Fukushima Prefecture is located in the Tohoku region, and it takes just about 1.5 hours by Shinkansen to reach from Tokyo Station. Here you can find all Japan’s beauty: wonderful landscapes (including cherry blossoms and autumn sightseeing spots), castle towns and historic sites and, of course, tons of leisure activities! One of them is the Spa Resort Hawaiians, the Hawaiian themed theme park with onsen, pool, and Hula dance shows. The food, like all the rest, is great and in this list of 10 things to do in Fukushima Prefecture we also added some gourmet stops.
Travel back in Time at Ouchijuku
Ouchijuku was a very important road during the Edo period because it was regularly used to transport rice to the capital or to travel from Edo (current Tokyo). However, with the changes bought by the Meiji period, this road lost its importance, and this permitted to preserve its Edo-period beauty. Along the road on both sides, there are historical buildings that host a little exhibition hall, some local food restaurants, souvenir shops, shrines, and more. It’s recommended to visit in February or July, so you can also enjoy the Ouchijuku Snow Festival and the Mid-Summer Hange Festival!
Address: Yamamoto 8 Ouchi, Shimogo-machi, Minamiaizu-gun, Fukushima Prefecture
Entrance fee: free
Study the history at Tsurugajo Castle
As we said in the introduction, there is also a castle among Fukushima Prefecture’s many attractions! Tsurugajo Castle was once called the impregnable castle, but it was completely torn apart during the Meiji period’s civil war. Now we can see a reconstruction of the building, and near the Castle, you can also taste traditional sake, making traditional goods like lacquering plates or bowls and making soba. No matter the season you visit, there will be some event you can enjoy and even take part in! Before visiting is recommended to check the website’s annual events calendar.
Annual events calendar (including the Castle’s neighborhoods): http://www.tsurugajo.com/language/eng/annual-eventscalendar/
Address: 1-1 Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture
Entrance fee: ¥410
Learn Samurai culture at Aizu Buke Yashiki
Aizu Buke Yashiki is a vast complex built by the Aizu samurai clan in the Edo period. In each building’s rooms, there are things that were once used in everyday life to help the visitors understand better the Edo period lifestyle. Here you can enjoy two interesting museums, a rice milling room, the Aizu Tenmangu Shrine and a lot of activities that will bring you back in time to experience Samurai’s culture.
Website: http://bukeyashiki.com/ (Japanese only)
Address: Innai-1 Higashiyamamachi Oaza Ishiyama, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima Prefecture
Entrance fee: elementary school children ¥450, middle school and high school children ¥550, adults ¥850
Enjoy seasonal views of Goshikinuma Ponds
For the ones passionate about nature and beautiful landscapes, this is the best spot to take a stroll! Goshikinuma is a cluster of volcanic lakes and ponds which share the same position, but they differ very much by their water’s color. Here while walking you can find emerald green, cobalt green, turquoise blue, emerald blue, and pastel blue ponds all at the same place because of climate, volcanic materials contained in the water etc. The best seasons to visit are autumn and spring, where you can also enjoy rowing a boat in the biggest pond: Bishamonnuma.
Address: Hibara, Kitashiobara, Yama District, Fukushima Prefecture
Hike at Mt. Bandai
Hiking experts, this is your moment! Mount Bandai area hosts beautiful hot springs, and the before mentioned Goshikinuma Ponds and Kitashiobara Village which offers a wonderful resort surrounded by nature. Mount Bandai has two sides: the first one is the most attractive, covered in green. The other side shows some collapsed spots, due to the volcanic structure of the mountain. Here you can hike and visit all in a row the ponds and the mountain landscape, enjoy bird-watching and take a break with some local food. Herbs, vegetables, and salt are this area’s specialty, so make sure to bring home some salty souvenir!
Address: Bandaisan, Inawashiro, Yama District, Fukushima Prefecture
Enjoy the beautiful Miharu Taki Sakura cherry blossom tree
This is huge in a lot of meanings! Miharu Taki cherry blossom tree is one of the three great cherry blossom trees in Japan. Since a long time ago it’s been used to portrait the beauty of Japanese nature and to make wonderful drawings, photos or movie scenes. The tree is more than 1000 years old, and it’s 13.5 meters tall. You can’t go to Fukushima Prefecture and pass this Sakura cherry blossom tree! It’s recommended to research the cherry blossom full-bloom period and then plan a visit in advance to enjoy the Miharu Taki Sakura cherry blossom tree to the fullest.
Website: http://miharukoma.com/experience/183 (Japanese only)
Address: Sakurakubo Taki, Miharu, Tamura District, Fukushima Prefecture
Entrance fee: ¥300 for adults, free entrance for middle school children and under
Try various sake made in Fukushima Prefecture
If you want to discover new sake flavors or taste sake for the first time Fukushima Prefecture is a good choice! The most recommended breweries among the vast choice Fukushima Prefecture offers to its visitors are the Miyaizumi brewery and the Eisen brewery. They accept visitors and organize specialized tours with sake tasting options!
Depending on the season you will find different sake types waiting for you! Even on the website shop you can find sakes divided by month of production, and of course, there are also some available all year along.
Website: http://www.miyaizumi.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
Address: 8-7 Higashisakaemachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken
During the guided visit the staff will show you the standard process to make sake and what differs from their own technique.
Website: http://www.eisen.jp/website/index.html (Japanese only)
Address: Nakasonedaira-6841-11, Sarashina, Bandai-machi, Yama-gun, Fukushima Prefecture
Indulge in warm Kitakata ramen
The three most famous ramen in all Japan include the Kitakata ramen! Kitakata city is a small town surrounded by mountains and countryside; it’s not so easy to reach, but you will be greatly rewarded for your effort! The Kitakata ramen peculiarity stands on the thickness of its noodles: in the past, they used to deliver this kind of ramen and to prevent the noodles from absorbing too much broth during the transportation they made them fatter and wavy. They’re also very smooth, so it will be a pleasure to swallow them without even chewing.
Representative restaurant: Genraiken
Genraiken Address: 7745 Ippongiue, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima-ken
Explore Abukuma Cave
Abukuma Cave is a naturally formed cave that shows a wonderful variety of stalactites, stalagmites, etc. The cave is also used to make some beautiful light effects, so there are some benches to admire the ceiling and enjoy the light variations. You can visit Abukuma Cave wearing normal clothes, but it is advised to wear sports shoes. It might be a bit cold in summer, so bring also a jacket with you when entering the cave.
Address: Higashikamayama-1 Takinemachi Sugaya, Tamura-shi, Fukushima Prefecture
Entrance fee: ¥1,200
Warm your body at Dake hot Spring
To end your journey in the best way nothing is better than hot springs! Dake hot spring, in particular, is renowned for its rare acid waters which are very beneficial to the body and gentle on the skin. It is advised to choose a stay plan among the various inns near the hot springs and enjoy bathing and eating at one of the restaurants in the area. The selection is very huge, and you can also have fun strolling around the restaurant area.
Address: 1-16 Dake Onsen, Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture
Entrance fee: may vary based on the chosen stay plan.
Thumbnail image is from Flickr
Data is as of August 2018