Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Fukushima
Population
2,126,998

Fukushima

The great outdoors

Don't miss out on this boundless, breathtaking natural landscape.

Japan’s third-largest prefecture, Fukushima, is the entryway from urban Kanto into Japan’s remote northern region of Tohoku. The southernmost city of Shirakawa, reachable via an hour and a half bullet train from Tokyo, makes a good starting point. Sadly, parts of Fukushima remain off-limits due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

However, the no-entry zone makes up just three percent of the prefecture’s total area. While the tragedy can’t be ignored, there is an expansive region of breathtaking natural beauty to be discovered.

Mount Bandai

Lake Inawashiro mount Bandai swans Fukushima

Photo by: Mount Bandai is one of Japan’s most beautiful mountains.

Camping, hiking, fishing, hot springs, skiing, and marine sports are plentiful in Fukushima. Around the remote Bandai-Asahi National Park, majestic Mount Bandai soars into an azure blue sky. It’s surrounded by more than 100 ponds and lakes formed by the lava that flowed from its 1888 eruption. The Goshiki-numa (five-colored) ponds are the area’s big draw. Here, you can watch the water change color from green to blue to red.

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Fukushima

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Fukushima
To the south lies Lake Inawashiro, also known as the “Heavenly Mirror Lake.” Every winter, hundreds of swans migrate to its beaches until spring. In the prefecture’s southwest region, you can explore the diverse terrain of the Aizu-Kogen Highlands, such as green forests, crystal clear rivers, and immaculate snow-covered slopes.

Further south is the historic post town of Ouchi-juku. Its 300-year-old thatched-roof buildings have been perfectly preserved. It gives visitors one of the most authentic opportunities to see how Japan looked during the Edo period.

Those interested to see the area impacted by the 2011 tsunami can take part in the so-called “dark-tourism” tours offered by local companies. It’s a harrowing but hopeful testament to the healing power of travel.

Aizu-Wakamatsu

Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle in Fukushima, Japan.

Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle is also known as Tsuruga Castle.

The picture-perfect samurai city of Aizu-Wakamatsu is close to being Fukushima’s star attraction. It was once the last bastion of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the final days of the Boshin War, known historically for Japanese female warriors such as Nakano Takeko and Niijima Yae, and the tragic tale of the White Tiger Unit.

The castle town has undergone careful restoration to preserve its old samurai houses and traditional streets. Aizu-Wakamatsu is also one of the country’s main producers of sake (rice wine). Sake tours and tastings are available, and afterward, you can sober up with some local kozuyu, a traditional soup dish made with dried scallops. If you have time, travel further north to quaint Kitakata for a bowl of its famed Kitakata ramen.

Plan your trip to Fukushima with the links below!

Trivia

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Fukushima

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Fukushima

Ever used a leek as a spoon before? There's a first time for everything!

More

Places to visit

Aizuwakamatsu Fukushima

Aizuwakamatsu

Samurai history in beautiful surroundings. Don't forget to indulge in some sake on the way.

Lake Inawashiro mount Bandai swans Fukushima

Aizu

History, wilderness, and great lakes.


Evening scenery of Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima, Japan

Lake Inawashiro

Lakeside breeze and fresh mountain air.

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Fukushima

5 Famous Foods You’ll Find in Fukushima

Extra crispy gyoza, leeks as spoons, and more in Fukushima.


Goshikinuma (Five Colored Ponds)

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

The Mummy at Kanshu-ji Temple

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


Iwaki

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

Mt.Bandai

Mount Bandai

Fukushima's Fuji is just as iconic.


Ouchijuku village Fukushima

Ouchi-juku

A village that's worthy of feudal lords and tourists alike.

Fukushima (Shirakawa)

Shirakawa

Follow the noodle north to scenic Shirakawa.

Other Destinations in Tohoku

Godzilla Rock Oga, Akita Japan

Akita

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

Tsurunomaihashi Bridge in Aomori Prefecture.

Aomori

The northern tip of Tohoku and the boundary between the known and unknown Japan.

Genbikei Gorge

Iwate

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.

Hitome Senbon Zakura in Miyagi, Japan.

Miyagi

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.

Yamagata

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

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