Autumn in Fukushima

The fall season is a recommended time to visit Fukushima, with the red autumn foliage bringing shades of color to the prefecture’s natural landscapes. Bandai-Azuma Skyline, Goshiki-numa Ponds, Shiramizu Amidado Temple, and Enzoji Temple are just some of the best places to view the fall colors. It’s also festival season, so take your pick from Aizu’s Samurai Parade, the Taimatsu-Akashi Fire Festival, the Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival, and many more.

Average temperature

  • Sep 25° / 17°
  • Oct 20° / 10°
  • Nov 14° / 4°
  • Autumn Foliage Mid October to mid November

Autumn Leaves

To-no-hetsuri Crags
Nature & Scenery

To-no-hetsuri Crags

A national natural monument, To-no-hetsuri Crags consists of tower-shaped cliffs overlooking Okawa River. Hetsuri is an Aizu word meaning "a cliff overlooking a river" or "a steep slope" in the local dialect. 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. Thanks to trees growing between the white multi-layered rocks the view in autumn is quite spectacular. In spring and summer, the lush greens create a beautiful carpet down the rocks; in winter, the heavy snows make To-no-hetsuri Crags look otherworldly. The 200-meter long, natural cliff formation has alternating types of rocks that also include a relatively soft strata, which have been eroded by rain and wind, resulting in distinctive and eye-catching dips and curves in the rock face that resemble a forest of towers. Each of these tower-like rocks has its own name: Eagle Tower, Hawk Tower, Lion Tower, House Tower, Turret Tower, Nine-Ring Tower, Elephant Tower, Goma (fire ritual) Tower, Eboshi (tall hat worn by male aristocrats in the Heian Period) Rock, Folding Screen Rock, Stage Rock, and Sumo Arena Rock. Visitors to the area of To-no-hetsuri Crags can best enjoy the dynamic scenery by crossing the nearby suspension bridge. The suspension bridge offers a breathtaking sight of the river and cliff sides. At the foot of the cliff there is also a small shrine dedicated to the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. Another great way to enjoy To-no-hetsuri Crags is from the observatory neighboring the area where guests can view a panoramic scene of Okawa River, To-no-hetsuri Crags, and the suspension bridge. After enjoying the beautiful sight, head over to the local shopping area for restaurants and souvenirs.

Tsurugajo Castle
Historical Sites

Tsurugajo Castle

Tsurugajo Castle allows visitors the opportunity to experience history, nature, and tradition with all five senses. Despite being mostly reconstructed, the surrounding park's stone walls remain in their original state. In 2010, for the first time since it was refurbished in 1965, the castle underwent a cosmetic restoration. Following completion in 2011, the same red-tile roofs seen by the Byakkotai (during the Boshin War and finals days of the Tokugawa shogunate) are now displayed for all to see. This castle is one of the final strongholds of samurai that remained loyal to the shogunate and today stands as a symbol of courage and faithfulness. Within the castle tower's museum, the swords and armor of the castle’s successive lords are on display. Visitors can watch a CG-enhanced theatrical video reflecting on the great history of Aizu. In addition to the historical atmosphere surrounding Tsurugajo, visitors can sense the changes that have occurred throughout history, thanks to the engaging and informative museum within the castle walls. It’s fun to gaze across Aizu from the fifth floor, like a feudal lord admiring his domain—the viewing platform up here provides panoramic views taking in Mt. Bandai and Mt. Iimoriyama. The castle is also a must-see in the springtime when approximately 1,000 cherry trees offer a magnificent display within the castle's grounds. When you’re in the mood for a rest, visit the Rinkaku Tea Rooms for some freshly-prepared matcha green tea. This tea house on the grounds of Tsurugajo was vital in the spread of this traditional art—and had it been destroyed during the Meiji Restoration, tea ceremony as it is known in Japan might have vanished. Tsurugajo Castle is truly a place where the modern visitor can slip into the past and become immersed in history.

Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko
Historical Sites

Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko

Built in 1055, the Nagatoko is Shingu Kumano Shrine's worship hall and translates to “long floor”. It is designated as a Nationally Important Cultural Asset. Built as the main structure during the Heian period to the Kamakura period, its thatched roof is supported by 44 massive pillars, each one 45 cm in diameter. This comprises a single large, open stage with no walls, and is said to have been used for ascetic training by priests, as well as kagura dance festivals. Housed inside a nearby large wooden frame is the shrine bell, which visitors to the shrine are welcome to hit with the wooden rod. There is also a famous copper pot where, allegedly, rice was rinsed before being offered to the gods; it was designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1959. This treasure is housed at the shrine along with many others and are on display for visitors along with national and prefectural designated cultural assets. Also not to be missed in the lion statue in the center of the treasure hall. It is known as a guardian of wisdom and there is a local legend that says if you can pass under the belly of the lion your own wisdom will blossom. It’s a popular place for students to visit before the exam season, and even politicians before election season. Come autumn, the magnificent 800-year-old ginkgo tree is bathed in yellow and makes a beautiful contrast with the Nagatoko. This ancient tree has also been designated as a Natural Monument of Kitakata City. in November of every year, you can even see a special illumination of the ginkgo tree for a limited time.

Tsuchiyu Onsen
Hot Springs

Tsuchiyu Onsen

Tsuchiyu Onsen, located at the heart of Mt. Azuma, is surrounded by beautiful scenic spots, and is home to many ryokan and hotels - such as Hotel Sansuiso - that make the most of the abundant onsen water. As well being to make day-trips to the baths at many of Tsuchiyu Onsen's ryokan, there are also footbaths and public baths dotted throughout this quaint town. A Japan of years gone by is captured in the nostalgic streets of Tsuchiyu Onsen. Check out the various shops selling the town’s famous Kokeshi Dolls (a Japanese traditional craft), browse for omiyage or stop by at a café.

Nanko Park
Nature & Scenery

Nanko Park

In 1801, Matsudaira Sadanobu, the twelfth Lord of Shirakawa, constructed a recreational area which was to be opened to anybody - regardless of status or family background. This recreational area turned into Nanko Park, which is considered to be the Japan's oldest public park. There are Yoshino cherry blossoms (about 800 trees), azaleas, pine trees, and maple trees at the edge of lake. You can enjoy seasonal scenery such as cherry blossoms in spring, fresh green leaves in early summer, autumn colors, and winter scenery with the beautiful contrast of the Nasu Mountains. The park contains Nanko Shrine, where Sadanobu is enshrined as a deity. Next to Nanko Shrine stands the beautiful Japanese gardens Suirakuen. At Suirakuen, visitors can try traditional Japanese tea served in a tea room, which boasts a spectacular view of the gardens. There are a number of shops, cafés, and restaurants along the edge of Lake Nanko. One of the local specialities to look out for is nanko dango, which are sticky rice balls on a skewer, served with different toppings.

Bandaisan Gold Line
Nature & Scenery

Bandaisan Gold Line

The Bandaisan Gold Line road connects Bandai Kogen, a highland rich with lakes diverse in shapes and size, and various alpine plants, and the Aizu area, which has an immensely rich and fascinating history. This submontane sightseeing road offers diverse views of Mt. Bandai (known in Japanese as 'Bandai-san') and can lead visitors to either the mountain's rugged caldera or to the picturesque Lake Inawashiro. Visitors can discover new hidden gems every time they explore the Gold Line by car, making it a very popular spot to return to among tourists and locals. The area surrounding the road is known as a foliage-viewing spot with hairpin curves that carve through the woodlands. On the walking trail that leads to Baya-ike, a "phantom" waterfall, visitors can take in the beauty of the landscape as they hike. The most highly recommended walking course extends from Happodai to the Oguninuma wetlands, where in late June, visitors are greeted by ban array of beautiful, broad dwarf day-lilies.

Enzoji Temple
Historical Sites

Enzoji Temple

A symbolic temple of Aizu, Enzoji was built about 1,300 years ago in 807. Fukuman Kokuzo Enzoji Temple (Enzoji Temple for short) was built by Tokuichi Daishi, a noted priest from the Aizu region. The main hall of the temple rises high above a huge crag. From here, the Tadami River can be viewed flowing magnificently through the town. You can also see the various views of each season, with cherry blossoms in spring, mist over the river in summer, red maples in autumn, and snow in winter. The temple has many highlights, such as a treasure house and monuments in memory of poets, inscribed with their poems and haiku. The temple is dedicated to Fukuman Kokuzo Bosatsu (the Bodhisattva of wisdom). There are many legends associated with the temple. For example, one legend tells of how when Kobo Daishi threw wood shavings from the statue of Kokuzo Bosatsu into the Tadami River, they immediately turned into countless Japanese dace fish. Another story is about how a red cow helped with the difficult construction of the temple - a story which led to the widespread acceptance of the "akabeko" red cow as an important symbol of Fukushima. One more story is that of Nanokado Hadaka Mairi ("Naked Man Festival" at Nanukado Temple). The legends are many and varied.

Shiramizu Amidado Temple
Historical Sites

Shiramizu Amidado Temple

Shiramizu Amidado Temple (Amitabha Hall) was constructed in 1160 by Princess Tokuhime of the Oushu Fujiwara clan, which built the "golden culture" in Oushu (the present Tohoku Region). It is the only building in Fukushima Prefecture that has been designated as a national treasure. Inside the hall stands a wooden statue of Amida Nyorai as well as a number of other Buddhist statues such as Kannon Bosatsu, Seishi Bosatsu, Jikoku Tenno, and Tamon Tenno. The garden, called Jodo Teien (Jodo, or "the pure land", is the Buddhist paradise) is a realm of natural beauty in every season. The scenery is especially breathtaking in summer when the lotus flowers are in bloom, prompting one famous writer to liken the garden to the mythical paradise.

Tenkyokaku
Nature & Scenery

Tenkyokaku

Named by the Crown Prince Yoshihito upon its opening in 1907 as “The Palace of Heaven’s Mirror”, Tenkyokaku is a decadently decorated former villa. Imperial Prince Arisugawa Takehito decided to build Tenkyokaku after being impressed by the beauty of Lake Inawashiro during a visit to the Tohoku District. His family, the Arisugawa-no-miya Family, owned the villa until 1952, when it was granted to Fukushima Prefecture. Tenkyokaku has since been used as a meeting hall and a space for lectures and exhibitions. The former villa, its annex and its front gate have been specified as important cultural properties of Japan. Despite being restored in 1984, the building retains many of its original features, including the impressive chandelier which can be seen below. Despite no longer being able to see Lake Inawashiro from the windows of Tenkyokaku, the luxurious renaissance-style architecture and liberal use of all things gold and glittery means that visitors will by all means feel that its name still rings true. For only 520 yen, you can dress up in a traditional outfit and take as many photos as you would like in the building!

Sukagawa Botan-en Peony Garden
Nature & Scenery

Sukagawa Botan-en Peony Garden

This peony garden is three times the size of Tokyo Dome, and has 290 varieties of peony, totalling 7,000 flowers. Key features of Sukagawa Botan-en Peony Garden include its 200 year-old peony plants, the 'Showa-no-yume' variety of peony unique to Sukagawa City, and a rare 'Toryo' Chinese peony presented by a representative from Luoyang, Sukagawa's sister-city in China. The deep purple of the Japanese peonies that grow in the garden are also very popular. Volunteer guides are ready to show visitors around the park for not extra charge. The Sukagawa Peony Garden is the only such garden in Japan to be designated as a Spot of Natural Beauty by the Japanese government. As well as peonies, the garden also boasts flowers such as roses, and Japanese irises, which are in bloom until the end of June. Peak viewing season for peonies is from late April to mid-May.  

Tatsuzawa Fudo Falls
Nature & Scenery

Tatsuzawa Fudo Falls

Breathe in the cool, crisp negative ion air and relax under the shade of trees as you marvel at the beauty of the Tatsuzawa Fudo Falls. Two waterfalls make up the Tatsuzawa Fudo Falls; Odaki is considered the male fall and is the larger of the two (16 m tall), while the smaller of the two is considered female and called Medaki. The sight is indeed lovely to behold as the silvery waterfalls over the rocks below. The Tatsuzawa Fudo Falls are located in Inawashiro Town and are beautiful year-round. These falls are also a treasure for photographers because of how serene they are surrounded by nature on all sides. In spring and summer, the lush greenery makes the whole forest feel alive; in autumn, the vibrant colors of the leaves reflect off the water and give it a painterly feel. With proper snow equipment, you can even visit in winter and see the stark contrast falls against the white snow. The drive up to the falls is only 15 minutes from central Inawashiro Town, and there’s a small parking lot about a 10-minute hike from the falls. The walk itself is easy and smooth. You’ll first pass Lady Medaki before arriving at the main Odaki falls. And with maple trees framing the waterfall just perfectly, you’ll want to be sure to remember your camera and perhaps a tripod as well. There is even nearby onsen for you to stay and relax afterward. So why not visit the falls to relax your mind and soul, and then go for a soothing dip in the hot springs to rejuvenate your body. You won’t be disappointed with the vista of the falls or the nearby area.

Yamamoto Fudoson Temple
Historical Sites

Yamamoto Fudoson Temple

Yamamoto Fudoson Temple was built over 1000 years ago in a rocky cavern. The temple can be reached by taking paths lined with century-old Japanese cedar trees, and climbing a 130-step stone staircase. The cave that makes up part of the Yamamoto Fudoson temple grounds is where the Buddhist deity enshrined at this temple is worshipped. Yamamoto Fudoson Temple is located in Yamamoto Park. This park is centered in a valley – 5 km of which is designated as an Okukuji Prefectural Natural Park. A wonderful place for flower-viewing throughout the year, this area is also great for experiencing beautiful autumn leaves.

Kashi-Ohashi Bridge
Nature & Scenery

Kashi-Ohashi Bridge

Nishigo Village is truly blessed with breathtaking scenery and view spots, such as Kashi-Ohashi Bridge. Kashi-Ohashi Bridge stretches for 199 m against a backdrop of mountains, colored with fresh spring greenery or bright red leaves, depending on the season. Home to the water source of the Abukuma River, and filled with primeval forest trees, the beauty of Nishigo Village area was even praised by the feudal lord Matsudaira Sadanobu in centuries gone by. A bridle path has been constructed near Kashi-Ohashi Bridge, and lots of hikers come to visit every summer and autumn.

Nakakamado Maple Tree
Nature & Scenery

Nakakamado Maple Tree

Nakakamado is a very uniquely-shaped maple tree. This incredible tree – designated as a Natural Monument – looks like an open umbrella, and has 3 m of roots that protrude out of the ground. If visiting during autumn-leaf season, it’s best to plan your trip for mid to late-November. That being said, Nakakamado can be enjoyed through each of the four seasons – visitors can appreciate the fresh green leaves that cover it in spring, and the very unusual shape of the branches after the autumn leaves fall.  

Hanitsu Shrine
Historical Sites

Hanitsu Shrine

This shrine is dedicated to Masayuki Hoshina, who founded the Aizu Domain during the first half of the Edo Period. During the early Edo Period, Hoshima Masanobu – an ancestor of feudal lords from the Aizu Domain – was enshrined at Hanitsu Shrine. The grounds exude a holy atmosphere that can be felt throughout the shrine precincts. The 400 years of history held by this shrine, starting from the Edo Period, will surely be of interest to history enthusiasts and fans of the Aizu Domain alike. During the autumn, the grounds are covered with a gorgeous carpet of bright red leaves. Many tourists and photographers come to visit Hanitsu Shrine in Autumn to capture this scene in their photos.

Shiki no Sato (Village of Four Seasons)
Nature & Scenery

Shiki no Sato (Village of Four Seasons)

Shiki no Sato (Village of Four Seasons) is a lawn-covered agricultural park of about 8 ha in size. There are western-inspired brick buildings in the center, which house a traditional crafts gallery. The gallery includes a glass workshop and kokeshi (traditional wooden doll) exhibit. You can learn to make blown glass, see kokeshi being made by local artisans, and try your hand at decorating a doll of your own. Shiki no Sato also has an ice cream shop offering seasonal ice creams made with the local fruits of Fukushima. In addition to ice cream, you can try a variety of locally-produced beers at the Shiki no Sato's beer hall. The seasonal flowers are a highlight of a visit to Shiki no Sato, which is loved by families and young couples alike. The summertime firework displays and the winter light-ups in the park are some of the most popular times to visit.

Bandai-Azuma Skyline
Nature & Scenery

Bandai-Azuma Skyline

This sightseeing road that runs from Fukushima City's Takayu Onsen to the Tsuchiyu Pass, commanding panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The spectacular views that stretch out at an average altitude of 1,350 meters attract visitors time and time again, and Bandai-Azuma Skyline has been selected as one of the 100 Best Roads in Japan. In spring, tourists can enjoy flower viewing while at the same time taking in the otherworldly winter scenery of the "Snow Corridor". In summer, the Nemoto Shakunage (Rhododendron brachycarpum), a species of alpine rose, and other alpine plants display their colorful flowers and fresh, brilliant green leaves. During autumn, the drive warms as roads become enclosed by fiery seasonal leaves. There are also many hot springs in the vicinity of the Skyline where visitors can enjoy a bath and relax stiff muscles while out on a daytrip. The roadway passes next to the crater of Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. Visitors can easily park their car at the nearby guest center and enjoy a short hike up to the crater’s rim. The Bandai-Azuma Skyline Roadway has been selected as one of the top 100 roads in Japan, and unlike many others, this one is free to use. There are rest stops along the way for the hungry traveler; the most popular is Jododaira, as it’s home to a rest house and an observatory. Be sure to plan ahead though, from mid-November to early April the roadway is closed due to heavy winter snowfall.

Bandai-Azuma Lake Line
Nature & Scenery

Bandai-Azuma Lake Line

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. The Nakatsugawa Valley, which lies half-way along the route, offers a wonderful view of a combination of rock surfaces polished by strong water currents and woodland greenery. A rest-house area with washrooms stands near the valley and visitors can enjoy trekking along the walking trails from the season of fresh green leaves through to the end of the season of red and yellow foliage. The valley is particularly famous as one of the most scenic foliage-viewing spots in Japan with many photographers visiting from both inside and outside of the prefecture. Enjoy a beautiful drive through this landscape when the new leaves of spring are fresh and green or when the autumn beauty of the valley glistens with red and yellow foliage of beeches, buckeyes, and maples.

Nakatsugawa Valley
Nature & Scenery

Nakatsugawa Valley

Nakatsugawa Valley is famous for its beautiful fall foliage. The Nakatsugawa River is a clear stream flowing down from Bandai Kogen (Bandai Highland) to Lake Akimoto. In autumn, the leaves of the many trees, such as maples, alders, and wild cherry trees, turn brilliant and bold colors. The valley can be reached via the lakeside cycling road or by following the trail from the Nakatsugawa Valley Rest House Lake Line Parking Area. Take a relaxing stroll along the ravine while breathing in the mountain air full of healthy negative ions.

Jododaira Visitor Center
Outdoor Activities

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.

Oze Hinoemata Onsen
Hot Springs

Oze Hinoemata Onsen

Oze Hinoemata Onsen has hot springs fed to every household, as well as bathing facilities run by the village for day visits. Aruza Oze no Sato, Hiuchi no Yu, Koma no Yu are all names of hot spring establishments in the town. Hinoemata area is also famous for Kabuki, a form of traditional performing art in Japan. Traditional Kabuki performances with a rich history dating from the Edo Period are still performed to this day on Hinoemata's kabuki stage, which is over 250 years old. There are three performances per year (May 12, August 18, and the first Saturday of September). Explore historical and cultural treasures such as the kabuki stage, the unique shrine featuring a stone statue of Hashiba-no-Banba, itakura (wooden storehouses), the six jizo statues, and the Hinoemata Folk Village by foot. Make sure to try Hinoemata area's 'Yamodo Cuisine': a characteristic cuisine centered on 100% buckwheat noodles, which features dishes such as 'Hatto soba' and rice cakes. Visitors can also enjoy walking and fishing at Hinoemata Mini Oze Park, a spacious park which comes to life with bright colours throughout the year as various flowers take turns to bloom. Oze Hinoemata Onsen is at the gateway to Oze National Park, making it as a base for hiking around Ozegahara Marsh, and for climbing mountains such as Mt. Hiuchigatake, Aizu Komagatake, Teishakuzen, and Tashiroyama.

Soma Nakamura Shrine
Historical Sites

Soma Nakamura Shrine

Soma Nakamura Shrine, long revered for enshrining the patron deity of the Soma clan, is built on a small hill in the western area of the Nakamura Castle grounds. The shrine was erected in 1643 by Soma Yoshitsune, the 18th head of the Soma family. The main shrine is a an example of Gongen Shinto architecture, in which the main hall and worship hall are connected by a passageway, and the lacquer, painting, and metal fixtures are authentic representations of its Kan'ei era construction. The shrine was designated as a national important cultural property in 1984.

Bandai-Azuma Skyline Cycling Route
Outdoor Activities

Bandai-Azuma Skyline Cycling Route

The Bandai-Azuma Skyline is one of the top cycling routes of Japan!  The route brings cyclists through dense green forests to volcanic terrain and sweeping views of Fukushima city and the volcanic peak of Mt. Kofuji, or “Little Fuji”. In autumn this course is warmed by vibrant autumn leaves, that make for a magical ride! Fukushima has routes for cyclists of all levels! Click here for more information about Cycling Courses and Events in Fukushima!  (Click here to read our blog about cycling the scenic Bandai-Azuma Skyline!)

Mori no Bunko Fuzawa
Cultural Experiences

Mori no Bunko Fuzawa

Mori no Bunko Fuzawa is a mountain village life workshop facility where guests can experience the lifestyle, nature, and charms of living in a Japanese rural mountain village. This building was a working school up to 40 years ago, the black board in one classroom where all of the students wrote their goodbye messages on the last day of school has been preserved as is. (If you visit, please be sure to avoid touching, erasing, or writing on the black board.) All three classrooms are available to stay the night in! Guests are charged per person, not per room, so if your group are the only ones staying the night then you are free to spread out into all three of the rooms. This is the kind of lodging that Japanese students would stay in on overnight school trips, so there is a sense of nostalgia when staying here.  There are also many different activities that you can experience when staying here, such as local and traditional craft making and even river trekking with local guides! Read more about river trekking experiences here.

Itineraries in Autumn

Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
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!

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.  

Onsen & Sightseeing in Aizu by Train
Onsen & Sightseeing in Aizu by Train
Onsen & Sightseeing in Aizu by Train
Nature

Onsen & Sightseeing in Aizu by Train

Jump start your vacation in Fukushima’s Aizu region with this multi-day tour, which can be enjoyed at any time of year. These ideas make for great additions to already existing plans, or as a tour of their own. No matter how you decide to use this itinerary, you won’t be disappointed. Travel by train and local bus, or taxi, to enjoy Aizu to the fullest. Begin your adventure at Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (don’t forget to snap some pics of its bowing red akabeko cow out front) and use the local bus or taxi to make your way for Tsurugajo Castle. Walk through the gardens and grounds of this magnificent castle and marvel at the red-tile roof—the only one of its kind in all of Japan. Inside you can tour the castle keep and see the artifacts of Aizu, let history come to life before your eyes. From the castle, travel to Nanokamachi-dori Street; this quaint area has preserved its early-20th century architecture and is now home to souvenir boutiques and many diners and hidden gems. With that being enough for one day’s excitement, head over to Higashiyama Onsen and soak your travel aches away in the hot springs of Harataki ryokan, which even has its own hot spring source. You’ll love taking a dip in these hot, refreshing, and soothing waters—the outside open-air bath is especially recommended. The next day, why not head over to Ouchi-juku, here you can tour an authentic preserved Aizu village and try local cuisine. The whole area gets really busy in winter and, if you’re brave enough to face the cold, the snow festival is a popular event.  

Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)
Adventure

Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)

Have you ever wanted to take a cross-prefecture tour of Japan, from Tokyo to the impeccable countryside of Fukushima? Well, now is your chance to travel from the international hub of Tokyo and see what else Japan and—especially—Fukushima have to offer. Enjoy this cross-country tour of Japan any time of the year, over the span of a few days so that you can enjoy things at your pace. You’ll find life outside of Tokyo goes at a much slower pace. Start your trip from Tokyo Station and ride a short distance to Asakusa. See one of the busiest shrine-and-temple locations in Tokyo. You’ll love the bustling atmosphere and the street stalls with their many trinkets and souvenirs. Once you’ve finished in Asakusa, head out of the city and make your way for Tochigi Prefecture’s Nikko. Nikko is perhaps most famous for the three monkey statues that people equate with “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”. You’ll see these wonderful statues and more while you stop over in Nikko. From there, travel north to Higashiyama Onsen and enjoy the sights form the train along the way. Higashiyama Onsen is Fukushima’s home to some truly great hot springs and Japanese-style inns. Soak up the hot waters and relax your tired muscles. At Tsuruga-jo Castle, you can walk the pristine gardens and enjoy the castle grounds. Be sure to make note of the red-roof tiles of the castle as well, this is the only castle in Japan that boasts having these deep-red tiles. Inside the castle keep, discover the history of the Aizu samurai through the many exhibits and displayed artifacts. Make your way to Nanokamachi-dori Street and admire the local architecture, which is quite different than that from the rest of the area. Search out local hidden gems along the narrow streets and find the perfect souvenir to take home. Enjoy your time in Tokyo, Tochigi, and Fukushima like never before with this route.  

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  1. Useful Information

    Persimmon Paradise in Date City!

    Here you can drive though fields of endless persimmons...  [photo id="8NK4Ft04Z1mDZvU0r2r64E7Wzk9bh5C1hjb4g4Ee.jpg"] At first you might think that someone has hung thousands of lanterns, such a romantic sight might be expected in a town named Date City... but these are actually persimmons! Acres and acres of persimmon trees grow around the Date City area. On top of that nearly every home in the area has hundreds, even thousands, of persimmons hanging from their rafters or in open air pavilions. Dried persimmons are, apparently, a specialty in Date City. [photo id="xxD2KYbrKMwaWgF4JQcv0dVCdjksZizgBhFj0QO6.jpg"] These fruits are turned into delicious semi-dried fruits that you’ve got to try! They are so good. The outer skin firms up like fruit leather and the insides sweeten and become gelatinous in texture. If you have ever tried a "gusher," these are like giant gushers that are naturally sweet.  [photo id="SkTAsX5Y6lzNZNmB7cGQeDJPkgZpKgoWTNc2nxaU.jpg"] The practice of hanging persimmons at home is still practiced by some Japanese people, however it can be a bit difficult and time consuming. Fortunately for everyday people (who lack both time and skill) the farmers of Date City make and sell plenty of these delicious treats!  [photo id="GC6ytlZkIgEykso4rVPDoVaagwfgQaWdzS2JdInR.jpg"] Those who hang persimmons for commercial use use a special method that they learned from California raisin makers, this is how they maintain their brilliant color! It was cool to find a connection to my home country in such a cute rural town.

    Persimmon Paradise in Date City!
  2. Destination Spotlight

    Fukushima x SIGMA: A Photographer's Paradise Route

    This route through part of Fukushima has it all, fantastic autumn views, history, and adventure! Follow the route that we took to produce our video, "Fukushima x SIGMA: A Photographer's Paradise."  Grab your camera, and LET'S GO! Tsurugajo Castle First we went to the gorgeous and historic Tsurugajo Castle, a bright white castle that pops against the fall colors. [photo id="nEomwgxZTINa2uEOHeekH5I9qKZxPAO4DklHiBas.jpeg"] The high walls of the castle that once gave archers the strategic advantage against invaders, now provide fantastic angles for photographers. We walked along the castle walls and searched for the best angles of the bright white castle framed in the warm autumn leaves. The castle tower is now a museum where visitors can view artifacts and learn about the history of samurai in the area. This castle was one of the final strongholds of samurai during the Boshin War and the final days of the Tokugawa shogunate. Something to think about as you photograph this historic location. Be sure to check out the Rinkaku Tea Rooms on the castle grounds, it’s a great place to photograph some Japanese plants and a traditional garden atmosphere. Not only is the garden beautiful, but you can even enjoy traditional Japanese sweets and Matcha green tea if you have time. (Read more about Tsurugajo Castle...) Sazaedo Temple Next, we arrived at Sazaedo Temple, a unique Buddhist temple that was built in 1796.   [photo id="dG9MGm5U4U98GX3AZNrlYAMx0wG51OitsFc2R3v4.jpeg"] When we first arrived, I was a bit confused. The entrance is a red tori gate that seems to be the entrance to a deep forest. After crossing under the gateway, we followed the stone path and suddenly the sound of a rushing river greeted us. A river surges through a curving canal and under a small bridge, then out of sight. Before even catching a glimpse of the temple we could feel the spiritual power of this place. To the right, a set of stairs and leads up to Sazaedo Temple.  This architectural wonder is hexagonal in shape and has a unique double helix staircase. A must-see! The outside is beautiful, but the inside was what I looked forward to the most. We went inside to capture photos of the walls and ceilings that are plastered with the names of families who visited hundreds of years ago, an old Japanese tradition. Lit only by the natural night that streams in through the windows, this place truly felt like a step back into another time. (Read more about Sazaedo Temple...) Yunokami Onsen Next we went to Yunokami Onsen, one of my favorite places to visit in Fukushima. [photo id="rwAQbVugPOytWuCWDZZvfhtbfP0UFZKB4o48pisL.jpeg" size="original"] We searched ahead to find out what time the train would be coming and arrived just in time to capture photos of the train passing by. Watching the local train roll into this cozy countryside station was one of the highlights of my day! This place is truly special. The mountains around the station are small and cute, shaped like the triangular mountains that a kid might draw. In autumn when the autumn foliage gives the mountains their warmer colors, it provides a cozy backdrop to the thatched roof of the station. The name of this station has the word onsen in it, and sure enough, there is a foot onsen to warm you up! A great way to spend some time while waiting to capture the perfect picture of the train rolling into the station. I get cold easily so this was a great place for me to warm up. Inside the station there are lots of old fashioned candies and snacks, I picked up a few to try and they were so delicious, I highly recommend checking that out. (Read more about Yunokami Onsen Station...) To-no-hetsuri Crags Next we visted the To-no-hetsuri Crags, a beautiful and romantic place where huge cliffs overlook a gorgeous river. [photo id="Sekb8cvrmCd8B3pKfuS5qRiJw9oQggRmj8J2Qyqp.jpeg"] The autumn leaves, white cliff faces, and turquoise water contrast beautifully making for great memories and photographs. We crossed the suspension bridge and wandered around the cliffs to find places to take some great photos. A narrow staircase leads to a viewpoint and a small shrine that is built into the rock face, that was an exciting surprise! One of my favorite memories here was just standing at the bank of the river after crossing the bridge, autumn leaves gently falling from the cliffs above and landing delicately on the surface of the river. We explored here for a while and captured some really amazing photos, this is a great spot and felt like the kind of dramatic landscape that you might see in an old Japanese painting. (Read more about the To-no-hetsuri Crags...) Ouchi-juku Arriving in Ouchi-juku felt like stepping back into the old world of samurai! [photo id="sqdTxHtMWQlVsbEj1g3AFUQOpH4a2qoU0zM9iaZH.jpeg"] The historic post town, looked like an ancient village, and the coolest thing was that there were still traditional businesses run by families whose ancestors lived here since ancient times. There are tons of alleyways and old fashioned cafés to stop and take photos of. At the end of the road if the most popular photo spot where you can capture an image of the street that runs through the middle of town. We explored the shops, and captured photos of the town and the unique alleyways. We stopped at one of the many noodle shops in town and tried negi soba (fresh buckwheat noodles eaten using a green onion), stick-roasted char fish, fire roasted rice cakes and more! My favorite memory here was holding up one of my snacks to photograph it against the blue sky. I got really excited when I noticed the warmly colored thatched roofs seemed endless as they blended into the warm colors of the mountains. Sitting down to enjoy my snack in one of the alleyway cafés was a nice way to spend the last moments of the day as the sun set behind the mountains. After a long day of photography, it was nice to slow down in the evening and spent the night in one of the historic buildings that have been functioning as guesthouses for hundreds of years. (Read more about Ouchi-juku...) Lake Sohara In the early morning light we drove to Lake Sohara for gorgeous views of the lake. We almost went paddling on the lake to see what kind of photos could be taken from the water, but ultimately we chose to move on to the next location. However, if you like paddling it seems like a lot of fun! Bandai-Azuma Lake Line Next we drove along the beautiful Bandai-Azuma Lake Line and enjoyed the excellent views. [photo id="Fbu9AktsmedHcibhRXMIBTHxjtIAFBRfbsOPaRHg.jpeg"] But of course we didn’t just drive by, we stopped a few times for photos and these were two viewpoints that you should definitely check out! Nakatsugawa Valley Viewpoint First we stopped at the Nakatsugawa Valley Viewpoint, here we captured photos of the gorgeous view of the Nakatsugawa river winding through the autumn colored valley. [photo id="wlSJARZM3JLhaNQGnWfAvK8WvToaiBG1lG6pbjkb.jpeg" size="original"] To access this viewpoint, you will want to park at the Nakatsugawa Keikoku Resthouse and walk to the viewpoint through a short path through the trees. The trees on this path were also very beautiful so be sure to have your camera out, but watch your step. I had a hard time focusing on the path as the wind through the trees along the path was truly enchanting. Sanko Paradise Viewpoint We continued driving along the Bandai Azuma Lake Line to reach the second viewpoint, the Sanko Paradise Viewpoint. [photo id="uqof8abv2xIgT9K4TziIBUHCXHkJFFoDO5TBDC3G.jpeg" size="original"] Sanko literally translated to “three lakes,” from this viewpoint you can enjoy the view of three lakes framed by autumn colored mountains. My jaw dropped at this view, the mountains and lakes were so beautiful. As we drove there were quite a few clouds forming in the sky that made me a bit nervous... However, as we pulled up to this viewpoint, the clouds made way for rays of sunshine that illuminated the mountains and valleys in a truly magical way. Goshiki-numa Ponds Next we visited the Goshiki-numa Ponds where the bright blue water contrasted with the warm autumn leaves and made for a fantastic sight! [photo id="M6RZXpysn6T9M6MRsRno4Ae5tpTE23jEOJ3dQpYb.jpeg" size="original"] Take a stroll around the lake and enjoy this spectacular view, while you pick out your favorite angles to take photos from. This unique lake was formed due to volcanic activity in the area, so it can change colors slightly depending on the time of day and the season, so you are sure to capture a unique photo. After taking a lot of photos outside, I was feeling rather chilly, so I quickly grabbed a cup of warm, non-alcoholic amazake, a popular cool weather drink in Japan. Inawashiro Herb Garden Next we headed towards Lake Inawashiro and stopped by the Inawashiro Herb Garden. [photo id="XbPfKuumCOe1ffIrWj6CT6bjTC0geV337VpvCBYA.jpeg"] Here you can go inside and see beautiful collections of flowers, depending on when you visit, there may be an art installation as well. When we visited there was a beautiful exhibit that featured colorful umbrellas by the reflective pond. Research ahead of time when you visit to find out what art installation will be on display when you visit. [photo id="d0Vn1rkPsMqr04NyN8C5zyn9ptJ52myRJTdqxsGR.jpeg"] Outside there are huge fields of flowers, and depending on the season and what’s in bloom you can take some really beautiful photos. In autumn there are some very cute fluffy red plants called “kochia,” which look like a plant right out of a Doctor Seuss book! We couldn’t go outside when we visited due to the rain, but if you have nice weather, get creative and see what photos you can take here! Be sure to check Instagram for some photo inspiration as many talented photographer flock to this garden every autumn. There are delicious floral flavored ice creams and snacks to try here, I recommend the floral ice cream, despite the cold, it’s worth it! Lake Inawashiro As we headed towards the station to travel home, we drove around Lake Inawashiro and gazed out at the gorgeous water and fantastic views of Mt. Bandai in the distance. [photo id="jahURTFr2IwI6xIr3A2WnqzxfnKn54t9aYhF9eYt.jpeg"] If the weather is warm or you don’t mind the chilly weather, I recommend finding a spot along the lake shore to stop and relax under some trees. The rain was coming our way so we went to a café instead. There are lots of local coffee shops and cafes, there are many to choose from and they are quite popular among locals, so I recommend checking one out before heading home. I was nice to relax and drink some coffee and have a bit of cake before heading home. This two day / one-night long photography tour of Fukushima was a really special way to visit these wonderful places in Fukushima. It was my first time seeing these places and I was in awe for two days straight. These have become some of my favorite places to visit and photograph in Fukushima, and even the whole of Japan. For more on Fukushima, follow us on Instagram ( @rediscoverfukushima ) and Facebook ( Travel Fukushima Japan )!

    Fukushima x SIGMA: A Photographer's Paradise Route
  3. Destination Spotlight

    Iizaka Onsen & Kenka Matsuri Autumn Festival

    WHERE IS IIZAKA ONSEN & WHAT IS A ‘KENKA MATSURI’? Iizaka Onsen is a quaint town built around the sources of the Iizaka Onsen hot springs. Iizaka Onsen hot spring water has been loved for over a millennium, and is well-known in Japan. Residents of Tokyo often pop up on the Shinkansen to take a dip in the relaxing waters of Iizaka Onsen! One thing that onsen-lovers should know about Iizaka Onsen is that the hot spring water is very hot. I visited the oldest public bath in the town called ‘Sabako-yu’ on my first day in Fukushima. I’d read the English information pamphlet that said that the water was hot, but I thought “Well, I’ve been to onsen before – how hot can it be?!” Spoiler alert: hotter than you can imagine! (Around 46 degrees Celsius!) There are plenty of onsen you can take a dip in even if you’re not a fan of hot springs that are super hot. The further away from the source you get, the cooler the water gets. Guess where Sabako-yu is? About 200m away from the source… The being said, as long as you let your body get used to the temperature gradually, it's possible to enjoy the super hot onsen too! HOW CAN I EXPERIENCE A HOT SPRING IN IIZAKA ONSEN? PUBLIC ONSEN There are 9 public hot springs in Iizaka Onsen that you can try out for a small fee. Many of them sell small towels that you can use to dry off after bathing, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own towel! Public onsen in Japan are almost always separated by gender – unless very clearly specified! – and are open to anyone (with the exception of people with tattoos in some cases). [photo id="4jETMQHGCvXUr3F0YRw6C4kVF3yPsdMV8hgmEhwz.jpeg" size="original"] Local people from Iizaka Onsen start visiting the public baths when they are very young, and visit regularly with family and friends until they are old enough to have a family of their own. They will then bring their own children to the public baths, and the cycle of onsen appreciation continues! Public onsen are great places to meet and chat with local people and immerse yourself not only in Japanese culture but in local history and traditions! ASHIYU (足湯)- FOOT-BATHS There are also 3 public foot-baths in Iizaka Onsen, which are free to use, and can be visited by anyone. One of the biggest foot-baths in Iizaka Onsen is in Kyu-horikiri Tei – a traditional residence that dates back over 500 years ago. [photo id="tFDnTqHd0O0w91RpjGm89BOcfWonMTEs12gidEji.jpeg" size="original"] You can find out about the names and locations of some of these public hot springs and public foot-baths on Iizaka Onsen Tourism Association’s website here! HIGAERI NYUYOKU (日帰り入浴) – DAYTIME ONSEN One more way to enjoy hot springs in Iizaka Onsen is to visit ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). Many ryokan in Iizaka Onsen offer visitors the chance to take a dip in their onsen, even if you’re not staying the night. Daytime onsen visits are available at a number of Iizaka Onsen’s many ryokan, including Hotel Juraku  & Yoshikawaya. Check out this website to see which ryokan hotels English-speaking staff. [photo id="g739o8460maKenSwzVXYVnBrb9vW0oghlhGYw3mt.jpeg" size="original"] The price of a trip to a daytime onsen ranges depending on the establishment, but tend to cost between 300 yen to 1400 yen. The more expensive the day onsen, the bigger the establishment and the better the range of baths. Please note that many higaeri nyuyoku onsen only offer this daytime onsen option before 14:00 or 15:00. Hotel Juraku is the exception to this rule, as it is open most days until 21:00. Many ryokan in Japan have a “no tattoo” policy. If you have a tattoo, you can still enjoy onsen, but you’ll need to reserve a private bath as opposed to bathing with the locals. See this post on reserving private baths. HIGHLIGHT OF IIZAKA ONSEN – KENKA MATSURI As well as its amazing, relaxing hot spring water, Iizaka Onsen is also known for Kenka Matsuri (translates as ‘fighting festival’!), which is one of three main fighting festivals in Japan. The festival is always held on the first weekend of October. Fighting festivals make up just one of the types of festival held in autumn in Japan. There are many shinto festivals held in autumn, after the rice harvest has taken place, as a way of thanking the gods for that year’s harvest, and to pray for the prosperity of local people who worship at the shrines. [photo id="nMKGDnDN1YtrxvxcB3qLPoKqp433R23je0ZOLgpH.jpeg" size="original"] During Iizaka Onsen’s Kenka Matsuri, 6 portable shrines (mikoshi) and 6 festival floats (yatai), are paraded around town before being brought to Hachiman Shrine in the center of Iizaka Onsen. Each yatai represents one area of Iizaka Onsen Town, and each mikoshi belongs to one of these various areas. The climax of the festival is reached at around 20:00 on the second day of the festival, when the yatai are brought to Hachiman Shrine – and the fighting begins. [photo id="p3E1waXaFagX8cbGLw3Qz8vUJy5xQgyvbH6Nipj9.jpeg" size="original"] Yatai festival stalls are decorated with lanterns, and are accompanied by the omnipresent beat of the Japanese taiko drum. The sound of the taiko drum actually reverberates from inside the yatai – where the drummer ferociously smashes at the drum for the duration of the festival. Once these yatai reach the grounds of Hachiman Shrine, they crash into one another at great force. The reason for this is that each area of Iizaka Onsen, represented by their yatai, is trying to stop another area’s mikoshi from entering the grounds of Hachiman Shrine. Only one mikoshi can enter the shrine first, and receive good luck for the year to come. Once the mikoshi reaches the back of the shrine, the festival is over. WHY SHOULD I GO TO SEE IIZAKA’S KENKA MATSURI? This festival is super exciting, and I love the atmosphere. The evening air carries the beat of the taiko drum – which persists for the entire festival – the smell of yummy festival foods, and the surprised gasps of onlookers at the sight of floats toppling over, yatai set on first from their lanterns, and men making a narrow escape from underneath them. I’ve never been to a Japanese festival as absorbing, exciting and lively as Kenka Matsuri. [photo id="nU4l3Wqp2T6tGgCuHQzGEVWyaFTNd38qDxm1avtq.jpeg" size="original"] All the participating locals involved in the festival – from young kids in school to teenagers chanting and following their respective yatai float, to grandpas passing on their traditions – truly put their hearts into the evening, which makes it extra special. [photo id="r64JhVtfmik6E6nbVtDw6Ru5cZM9YvdJk5nvXBhv.jpeg" size="original"] I love wandering around Iizaka Onsen on the night of main Kenka Matsuri event. It’s a great opportunity to soak up the amazing atmosphere of a town which is usually so quiet and sleepy. Hachiman Shrine, which becomes the main stage for Kenka Matsuri, is less than a 10 minute walk from Iizaka Onsen station, meaning that even if you have a wander through the streets, it won’t take you long to get back to the action. [photo id="wdq6J9C639Gv02o59gbEbyx3Fet1G2H8FIQpSVvg.png" size="original"] Unlike other festivals in Japan, Iizaka Onsen’s Kenka Matsuri is relatively unknown amongst visitors from abroad, meaning that you can have an authentic Japanese festival experience, and get to interact with the locals. The crashing of the yatai at Hachiman Shrine usually begins at 20:30, but because it gets crowded on festival days, I recommend you get there early and visit with friends who can save your spot when you go to the loo or go to grab a beer at the food and drink stalls. [photo id="Iq6Uxu1kAztqF3eagvSaaKdfFqvqmALxOz6BF2uY.jpeg" size="original"] WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO IN IIZAKA ONSEN? Aside from the festival, Iizaka Onsen is absolutely worth visiting for the excellent onsen, its picturesque streets, adorable cafés and kind local people. [photo id="Tq6UTzhOVAi6KqR1BJgriubdQf52dtzgumJA2tQu.jpeg" size="original"] Iizaka Onsen is also home to the Buddhist temple known as Nakano Fudoson Temple, which really leaves an impression on visitors with its mysterious cave and beautiful waterfalls. Iizaka Onsen’s central location also lends itself to including it as part of an itinerary for a weekend away in Fukushima City. Onsen lovers can even try and compare its waters to those of Tsuchiyu Onsen or Takayu Onsen. WHY NOT MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT? Here’s an idea for a way to spend your weekend in Iizaka Onsen & other areas of Fukushima City during festival time! SATURDAY OCTOBER 6 Travel to Iizaka Onsen from Fukushima Station via the Fukushima Transportation Iizaka Line. Take the bus to Nakano Fudoson Temple and spend some time exploring the caves and waterfall! Travel back to Iizaka Onsen and check in at your ryokan for the night. Wander the streets in the evening during festival time. Make sure to walk over to Hachiman Shrine by 20:00 (the main event of the festival begins at 20:30). Enjoy the festival, try the local delicacy Enban Gyoza for dinner, and stay at a ryokan overnight. [photo id="EBaYMAekXJKlWVI5K5MKllEAMq07IYYNnyDgURNl.jpeg" size="original"] SUNDAY OCTOBER 7 Spend some time exploring Iizaka Onsen by day (check out the Kyu-horiki Tei former residence, foot-baths, day onsen and cute shops). Take the Iizaka Line back to Fukushima Station. Have lunch in Fukushima (Ideas for restaurants here!) Check out the Fukushima City Inari Shrine Autumn Festival in the afternoon and evening. See here for the location of Inari Shrine! MORE INFORMATION Check out this website for a list of places to eat in Iizaka Onsen. Fukushima City’s Convention Association has prepared a decent list of restaurants and izakaya in central Fukushima City. Check it out here! ACCESS Iizaka Onsen can be reached in about 2 hours from Tokyo. Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Ueno Station or Tokyo Station to Fukushima Station (90 min), and from there take 25 min train. (See here for info about reaching Fukushima Station)

    Iizaka Onsen & Kenka Matsuri Autumn Festival
  4. Useful Information

    Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in Fukushima

    Fukushima Prefecture is packed with a huge variety of amazing scenic spots. It goes without saying that there is lots to see during the momiji (autumn-leaf viewing) season! I have compiled a list of 10 of my recommended spots for autumn-leaf viewing! I hope you find it useful. AIZU AREA [photo id="KpEXB8hC0pA2Jf6Q1y8TTpLDGZRINCrPlWATKw93.png" size="original"] 1. GOSHIKI-NUMA PONDS (KITASHIOBARA VILLAGE) [photo id="PSaTDPCNQFB9taG5W5ScoIenRYT81vpJs75dzMK3.jpeg" size="original"] Go on a relaxing hike with friends, or rent a row-boat with that special someone! The five-coloured ponds of Goshiki-numa are some of my favourite places in Fukushima and the bright blue of their waters looks fantastic in the autumn time. [photo id="IsJLWVQlPijNMaQjoMQAG4XqqcLFXor44hM5Lq51.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to visit: Mid Oct – Early Nov Information on reaching the Goshiki-numa Ponds 2. SHINGU KUMANO SHRINE NAGATOKO (KITAKATA CITY) [photo id="58rEztUSLvUZxRQkvwSXV0gJbYfPMY5dT5ZMpB8K.jpeg" size="original"] This Kumano Shrine was built over 1000 years ago, and is towered over by an absolutely breath-taking ginkgo tree. In mid-November, the leaves of this ancient ginkgo tree cover the shrine grounds, making for some absolutely beautiful scenery. I also recommend going to see the shrine when it is lit up in the evening. [photo id="Nyc9IvMRVg8HNWWnPbUbforB73fxFXODoKLDGRUx.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to visit: Mid Nov – Late Nov Information on reaching Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko 3. ENZOJI TEMPLE (YANAIZU TOWN) [photo id="hghUy67kh2pp9iKAIcKsEVSYNaGwjvpowW6EViWk.jpeg" size="original"] Enzoji Temple was constructed in the year 807 and stands on the edge of a crag overlooking the Tadami River. It is a special place for people in Fukushima, as it is where the legends surrounding the Akabeko – Fukushima’s most famous symbol – were born. [photo id="Eio2tAlx2MY0cbVmJxwxMqO7pgb2ITrjaFd93rKM.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to visit: Late Oct - Early Nov Information on reaching Enzoji Temple NAKA-DORI AREA [photo id="4arPzBHwx2Xwc1WarOeKHyOi0qmqG8AyQMpFWpVP.png" size="original"] 4. MT. ADATARA (NIHONMATSU CITY) [photo id="Y0gP44eqo7Ob3jOlgJmktZXN87KuZf3keJD0ZRcv.jpeg" size="original"] A great place to go hiking in the autumn time. You are certainly rewarded with spectacular views once you get to the peak. For those who aren’t so keen on hiking, there is a cable car which cuts out a lot of the climbing. [photo id="auc3HOVaNzrGmCZW8IVYtyBeVAJN5bFYrkJjXRkB.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to Visit: Late Sep – Mid Oct Information on reaching Mt. Adatara 5. YUKIWARI BRIDGE (NISHIGO VILLAGE) [photo id="G6TygqlIc8t1sJQxHceCoxvmJtVOZ7kcOqeJrBnA.jpeg" size="original"] The observation point that looks over Yukiwari Bridge shouldn’t be missed this autumn! [photo id="vsgRFXpuVzjOMJAmBnbBVuGSe9IoTYwvCDApZsWV.jpeg" size="original"] When to Visit: Mid Oct – Early Nov Information on reaching Yukiwari Bridge 6. BANDAI-AZUMA SKYLINE (FUKUSHIMA CITY) [photo id="092CN3LR4zm6dHif0yUZcrmJd9mvvbmFIFzARNjb.jpeg" size="original"] The Bandai-Azuma Skyline winds from central Fukushima up to Jododaira Rest House and Mt. Azuma Ko-Fuji, before reaching all the way to the very retro Tsuchiyu Onsen town, providing drivers and passengers with brilliant views the whole way during autumn. The road get a little crowded during peak autumn leaf viewing time – so bear this in mind when planning your travels! [photo id="F8kBwCNKgJQr49DrBCmMVJUyXMVTu8mUPCfeJkTE.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to Visit: Early Oct – Late Oct Information on reaching Bandai-Azuma Skyline 7. JA NO HANA JAPANESE GARDEN (MOTOMIYA CITY) [photo id="pzipF5ZQOpdob9svspURNxz6MOmE5Dyw0BpWvEPY.jpeg" size="original"] Ja no Hana is a very picturesque Japanese garden that is filled with colour and energy in late October. A great place for relaxing whilst appreciating 2 integral aspects of Japanese culture – Japanese gardens, and autumn leaf viewing! [photo id="wcCFL6FNn0zmxek17dVemfIScwKGNkVBE5k6gOWo.jpeg" size="original"] Best Time to Visit: Late Oct – Mid Nov Getting There Public transport: a 10 min taxi ride from Motomiya Station Car: 10 min drive from Motomiya I.C. exit off the Tohoku Expressway HAMA-DORI AREA [photo id="kNVmPpDJLKS1IaW05emJaSvZHp2dFfKLvElWKkId.png" size="original"] 8. NAKAKAMADO WEEPING MAPLE TREE (IWAKI CITY) [photo id="fuT4YLXaHzOfNuFtaUhr4D51xp7jlLL079yVAWJ3.jpeg" size="original"] A really uniquely shaped weeping maple tree. The colours of the Nakakamado tree vary year to year, but hopefully this year the leaves will be bright orange! Located near a temple, Nakakamado is in a very scenic spot, perfect for taking photos. [photo id="Y0t8qbR99ucMQrnAzLJlbJlyFwk1Tx96mNvPxFqb.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to visit: Late Nov – Early Dec Getting There Public transport: A 10 minute taxi ride from Izumi Station Car: 15 min drive from Iwaki Yumoto I.C. exit off the Ban-etsu Expressway 9. SHIRAMIZU AMIDADO TEMPLE (IWAKI CITY) [photo id="MotSWXgLrDPODShABuzcAsdRen76QuSrFpnrhnXZ.jpeg" size="original"] Fukushima’s National Treasure, Shiramizu Amidado Temple! Whether lit up at night or appreciated in the middle of the day, Shiramizu Amida-do is especially beautiful during autumn. [photo id="mNsZv61dVoksim1MOC7h5TJVTyyS9aRPPs6ljVWb.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to Visit: Early Nov – Late Nov Information on reaching Shiramizu Amidado Temple 10. NATSUIGAWA VALLEY (IWAKI CITY) [photo id="hcsOJUp22kEwi7tFXYb6cZZDeXsaTLAXgs6AAgHB.jpeg" size="original"] Finally, for those who feel like getting close to nature and going on a bit of an adventure, how about exploring around Natsuigawa Valley? This is another autumn leaf spot which is definitely on my to-visit list. [photo id="VJHQJtIZ8R6ZouWQc3AIM4SIk9pK3CNkCxw1dfel.jpeg" size="original"] Best time to visit: Late Oct – Mid Nov Information on reaching Natsuigawa Valley The map below shows all of the spots I have showcased in this article, and I will be updating it to include other spots around the prefecture in the coming weeks! Enjoy planning your trips!

    Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in Fukushima
  5. Destination Spotlight

    Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival

    Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival is held annually on the first Saturday, Sunday, and following Monday in October. The sight of the festival floats, stretching up 11 metres at their tallest, shining bright in the evening light makes Nihonmatsu famous as the home to one of the top three lantern festivals in Japan. Pick from countless delicious festival food stalls, try and find the best place to snap photos of awe-inspiring festival floats, kanpai with the locals and see if you can master the festival chants, at this fun, high-energy festival. WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THIS FESTIVAL? The festival was started around 370 years ago by the lord of Nihonmatsu Castle. When he first took charge of the Nihonmatsu area, he wanted to ensure the loyalty of the local people by first installing them with lots of religious piety. To do this, he decided to start a Shinto festival which could be attended by anyone, regardless of status. [photo id="UKx9gPf07yIbDMU5m6L3ICpLjenDbEEwXhyxum6q.jpeg" size="original"] WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE FESTIVAL? The festival takes place over 3 days. On the first day, priests give blessings at the local shrine, and 7 floats representing 7 areas of town are lit with hundreds of beautiful, red lanterns. As the sun sets, the festival atmosphere begins to intensify, and a number of processions with long histories take place. [photo id="Szl7NCHKBDs0MWI4r6mlRyja0Y9szCl49F1PcNGz.jpeg" size="original"] As with lots of festivals in Japan, the locals who take part in moving the floats shout out encouraging chants to each other and play music. At the Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival, each float has its own music and own drum beat. The evening of the first night is the highlight of the festival. This is when all 7 of the floats take part in a procession around the streets of Nihonmatsu City. Seeing these 7 huge floats making their way through the crowded, excited streets of Nihonmatsu is really a special experience. It is made even more breathtaking by the fact that during these processions, the floats appear to challenge each other through acts such as running at great speed and spinning around wildly. It’s sort of like a dance-off. [photo id="XYpN0kT0mVgS1PjqHgIwkGz2XHOmnTBYUG1WC61S.jpeg" size="original"] FASCINATING FLOATS Each festival float has 300 paper lanterns attached to it, each made in Nihonmatsu, and each with a real candle inside it. These candles are replaced when they burn down the length of a cigarette, and must be replaced quickly to avoid setting fire to the lanterns. In just one night, it’s estimated that each float uses up 1500 candles! [photo id="6waY8xnN5ze6razp5FDvddf75MWNQcVjHghDswah.jpeg" size="original"] In addition to the 300 lanterns used in the main body of the float, one thing that really sets apart the floats in this Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival are the suginari decorative lanterns right at the top of the float. [photo id="9SStFD8frlyUZJ87PhMkPpNeU8Yksvg68Laigso6.jpeg" size="original"] There are also two large lanterns held by local people at the front and back of the float. These two large lanterns signify the border of their area of Nihonmatsu. During festival time, it is not really permitted for people from other areas to enter in this space. [photo id="kEcWBiTkTHKyBSec2vkQVtZcDf9G3TuZ1UGdEnU4.jpeg" size="original"] FESTIVAL FLOAT PROCESSION There are many jobs involved in being part of a festival float team. One of the most important jobs in the festival is that of the local people who push the floats during the 3 days of the festival. They make quite a show of this job, and appear to be competing with floats from other areas when they run up and down the streets, some even swinging their floats round dramatically. [photo id="zKThb2f3WrzsoGG39so5KLZjJbS7jjNzkFt9uV2x.jpeg" size="original"] Another important job is steering the float by shouting directions. This important role is played out whilst walking backwards, and shouting out to the rest of the team members. The steerer works together with another team member who looks out for telephone lines and other objects which the suginari decoration could get caught up in. This person also replaces the candles in the large lanterns at the front and back of the float. Orchestra members also ride inside the floats. Usually 4 people play large and small Japanese taiko drums, 5 people play windpipes, and others play hand-bells inside just one floats. Other important members of the float team are the guys in the photo below, who keep the crowd, and the rest of their float, pumped for the whole of the festival with their chanting! I have attended the Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival and would definitely recommend it. Not only is the atmosphere fantastic, and the floats amazing, but it is also really easy to get to on public transport! The festival area begins right outside Nihonmatsu train station. Make sure you pick up a map telling you where the floats will be at certain times during the evening at one of the information stands.  [photo id="Ko1B73Z9m9Z0jowG6jaeMaBGzvRYo74FGQLhuOWx.jpeg" size="original"]

    Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival
  6. Destination Spotlight

    Enjoying Mt. Adatara in Autumn

    Mt. Adatara is one of Fukushima Prefecture’s most spectacular places to go and see the bright colours of the autumn leaves, in a custom that is called 'momiji-gari' in Japanese. I went to Mt. Adatara in Nihonmatsu to try and do some momiji-gari of my own! I was a little worried about hiking Mt. Adatara before I went because I have a bad sense of direction, so I wanted to write this blog to give some tips to those interested in visiting! WHERE TO START? The most simple hiking route – and definitely the most popular one in the autumn season – starts with the Mt. Adatara Rope-way. This rope-way is located at the Adatara Kogen Ski Resort, in Oku Dake (see map below). TRAVEL TIP During the autumn, there are a number of daily shuttle buses between Dake Onsen town and the rope-way. There is also often a shuttle bus service leaving from Nihonmatsu Station, which takes 50 mins. TAKING THE ROPE-WAY TO YAKUSHI PEAK [photo id="0CH0F8EXkwtcFxsc30dDa5eixeUAWrVaZyVNzbR9.jpeg" size="original"] The 10-minute journey on the Mt. Adatara Rope-way is incredibly scenic, regardless of the time of year. [photo id="888r0UTGf0LagSSHlaE3dAT7LIyvSwgIMqKl69gv.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="3VPTmsYW80wBM3CZTWlPc66nN2qQzvfpoyTOJ7eK.jpeg" size="original"] Price: 1,050 yen one-way. 1,750 yen return.* Opening hours: The rope-way tends to be open from late April to early November. Please make sure to make a note of the last return rope-way trip when you visit, to make sure you don't get stranded at the viewpoint! *Correct as of June 2020 [photo id="7sVWmPiV5dfcW2KboF1XL3XgYqRPIoLNIXZGG4P5.jpeg" size="original"] When you get off the rope-way, it is a short walk to Yakushi Dake Peak, which is a very popular photo spot. Many people come here just to take photos, then go back down the rope-way and go have their lunch or dip in an onsen! I’ve done this before actually, but this time we wanted to do the full basic hike. We happened to plan our trip to Mt Adatara on a very, very cloudy day – which was unfortunate! But you can tell just how bright the colours of the leaves on the mountain were from the photo below. [photo id="ymQHX1gdEidub3MLOz4zRKdWhO3A2GDzhDkYhN74.jpeg" size="original"] MISTY HIKE TO THE TOP OF MT. ADATARA It turns out I didn’t need to worry about getting lost – the route to the top was well signposted – albeit just in Japanese. TRAVEL TIP Make sure you know the kanji words for the places you want to go before you set off on your hike! 安達太良山頂 – Peak of Mt. Adatara (adatara sancho), 奥岳 – Oku Dake (where the hike begins) [photo id="uYVT41ZBlsuDIFvP5BxEFUWjoya8sCGlTgwdvykA.jpeg" size="original"] I was pretty disappointed that, despite being able to see the leaves from the bottom of the rope-way, after departing from the Yakushi Dake view spot, the mist got more and more intense. Check out the amazing views I got from the peak of the mountain! [photo id="ZYmlIGTx97hT4ixP6n9R5sCU1UNdp8jCJhyrEFo3.jpeg" size="original"] AUTUMN COLOURS SHINING THROUGH Luckily, the weather began to take a turn for the better on the way to our next destination – Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge. [photo id="QjccG5SamcWfsWF2Kq1MmQ0Bak53hrz6308IIOSV.jpeg" size="original"] Going from being able to see nothing but white, to being surrounded by colour was a very odd experience! It was a little frustrating, as I realized I could have been seeing amazing sights for the last hour. However, I was so happy to get to enjoy the fantastic views that I soon forgot about my woes. [photo id="Thld9bXLKb12k9shd2UFEQ9fDE1TPFO5EKMVMD8L.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="flJm1Zg1SfFVLNHlpBbXlFKfkBHGRYM3BqZ7YhaO.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="afImv9SWR0CY1UmmH3FLinNfDxidni1ji9Gwsmne.jpeg" size="original"] Soon we were able to see our lunch stop, the mountain lodge, off in the distance. It’s the lone building in the photo below. [photo id="dPB8FrSy1WX5zw5Hkpe48lqXv1HfpREz7IoHT8D9.jpeg" size="original"] LUNCH AT KUROGANE-GOYA Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge acts as a rest stop for hikers passing through, as well as being a place to stay the night for those going on longer hikes. [photo id="8rD2BzYpZKgim3fYWrnF32Ve454pxmttXrU5TN5O.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="ElUCa3L7ba6dL2NUrPoY9ZSKVr3155W4XW3DYxjM.jpeg" size="original"] The inside decor of the Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge is nearly completely made of wood. The vintage style lamps and wood stove burner give it a very homey and welcoming feel. I would love to stay here in winter, all warm and comfortable by the fire, despite the heavy snow outside. [photo id="4b7qValMTRjcx8b8GealC5H2MPEBYKWR1OxncPsm.jpeg" size="original"] One thing that is quite well-known about Kurogane-goya is the delicious curry they serve to customers who stay overnight! Even though we didn’t stay overnight on this occasion, we got to sample the curry since we were visiting for a photo shoot. It did not disappoint! [photo id="ST8bxtgOLqswaW1KQVScjoxMeg4zbH2GHtybadvi.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="gBvuL9RWjMTHbJEpMZvBivhkkgbePPivyDE4kHfa.jpeg" size="original"] There is also a public hot spring facility built into the lodge, complete with amazing, cloudy water straight from a nearby source. I cannot describe how great it feels to get in a hot onsen after hiking for an hour or so. I only had time for a 10-minute dip, but even that was enough to make my body feel physically refreshed. You can use the onsen even if you aren’t spending the night at the lodge. Just remember to bring a towel and prepare to share your bath with other weary hikers! [photo id="L3uuuviGicmmtus9M220TrpKckTB01Plc9rR0gMt.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="S799CdZccrbv4SWDcfWK6lKoGK7LF63DfUVx9ld3.jpeg" size="original"] We were blessed with better weather for our hike on the way back from Kurogane-goya Mountain Lodge. [photo id="46fp0YsyETwFogmHqirK9QXWW09kPrbJ4V734xBO.jpeg" size="original"] The path back to Oku Dake from Kurogane-goya is lined by tall trees for most of the hike, unlike the route to the top of Mt. Adatara which (is supposed to have) panoramic views! [photo id="gCNgZFf1ntr1QMaGXcch4tdomAPy1YbZjXP4CZvj.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="T3rQFB2juYVcXyNsuZHXJdkpWVRfBw9NDXS1v02j.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="Ry02wCZMOMNxZw1oYzOlcgXxNlqV6fFi85wFkxVy.jpeg" size="original"] On the way down, I spotted a pipe from where you can drink fresh water from the mountain. They even provide you with what looks like a tiny saucepan! As we got closer to the end of our hike, one of my colleagues showed me a few photos he had taken the week before when he went hiking here… I was gutted that the weather hadn’t been better on the day of my visit! [photo id="qKxj8MDSIbXlH34MVFGsey3qcdcq8gDGpz14heen.jpeg" size="original"] OKUDAKE ONSEN Back at Okudake, from where the hike started, we decided to check out the onsen before heading back to the office. This onsen is called Okudake no Yu. The water is not as cloudy as at Kurogane-goya, and the temperature is a bit cooler, but the water still felt amazing. The outside baths also look like infinity pools! [photo id="uHHjYLFL1soF2VVPJlOAO37zOBKD9okdcjYzhQJZ.jpeg" size="original"] [photo id="DKEB36fJEpjELEOhhBIHGkbSJwsyeDLJkFVsw0u2.jpeg" size="original"] More information here! (Japanese) I definitely recommend visitors to stop by at one of these onsen and have a rest before returning home after their hikes – it is an amazing feeling! HIKING ROUTE Here is a little illustration of the route that we hiked. I hope that it is helpful. [photo id="rb0ZmYNbTNiVKcESKk3f8pGvYplRtBplxRWJbE54.png" size="original"]

    Enjoying Mt. Adatara in Autumn
  7. Useful Information

    5 Ginkgo Tree Spots To Visit In Fukushima This Autumn

    When it comes to the Japanese traditional of autumn leaf viewing, Fukushima Prefecture has so many fantastic spots to choose from. Whether the leaves of dark red maples, or bright yellow ginkgos, there are countless places worth visiting. In this post, I’ll introduce some of the famous and lesser-known ginkgo tree spots to visit this autumn. 1. AZUMA SPORTS PARK, FUKUSHIMA CITY [photo id="B2A5C27hWFcQePDARvesALQu574JyxJIs5ppRj1y.jpeg" size="original" ] 116 ginkgo trees line the pathway for over 500m at the centre of Azuma Sports Park. This park is easy to get to, has a huge car park, and looks spectacular in the day or in the evening, when the trees are lit up from below. It’s also quite a good date spot! [photo id="UUfzNKBmaeWC4o25A36irnIdYb7mdxF6U1eQ2Jjo.jpeg" size="original"] AUTUMN LEAF SEASON: Late October to Early November More information about visiting Azuma Sports Park 2. SHIRAHATA SHRINE, SHINCHI TOWN This 240 year old ginkgo tree stands like a protector right at the back of Shirahata Shrine. As the yellow leaves start to drop, they create a beautiful yellow carpet in front of the shrine. Looking up from the ground at the tree makes a really beautiful photo. [photo id="SQcodgz8eYbSFqqFZJPSZJcDT8Xvf0bSwilre2YK.jpeg" size="original"] AUTUMN LEAF SEASON: Late Nov to Early Dec GETTING TO SHIRAHATA SHRINE BY CAR: 5 min drive from the Shinchi I.C. exit off the Joban Expressway. GETTING TO SHIRAHATA SHRINE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: 10 min taxi ride from Komagamine Station (JR Joban Line) 3. SHINGU KUMANO SHRINE NAGATOKO, KITAKATA CITY This beautiful 800 year old ginkgo tree stands just in front of Nagatoko – a space for worship which is central to Shingu Kumano Shrine in Kitakata City. Nagatoko’s unique architecture (thatched roof and open-air plan) makes for a great photograph, and it’s even more picturesque during autumn leaf season. [photo id="hQUpOYAJBTi1NGqc3eljsRFP0argXvwd3X7KN2F1.jpeg" size="original"] AUTUMN LEAF SEASON: Mid Nov – Late Nov More information on reaching Shingu Kumano Shrine here 4. FURUMACHI, MINAMIAIZU [photo id="tvrrYaf8APTsxZ7pOdqN0vHqw1QtAOo92P8SMkRl.jpeg" size="original"] The amazing ginkgo tree at Furumachi is estimated to be 800 years old. It stands 30 metres tall and 11 metres wide. [photo id="klHlLMrUwsDiWQwiZRUbYxmn69H1B2jwq6OGQmug.jpeg" size="original"] AUTUMN LEAF SEASON: Late Oct to Early Nov GETTING TO FURUMACHI BY CAR: 15 min drive from Shirakawa I.C. exit off the Tohoku Expressway. GETTING TO FURUMACHI BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: 40 min taxi ride from Aizu-Tajima Station (Aizu Railway Line) 5. HOYOJI TEMPLE, AIZU MISATO [photo id="WyYPOkPCWgjekpWhwLKFcKIEfezT09o2TRN6uzBl.jpeg" size="original"] The yellow leaves of Hoyoji Temple’s ginkgo tree line the sides of a path, welcoming visitors to pray at the temple. Not only is this a very scenic spot, it is also a very historic one. The temple was established in the year 702, and the Kongorikishi Buddhist statue carefully preserved on the temple grounds dates back to the Heian era (794 – 1185). Visitors to the shrine are welcome to wander around as they like, but those wanting to visit the Kongorikishi statue should reserve a timeslot to see it in advance by contacting Misato Town Tourism Association by phone. AUTUMN LEAF SEASON: Mid to Late Nov GETTING TO HOYOJI TEMPLE BY CAR: 15 min from Niitsuru Smart I.C. exit off the Ban-etsu Expressway GETTING TO HOYOJI TEMPLE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: 10 min taxi from Aizu-Takada Station (JR Tadami Line)

    5 Ginkgo Tree Spots To Visit In Fukushima This Autumn
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