Largest City


The great outdoors

Ignore the bad press or miss out on this boundless, breathtaking natural landscape.

Sadly for many tourists, Fukushima remains off-limits because of the Dai-ichi nuclear accident but the no-entry zone actually makes up less than 10 percent of the prefecture’s total area. Look beyond the negative publicity and you’ll find an expansive region of breathtaking natural beauty which you’ll have practically all to yourself.

Mount Bandai Fukushima

Mount Bandai is one of the most famous mountains in Japan.

Camping, hiking, fishing, hot springs, skiing and marine sports are on offer in and around the remote Bandai-Asahi National Park where the majestic Mount Bandai soars into an azure sky. Or you can head into the diverse terrain of the Aizu-kogen highlands stopping by the postcard-perfect samurai city of Aizuwakamatsu for some locally produced rice wine.

Step back in time at the old samurai city of Aizuwakamatsu. Photo by Russell Trow.

Those interested to see the area impacted by the 2011 tsunami can take part in the so-called “dark-tourism” tours offered by locals seeking a way to atone for the past.

It’s a harrowing but hopeful testament to the healing power of travel.

Japan’s third-largest prefecture, Fukushima is the entryway from urban Kanto into remote Tohoku. The southernmost city of Shirakawa, reachable via a one and a half hour bullet train from Tokyo, makes a good starting point for exploring the region before you travel deeper into the north.

Aizuwakamatsu is on point to become Fukushima’s star attraction, as the historic castle town undergoes careful restoration to preserve its old samurai houses and traditional streets. The town is also one of the country’s main producers of sake (rice wine) made from melted snow water from the mountains. Tours and tastings are available – sober up with some local wappa meshi, a dish of steamed fish over rice. If you have time, you can travel further north to quaint Kitakata for more sake and a bowl of famed curly noodle ramen.

Photo by: Aizuwakamatsu Castle or Tsuruga-jo was one of the last samurai strongholds. Photo by L’oeil etranger.

Between the Oze National Park, the Aizu-kogen highlands and the Bandai-Asahi National Park, the possibilities for outdoor exploration are endless. Mount Bandai is one of Japan’s most famous mountains, surrounded by more than 100 ponds and lakes formed by lava flow from its 1888 eruption. The Goshiki-numa (five-colored) ponds are the area’s big draw, where you can watch the water change color from green to blue to red from the dedicated hiking path. If you want to extend your spring camping expedition, there’s bird-watching in the summer, autumn-leaves viewing in the fall and snowshoeing in the winter. What are you waiting for?

Places to visit

Fukushima (Shirakawa)


Follow the noodle north to scenic Shirakawa.

Ouchi Juku Village In Fukushima, Japan


3, 2, 1 and action...


Mount Bandai

Fukushima's Fuji is just as iconic.


While northern Japan is known for its rugged mountains and lush green forests, Iwaki offers a slice of seaside fun in the sun.

The Mummy at Kanshu-ji Temple

Spooky but real: This self-made mummy is a rare insight into extreme religious practice.

Goshikinuma (Five Colored Lakes)

A hike dotted with bewildering beauty, plus one of the most picturesque rowboat trips you'll ever find.

Other Destinations in Tohoku

Godzilla Rock Oga, Akita Japan


The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it. Watch out for Godzilla though.

Cherry blossoms along the moat surrounding Hirosaki castle, Aomori.


The northern tip of Tohoku, Aomori prefecture is the boundary between the known and unknown Japan.

Genbikei Gorge


The local people say that Iwate is a place where you forge your own path. Take their advice and enjoy this re-emerging—and rewarding—destination.

Date Masamune in Sendai Miyagi Japan


With vibrant Sendai at its core, Miyagi makes the ideal base for exploring the remote corners of Tohoku.

Yamadera Temple in Yamagata is a good hiking and autumn spot in Japan.


Winter is coming. But so is spring, summer and fall at this rewarding year-round destination.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya, Japan city skyline, Aichi Prefecture


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

People eating and drinking in Yurakucho Tokyo Japan.


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.


Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.