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Japan Regional Information

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Akita     Aomori     Fukushima     Iwate     Miyagi     Yamagata



More than 150 steaming hot springs. Lake Inawashiro-ko and Bandai-kogen - Plateau abound with seasonal tourist attractions.
Fukushima, situated at the south of the Tohoku (northeastern) region, is divided into three areas by three mountainous belts running roughly parallel from south to north. It is blessed with a variety of natural spectacles, such as spaciously undulating mountains, a complicated volcanic topography and different sizes of lakes and ponds. Hama-dori, located in eastern Fukushima facing the Pacific Ocean, has a mild climate and offers a comfortable place to live, while Naka-dori, situated in the center of Fukushima, is sandwiched by the Abukuma Plateau on the east side and the Ou Mountain Range on the west side and contains Bandai-Asahi National Park and Nikko National Park. The Aizu district in the west is a basin surrounded by mountainous features.

Fukushima has more than 150 hot springs - Iizaka-onsen, Azuma-takayu-onsen and Tsuchiyu-onsen, to name a few. What is more, there are Lake Inawashiro-ko and Bandai-kogen Plateau offering an abundance of seasonal tourist attractions including fresh greenery in spring, wild birds, summer-time camping, water skiing, board sailing, swimming, autumnal tints, skiing, skating and swan watching. A rice-producing prefecture rich in spring water, Fukushima boasts the thriving sake (rice wine) brewing industry. Apples, peaches and other fruits are harvested all the year round. There you can also enjoy mountain-side products including soba (backwheat) noodle, miso (soy bean paste), shamo (game fowl) and Japanese black beef cattle and marine products landed at the Onahama Fishing Port.

Getting there
Fukushima Station is 1 hour 30 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line.

  • Aizu-kogen Plateau
    Nature parks, leisure facilities and hot springs located across the Aizu Basin
    The Aizu-kogen Plateau is a resort area dotted with nature parks, leisure facilities, and hot springs along the crystal-clear Tadami-gawa River, which flows through Oku-Aizu in the southwestern part of Fukushima Prefecture, and its tributaries, the Ina-gawa River and the Hinoe-mata-gawa River. Tourists flock to this popular resort area to enjoy outdoor activities all year round, including sightseeing in Oze and fishing in mountain streams from spring to autumn, as well as skiing in winter.

    The Tadami-Kawa-no-Monoshiri-Kan on the Tadami-gawa River, a fascinating museum in Tadami-cho in the northwest of Oku-Aizu, was reopened in 2000 as Shizen-koen Kawakko Land (nature theme park). The exhibition hall does not only explain the culture, customs and development of the region, but also reproduces its natural environment, allowing visitors to observe wild birds and insects at close range.

    In Hinoe-mata-mura Village on the road to Oze, one of the top scenic spots in Japan, buckwheat for use in soba (buckwheat noodles) is widely cultivated, and the Shin-Soba-matsuri Festival is held at the Oze-no-Sato Exchange Center to celebrate the harvest of the buckwheat crop in late autumn every year. The village has facilities containing a hot spring with abundant supplies of hot water and a swimming pool. A sauna is also available, which visitors may use in swimsuits.

    In Ouchi-Juku, a town that once prospered as a post town connecting Aizu-Wakamatsu and Imaichi City, a row of venerable thatch-roofed houses still remains with an air of the Japanese post town of the 18th century. This zone has been designated an Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings to enable people today to imagine what life must have been like in earlier times.

    Getting there
    An hour 20 minutes to Koriyama Station from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 1 hour 10 minutes to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station from Koriyama Station by the JR Ban'etsu-saisen Line Rapid Train. To Tadami, 2 hours 50 minutes to Tadami Station from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station by the JR Tadami Line. To Ouchi, 41 minutes to Nishi-Wakamatsu Station from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station by the JR Tadami Line. Thirty minutes to Yunokami-onsen Station from Nishi-Wakamatsu Station by the Aizu Tetsudo Line. Seventy-five minutes on foot or 10 minutes by car to Ouchi-juku.


  • Aizuwakamatsu
    A street plan in the shape of a lattice - Sake made with water from melted snow
    Aizuwakamatsu is in the northeast of the Aizu district of Fukushima, and is the main city of that district. At its center is the Tsuruga Castle Tower, from which you can see the whole of the town. The streets form a lattice structure, and many shrines and temples surround the town, giving it the air of a castle town. Inside the city are Oyaku-en, a garden that was built 600 years ago, and an area of samurai houses, which were moved and rebuilt to preserve them as historical buildings. There are also historical sites like Mt. Iimori-yama, the scene of a battle that became a turning point in the modernization of Japan, and Otsuka-yama-kofun, or Otsuka Hill Ancient Tomb, one of the oldest burial mounds in the Tohoku (northeastern) region.

    Merchant houses and warehouses in the old town stand alongside modern buildings, and the town is carrying out a renovation to make the most of its appearance. You can also enjoy a relaxing trip in a steam locomotive that makes the round-trip between Aizuwakamatsu Station and Koriyama Station. Aizu Machikata Denshokan (folklore museum) displays traditional industries and handicrafts such as lacquer ware, picture candles and cotton cloth. The museum also has facilities where you can try out traditional crafts yourself, such as putting the pictures on picture candles.

    Also, Aizuwakamatsu is one of Japan's main sake (rice wine) centers, famous for the fine taste of sake made with melted snow from the Iide-Asahi Mountain Range. There are many places where you can see sake cellars and taste the sake. The local sake goes well with local food such as Wappa meshi (a rice-based lunch in a round box) and Aizu chicken.

    Getting there
    Koriyama Station is 1 hour 20 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. From Koriyama Station, it takes 1 hour 10 minutes to reach Aizuwakamatsu Station on the JR Ban'etsu Saisen Line by Rapid Train.


  • Bandai-kogen Plateau
    An area of lakes and marshes where the water is tinged with many colors
    The Bandai-kogen Plateau (also known as Ura-bandai) is situated in the north of Mt. Bandai-san in the northern part of Fukushima, and it is part of the Bandai-Asahi National Park. It contains more than 100 lakes and marshes, which were formed when mudflows resulting from the 1888 eruption of Mt. Bandai-san buried nearby communities and dammed the upper reaches of the Nagase-gawa River.

    Lakes and marshes exist in many sizes in the Bandai Kogen Plateau area. Some of the best-known ones are Lake Hibara-ko, Lake Akimoto-ko, Lake Onogawa-ko, the Goshiki-numa Pond, the Nakase-numa Pond, and the Oguni-numa Pond. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the plateau lies around the Goshiki-numa Pond area, where volcanic material dissolves in the water of nearly 40 lakes and marshes (these include Bishamon-numa, Aka-numa, Benten-numa, Ao-numa, Ruri-numa, and Yanagi-numa Ponds), tinged with green, whitish blue, reddish blue, and giving it an appearance that changes with time and sunlight. A promenade allows visitors to walk around this unique area in about an hour.

    Next to the entrance of the Nakase-numa Promenade is the Sight Station, a visitors' center that provides information on the Ura-bandai area and on hiking routes, gives advice on related matters, and provides guides who accompany visitors and enable them to experience the area's natural beauty to the fullest.

    Getting there
    Koriyama Station is 1 hour and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Inawashiro Station is 40 minutes from Koriyama Station by Express Train on the JR Ban'etsu Saisen Line. The Onogawa-Iriguchi bus stop is 25 minutes from Inawashiro Station by Aizu Bus.


  • Iwaki and Iwaki Yumoto
    A former coal-mining area offering hot spring resorts that include Japan's first hot spring leisure park
    Iwaki is situated in the southeastern part of Fukushima between the Abukuma Mountain Range to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. It's the most heavily populated city in the prefecture, and in its center is an area in which modern buildings stand together with old storehouses and residences.

    In the north of the city is the Iwaki-shi Flower Center, whose grounds contain about 260,000 plants. The garden also contains six green houses, where visitors can enjoy a year-round view of cattleya and butterfly orchids. Other natural attractions include the Setogaro Cliff and Natsui-gawa Valley, consisting of fantastically shaped rocks and precipices. The scenery of waterfalls, deep pools, and fast-flowing streams are fascinating. In summer, visitors to Iwaki can enjoy watching the Jangara Nenbutsu-odori (dance) performance, a unique festival in which young men in yukata (informal cotton kimonos) with tucked-up sleeves, headbands and white tabi socks dance and parade through the city chanting a Buddhist invocation.

    Situated in the southwest of Iwaki is the Iwaki Yumoto-onsen Hot Spring area (also known as Mihako-no-yu). Once a thriving center of coal mining, this area has a 1,900-year history of tradition and is counted as one of Japan's three oldest hot springs. The sulfurous hot water, which is said to be effective for neuralgia and women's ailments, is drawn in huge quantities from the former Joban Coal Mine. A noteworthy attraction in the area is the Spa Resort Hawaiians, Japan's first spa resort, which uses the local hot-spring water to provide visitors with herbal baths and a wide variety of other baths.

    Getting there
    Iwaki is 2 hours and 20 minutes from Ueno Station (Tokyo) by Limited Express on the JR Joban Line. Yumoto Station is 2 hours and 10 minutes from Iwaki Station by Limited Express on the JR Joban Line.


  • Kitakata
    Home to storehouses, ramen noodles, and the traditional crafts of lacquer ware and paulownia woodwork
    Kitakata derives its name from its location, which is north of Aizuwakamatsu in the northwestern part of Fukushima. (Kita is the Japanese word for "north.") It has long been known as a center of sake (rice wine) and miso (soy bean-paste) production, and it once produced such an abundance that about 2,600 storehouses were built there. Today, many of these storehouses have been transformed into museums, galleries, and restaurants.

    The city extends northward from JR Kitakata Station. Most sites of interest to visitors are concentrated in a relatively small area, so they can be reached easily on foot or on rented bicycles. Visitors can also take a 90-minute sightseeing tour by horse-drawn carriage. Although Kitakata is known largely for its storehouses, it has various other traditional features. These include ramen noodles, which are said to have been introduced long ago by Chinese youngsters who sold them from open-air stalls. Fresh spring water (also important for sake production) helps to bring out the best in Kitakata's ramen noodles, which are served in about 100 restaurants in the city.

    Lacquer ware and paulownia woodwork represent another popular aspect of Kitakata: The city is home to the Aizu Urushi Museum of Art (Lacquer Art Museum), where visitors can see lacquer craftwork and artwork and a lacquer-painted Japanese-style room; to the Kirino-Hakubutsukan (Paulownia Museum), Japan's only museum of paulownia; and to the Aizu-Kiri-Kogeikan (Aizu Paulownia Craft Museum), where visitors can see how geta (clogs), furniture, and other items are made.

    In summer, Kitakata holds an energetic festival that includes a fireworks display and Aizu-Kitakata-Shosuke-Odori dancing, a Aizu-Kitakata-daiko (drumming) performance and the Kyodo-Geino-Festival (other local forms of entertainment).

    Getting there
    Koriyama Station is 1 hour and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Kitakata Station is 1 hour and 30 minutes from Koriyama Station by express train on the JR Ban'etsu Saisen Line.


  • Lake Inawashiro-ko
    Spring of verdure and wild birds, summer of lake bathing and aquatic sports, autumn of scarlet-tinged leaves, and winter of winter sports and swans
    Lake Inawashiro-ko, located almost in the center of Fukushima Prefecture, is the main entrance to Bandai-Asahi National Park. It is the fourth largest lake in Japan, and is also called "Lake Tenkyo (heaven's mirror)-ko" because it reflects the shape of Mt. Bandai-san on the lake like a heavenly mirror. Around Nagahama on the northern shore, you can enjoy the beauty of nature from season to season: spring of verdure and wild birds, summer of camping, water skiing, board-sailing, and lake bathing, autumn of scarlet-tinged leaves, and winter of winter sports and swans. It is frequented by visitors all the year round.

    Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928), known to the world for his research into yellow fever, was born in Inawashiro, and in his parents' house is the Noguchi Hideyo Memorial Hall, where his favorite items and letters are displayed. In the neighborhood are the Aizu Mingei-kan or the Aizu Folk Museum, introducing the life and culture of the Aizu District, the Inawashiro Jibiru-kan (locally-brewed beer hall), and Bandai Jibiru Park, where you can drink beer brewed using the subsoil water of Mt. Bandai-san and taste real Italian dishes.

    At the foot of Mt. Bandai-san on the Inawashiro lakeside is a group of hot springs, including Tenkyo-dai, Omote-Bandai, Ottate and Bandai Inawashiro-Hayamana, from which you can have an expansive bird's-eye view of beautiful Lake Inawashiro-ko.

    Getting there
    An hour 20 minutes to Koriyama Station from Tokyo Station, and 40 minutes to Inawashiro Station from Koriyama Station by the JR Ban'etsu-saisen Line Rapid Train.


  • Mt. Azuma-san and Tsuchiyu-onsen Hot Spring
    Mt. Azuma-san, covered with a virgin forest and dotted with marshes - Tsuchiyu-onsen Hot Spring with more than ten different types of hot springs and the home of kokeshi dolls
    Mt. Azuma-san is the collective term for a number of volcanoes located near the border between Fukushima and Yamagata, and is a part of the Bandai-Asahi National Park. The volcanoes are concentrated in the east and west of Mt. Azuma-san. In the east, Mt. Higashi-Azuma-san stands the highest, surrounded by Mt. Issaikyo-yama and Mt. Azuma Kofuji that spew out volcanic smoke, and in the west, the principal Mt. Nishi-Azuma-san stretches into gentle rises and falls. Both volcanic ranges are covered with virgin forests and dotted with marshes.

    Mt. Azuma Kofuji is the best scenic attraction along the Bandai-Azuma Skyline that skirts the foot of Mt. Azuma-san from north to south. As you walk around the crater, which has a diameter of 500 meters, you can enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view. Jodo-daira Plateau is blessed with clean air with little disturbing light, and thus known as the ideal spot to watch the stars. Jodo-daira Tenmon-dai, an astronomical observatory, stands here.

    Tsuchiyu-onsen Hot Spring is located along the Ara-kawa River that runs from Mt. Azuma-san. There are more than ten different types of hot springs, and Tsuchiyu enjoys the reputation for being one of the best hot spring sites in the Tohoku (northeastern) region. It is also known as the home of kokeshi, traditional simple wooden dolls. In spring, they celebrate Tsuchiyu-onsen Kokeshi-matsuri Festival carrying a palanquin shrine shaped like a huge kokeshi. It is one of the three major kokeshi festivals in Tohoku, and this festival is a symbol of the advent of spring to the people of Tsuchiyu.

    Getting there
    Take the JR Tohoku or Yamagata Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Fukushima Station. Then take the Aizu Bus for 1 hour and 10 minutes from Fukushima Station to the Jodo-daira Chusha-jo (parking lot) mae.


  • Oze
    High moor abounding in as many as 400 shallow pools - Creeping pines growing in crowds and virgin forests of beeches
    Oze, forming the boundaries among the three prefectures of Gumma, Niigata, and Fukushima, is a generic name of the areas surrounded by the mountains of Oze-ga-hara, Oze-numa, and other nearby mountains such as Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take, Mt. Keizuru-yama, and Mt. Shibutsu-san. It is one of the central parts of Nikko National Park.

    Oze, set on a plateau 1400-1700 meters above sea level, is the largest high moor in Japan, which was created by lava from Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take that dammed up the Tadami-gawa River. About 400 shallow pools are spotted here and there. Rare bog plants such as mizubasho (Japanese skunk cabbage) and nikko-kisuge (yellow alpine lily) are growing in bunches, and floating islands of peat layers are visible. Both creeping pines growing in stands and virgin forests of beeches stretch to the nearby mountains, and all these areas were designated as special natural monuments of Japan in 1960.

    In the colonies of bog plants, trails of wooden walkways are laid out as hiking tracks, and mountain huts are available. Lots of travelers visit here especially when the blossoms of mizubasho are at their best in summer and when the leaves turn red in autumn. On the upper stream of the Kita-Tadami-gawa River, whose source is Oze, there are scenic spots such as the grand falls of Sanjo-no-taki Falls.

    Getting there
    Jomo-Kogen Station is 1 hour 20 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line. Then take a bus from Jomo-Kogen Station to O-shimizu, which takes 2 hours 10 minutes. Tokyo Station is 2 hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.


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