Photo By: TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)
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Goshikinuma (Five Colored Ponds)

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

The Goshikinuma Nature Trail deep in Fukushima Prefecture promises hikers views of rusty red, bright green, and turquoise ponds and lakes. You might already be skeptical, but Goshikinuma, or the Five Colored Ponds as they’re called in English, is a bewildering surprise.

This natural wonder located in the Bandai-Asahi National Park, is one part romantic day trip and one part quintessential Japanese tourist spot. While natural wonders like this are found in other parts of Japan, such as Hokkaido’s Blue Pond and Oita’s Hells of Beppu, neither of these has such convenient access from Tokyo as Goshikinuma. It’s a striking wonder found in Fukushima’s vast wilderness and is worth a visit in any season.

Five Colored Ponds

Goshikinuma Bishamonnuma pond in Fukushima

Starting on the eastern side, you’ll find Bishamon-numa, a large colorful lake with multi-colored koi fish. Pay a small fee and rent a rowboat to experience the lake close up. Beyond, lies a hiking path to other ponds such as Aka-numa, famous for its vibrant red, iron-rich plants, and the multi-colored Midoro-numa. There is also Tatsu-numa, which changes from deep greens in the winter to vibrant blues in spring, and Benten-numa. It mixes both green and blue for a mesmerizing turquoise hue.

You’ll spend more than a few minutes at each spot taking photos and basking in sheer bewilderment.

More than a hike

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Rent a row boat before or after hiking.

Goshikinuma was formed in 1887, when Mount Bandai erupted, generating a cascade that blocked a river and created ponds and lakes. It also trapped volcanic elements and minerals, which gave the ponds surreal colors. Moreover, the colors can change day-to-day or throughout the year.

The trail from pond to pond will occasionally lead hikers over short bridges and through swampy mud. The path is four kilometers long, and on each end are visitor centers with parking available. The visitor centers offer souvenirs, restaurants, and signature Goshikinuma soft-serve ice cream. Like the ponds that inspire it, the ice cream is colorful but has a salty and fruity taste.

Lastly, nearby is the Royal Urabandai Hotel. It’s a beautiful resort offering both Japanese and Western-style rooms. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you can use its onsen facility. It has indoor and outdoor baths, which are the perfect way to cap off a hike.

Interested in hiking more nature in Japan? Check out our hiking section.

Things To Know


Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (summer), 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (winter); closed Tuesday


The hiking trail is free. Most parking areas are free. It costs about ¥700 for 30 minutes to rent a row boat.

How To Get There


Soharayama-1096-295 Hibara, Kitashiobara-mura, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken 966-0400, Japan

By train

If you are coming from Tokyo, first head to the Koriyama station via the Tohoku Shinkansen. With the Banetsu West Line headed to Aizu-Wakamatsu station, you can arrive at Inawashiro station.

By bus

The Urabandai Visitors’ Center is just a two-minute walk from the Goshikinuma-iriguchi bus stop.

From the bus stop in front of Inawashiro station there is a bus leaving about once an hour. From the station, the Bandai Toto bus takes 35 minutes to the Goshikinuma.

You could also catch a night bus from Tokyo to Koriyama or Inawashiro station.

By car

It is about a 3.5 hour drive from central Tokyo.

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