyama Fureai Hiroba Viewpoint) hoping the sky would clear up. It finally did and we were lucky to get beautiful shots of both places. You never know when you can enjoy a snow-covered landscape with clear skies. Winter is a delightful season to travel around Fukushima and take in the views of its many scenic towns, winter festivals, and glistening lakes nested in the mountains. Miyakoji Area in Tamura City The coastal area is also worth a visit during this time; its famous sunshine and tropical feel make it a perfect getaway from the harsher cold inland. If you’re thinking of visiting the sunny city of Iwaki, check out our recent post, 5 Things to Do in Iwaki City This Winter. If you have any questions about traveling in Fukushima, please send it to us using the contact form you can find on our website. We hope you enjoy your stay in Fukushima!

    A Complete Guide to Visiting Fukushima During Winter