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

Mount Bandai

Fukushima's Fuji is just as iconic.

Rated one of the top 100 mountains in Japan, Fukushima’s Mt. Bandai is loved for its combination of dramatic beauty, great hiking courses, and world-class ski resorts.

Once known as iwahashi-yama, or the rock ladder to the heavens, the 1816 meter Mt. Bandai towers over the “heavenly mirror lake” of Inawashiro – whose surface perpetually looks like blue glass. Though currently a dormant volcano, the historic 1888 eruption not only formed much of the surrounding Bandai area but created Mt. Bandai’s trademark two faces. Grab your camera for a shot of both the rugged north side and the untouched, serene south side of the mountain.

While reaching the top of Mt. Bandai is no small feat, hiking and mountain climbing enthusiasts alike will find a welcome challenge.

They don’t call it the Mt. Fuji of Aizu for nothing.

Mount Bandai Fukushima

Swans chillin after a journey to Lake Inwashiro all the way from Siberia.

While there are several trails starting at different points around the mountain, the easiest and most commonly used route is the Happodai Trail. The course to the first rest station takes about two hours. Along the way, hikers can catch postcard views, passing an abandoned mountain lodge and natural hot spring. At the rest station, you can catch your breath, chat with other hikers, and take a well-earned break before the last 20-minute climb to the very top where a glorious vista of Fukushima awaits. On your way back down, be sure to ring the bell announcing your successful climb.

Winter sports lovers take note. From beginner to experienced, Mt. Bandai offers an array of skiing and snowboarding courses as well as lessons for first-timers. After a trip down the slopes blanketed in soft, powdery snow, it won’t be hard to understand why Fukushima is known as snow country. You might even catch a glimpse of the majestic swans landing at the nearby Lake Inwashiro after their long migration from Siberia.

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Things To Know

Climbing Season

Due to heavy snowfall, the safest hiking season is from late April to early November.

Ski Season

Though the dates of the ski season depends on the amount of snowfall, the season usually runs from mid December until late March. There are several resorts on both the north and south side of the mountain

How To Get There

Address

Bamdai-san Gold Line, Bandai-machi, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken, Japan

By train

For travellers coming from Tokyo by train, take the 1 and a 1/2 hour ride on the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Koriyama Station. At Koriyama Station, change trains to the local JR Banetsu-san line to Inawashiro Station.

While there are buses at Inawashiro Station that take visitors to the Urabandai south side of the mountain, for those wishing to hike the Happodai course, it is recommended to take a taxi straight to the starting point of the course. Taxi rides to the Happodai hiking course start cost around ¥6000 one-way.

By bus

At Koriyama Station, free shuttle buses run by the resorts are available for access to and from the mountain during winter. Resorts that offer free shuttle buses from Koriyama Station to the north side of the mountain are Alts Bandai and Inawashiro. For the south side of the mountain, Urabandai Nekoma offers free shuttle buses from Koriyama Station.

Where To Stay

Hoshino Resorts Bandaisan Onsen Hotel
  • Sarashina Shimizudaira 6838-68 969-3396
  • 8.2/10
  • 2.7 km
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Nodoka
  • Fudo 500-71 Yama-Gun Inawashiro-Machi, Fukushima 969-3287
  • 8.5/10
  • 3.9 km
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Villa Inawashiro
  • Hayama 7105 Yama-Gun Inawashiro-Machi, Fukushima 969-3102
  • 7/10
  • 5.5 km
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Seifutei
  • Omichiminami 1640-6 Yama-Gun Inawashiro-Machi, Fukushima 969-3100
  • 9.7/10
  • 5.7 km
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