TOHOKU Fukushima Samurai, snow and sake: Japan’s soul in one land

Easily reached from Tokyo, Fukushima has everything Japan is famous for, including relaxing onsen, sake, cherry blossoms and powder-covered mountain slopes

Fostering unique traditions of food and culture, the fertile lands of Fukushima produce some of Japan's best fruit and sake. Nature is abundant here, and southern suburbanites have long been drawn to its famed onsen and pristine wilderness. More recently, winter sports enthusiasts have discovered Fukushima's charms. While the 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit the region hard, tourism has bounced right back, thanks to local spirit—as expected from people in the northern heartland of samurai culture.

How to Get There

Fukushima is easily accessible from Tokyo via the JR Tohoku Shinkansen, as well as regular JR trains, highway buses and by car. If you're coming from further south, such as Kyoto, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo before transferring. Fukushima Airport serves as the regional airport hub.

Fukushima is on the direct JR line from Tokyo, about 1 hour 30 minutes away. For other destinations like Aizuwakamatsu and the Urabandai area, including Inawashiro, transfers to local trains or buses at Koriyama usually take about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Fukushima Airport has domestic service to Osaka and Sapporo (ANA, JAL, Ibex Air) and one international route to Seoul (Asiana).

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Don’t Miss

  • The aquamarine colors of Goshikinuma's mineral lakes
  • Powder-perfect ski fields in Urabandai
  • Samurai history and culture in the medieval castle town of Aizuwakamatsu
  • The famous hula girls at Iwaki’s Spa Hawaiians Resort—Japan’s first theme park

Local Specialties

  • Shirakawa Ramen

    Chewy, curly, hand-kneaded noodles served in a rich soy-based broth. This style of noodles reportedly first appeared at a ramen restaurant in Shirakawa during the Taisho era (1912-1926).

  • Kitakata Ramen

    Kitakata ramen is famous for its fat, wavy noodles served in a delicious soy sauce-based broth and topped with slices of barbecued pork and bamboo.

  • Matsuba Snow Crab

    Succulent Matsuba snow crab owes its rich flavor to cold waters and a plankton-rich environment. If you love crab, make this part of your dining itinerary. Eaten steamed, boiled in a hot pot or as sushi.

  • Aizu Lacquerware

    Aizu nuri dates back to the late 14th century. Decorative techniques and elaborate designs distinguish this lacquerware. The most striking patterns feature embossed, engraved or painted motifs.


Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    New sake debuts in March. Home to the nation’s most beloved cherry tree, Fukushima offers some of Japan’s best cherry blossom-viewing possibilities.

    aizuwakamatsu area
  • Summer

    Summer in Fukushima means festivals, with Soma’s samurai horseback racing event—one of the nation's most unique. Juicy peaches and cherries are sweet news for food lovers, while others come for the hiking, surf and sand.

    lake inawashiro-ko area
  • Autumn

    Fall in Fukushima is a colorful affair, with the Bandai Azuma Skyline awash in golds and reds. The festival season continues, while seasonal delicacies such as pears and grapes abound.

    aizuwakamatsu area
  • Winter

    The slopes of Mt. Bandai are ready for skiers and snowboarders, and nearby onsen are ideal spots to recover from a day carving through it all. Year-end festivals and illumination brighten the days and nights.

    aizuwakamatsu area

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