Fukushima Prefecture, which is said to be the gateway to northern Japan, is a vast and beautiful area that extends inland from the Pacific coast. It’s a fascinating place with a variety of things to see and do. On the other hand, it also has a history of hardships. Now, when Japanese people express Fukushima Prefecture in one word, many people will say “patience”. The people of Fukushima Prefecture have experienced and overcome many hardships since ancient times. In recent years, the nuclear power plant accident following the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011) has cast a dark image around the world. The people of Fukushima Prefecture are working hard to overcome this hardship. On this page, we will introduce recommended sightseeing spots based on the background of Fukushima Prefecture.
Table of Contents
Outline of Fukushima
History and present situation of Fukushima
Fukushima Prefecture is in the southern part of the Tohoku region, and the east side faces the Pacific Ocean. This prefecture has population and economic power second only to Miyagi prefecture in Tohoku district.
In the era of the Tokugawa shogunate, there was Aizu clan in this prefecture to support the Tokugawa shogunate. The samurai of the Aizu clan was well trained and very brave. The Aizu clan kept fighting against the new government army until the end to protect the shogunate. As a result, many Samurai of Aizu clan killed in the battle. From the government’s point of view, they are war criminals, but in their hometowns, they are heroes that are still talked about.
In 2011, a nuclear power plant on the coast of this region was destroyed by the tsunami accompanying the Great East Japan Earthquake, causing a radioactive contamination accident. At this time, residents around the nuclear power plant were forced to evacuate. However, the people of Fukushima Prefecture have now overcome this hardship and have achieved remarkable recovery. The power of recovery is amazing. Fukushima Prefecture may be the most vibrant region in Japan right now.
There is Fukushima Airport in the southern part of Fukushima Prefecture. At this airport, scheduled flights are in service with the following airports.
Shin Chitose (Sapporo)
Trains and cars are the main ways to access Fukushima Prefecture from the Tokyo metropolitan area. The Shinkansen also goes through.
Shinkansen (Bullet train)
JR Fukushima station is the main station of Tohoku Shinkansen and Yamagata Shinkansen. From JR Tokyo station to Fukushima station, it is about 1 hour and 30 minutes by the fastest train.
In Fukushima prefecture, the Shinkansen stop at Shin-Shirakawa station and Koriyama station in addition to Fukushima station.
If you want to travel around Tohoku towns, a rail pass that allows unlimited rides on the Shinkansen and local trains is a great deal. >>See here for details.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, the following video was produced for sightseeing PR in the Tohoku region such as Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. I think that this video expresses the characteristics of Fukushima prefecture well.
Tsuruga Jo Castle
Tsuruga Jo Castle in Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture is a beautiful castle representing the Tohoku region. This castle was the castle at the center of the Aizu clan once in Fukushima Prefecture.
In the late nineteenth century, the Aizu clan fought against the new government army to the last to protect the Tokugawa shogunate. During this war, Tsuruga Jo Castle was attacked violently by a new government army. The samurai in this castle kept fighting for more than a month, but was defeated at the end.
For people in Fukushima Prefecture, Tsuruga Jo Castle is a symbol of the region. I wrote about this castle in an article introducing Japanese castles. If you are interested, please drop in on this article as well.
JR Aizuwakamatsu Station is about 60 minutes by Banetsu West Line from JR Koriyama Station. Tsuruga Jo Castle is about 10 minutes by bus from Aizuwakamatsu Station.
Ouchijuku village is a fomer post town along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido route, which connected Aizuwakamatsu with Nikko (Tochigi Prefecture) in the era of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Ouchijuku village has an altitude of 650 meters, surrounded by mountains. There are a lot of snow falling in winter. As you can see in the picture above, there is a big road in the middle of the village, and on both sides of that road there are old-fashioned houses of thatched roof.
During the war between the Aizu clan and the new government army in the latter half of the 19th century, there was a fierce battle in this village, but the houses remained miraculously. Ouchijuku village still has the atmosphere of the post town of Tokugawa shogunate era. So, many tourists come to this village.
If you go to this village, you will feel the era when the samurai lived. Ouchijuku village is about 15 minutes by taxi from Yunokami Onsen station.
JR Tadami Line
If you want to enjoy the beautiful Japanese countryside from the train, we recommend the JR Tadami Line in western Fukushima Prefecture.
The JR Tadami Line is a 135km long line that connects Aizuwakamatsu Station in Fukushima Prefecture with Koide Station in Niigata Prefecture. It is a local train that runs through unexplored regions with breathtaking scenery that has become a hot topic on overseas SNS as “the most romantic railway in the world”, but because it is a depopulated area, there are very few people who use it on a daily basis. Recommended as a hidden tourist spot.
Spa Resort Hawaiians
Spa Resort Hawaiians is a huge hot spring theme park in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. At this theme park you can enjoy hot springs and pools. In addition, you can see the Hawaiian dance show. There is also a golf course.
In Iwaki City where Spa Resort Hawaiians is located, there was a coal mine, but it was closed. For this reason the locals built this theme park to survive. Local girls practiced Hawaiian dance very hard and started their own show. The Japanese film “Hula Girls” (2006) produced based on this true story became a huge hit and Spa Resort Hawaiians became widely known. The following movie is a trailer of this movie.
Unfortunately, during the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, Spa Resort Hawaiians suffered some facilities damage. Although this theme park was forced to take a day off, during that time Hula Girls went to publicity all over Japan and kept doing dance. After reopening in one year, this theme park is increasing popularity again.
Spa Resort Hawaiians is a theme park ideal for families to visit from Tokyo. Here are various types of hotels. All these hotels are child-friendly accommodation. I recommend hotels of Spa Resort Hawaiians as one of the most friendly hotels for families in Japan.
Spa Resort Hawaiians is about 15 minutes by free bus from Yumoto Station of JR Joban Line.
Thank you for reading to the end.
>>Click here if you want to Fukushima Prefecture tour menu
Now, let’s plan to make your vacation in Japan the best experience ever!