Mountainside lake area rich in nature and art
Less than three hours by shinkansen and connecting transport from Tokyo, the Lake Inawashiro area and nearby Mt Bandai are an easily accessible playground for those seeking winter thrills and powder snow. Yet boasting unparalleled hiking options, a world-class collection of Salvador Dali's artworks and a museum devoted to one of Japan's top scientists, the area is well worth a visit at any time of year.
- Perfect powder skiing at Mt Bandai or Urabandai
- A superb collection of Salvador Dali works at the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art
- The rainbow colored hues of the Goshikinuma marshes and ponds
- Soaking apres-ski in one of the area's many onsen
How to Get There
The best way to see Mt Bandai , Lake Inawashiro and surrounding areas is by rental car but other options are available. If staying at a hotel, it might be worth checking to see if you can use a shuttle service from Koriyama Station, the closest shinkansen stop. Otherwise, transfer at Koriyama Station to Inawashiro Station via the 40-minute rapid train towards Aizu-Wakamatsu. From there you can walk, or take a bus or taxi to nearby facilities.
Visiting in spring
As the weather heats up, eventually the area's greenery and few cherry blossoms spring to life. The “Oshika Zakura” elk cherry tree at Iwahashi Shrine, considered one of the Aizu district's five famous cherry trees, is a popular tourist draw. It is well worth the 3.5-kilometer trip from Inawashiro Station for blossom lovers.
Visiting in summer
The summer months are slightly cooler here than the rest of Fukushima Prefecture. A refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of the lake makes for a popular and seasonal activity. Rent sports equipment to go fishing, boardsailing, or water skiing around the northern Nagahama shore. Chilled soba noodles, made using the area's pristine natural underground water, are another area highlight.
Visiting in autumn
Lake Inawashiro is well-known as an excellent place to view autumn leaves. Trek through the fiery yellows, oranges, and reds of the mountains at Goshikinuma, or sit back and enjoy the colors at these “Five Colored Ponds.”
The whole area is a collection of 30 different-hued marshes and lakes, providing the perfect aesthetic contrast for which to compare the colors of the leaves.
When you're done exploring, escape the cooler weather or rest after a long day hiking many of the area's trails in one of the several local hot springs.
Visiting in winter
Chill out during the long winter season at the adjacent 1,430-meter-high Mt Bandai . Gear up with skis or a snowboard for the Alts Bandai or Inawashiro ski resorts on the front side of the mountain and admire the lake from this improved vantage point.
Alternatively, tackle Urabandai , the back of the mountain, open from early December to early May. Grandeco Snow Resort is known for its high-quality snow while Urabandai Nekoma resort is preferable if you want a more manageably-sized resort.
An unlikely spot to encounter Salvador Dali works
The Morohashi Museum of Modern Art, showcasing works by Salvador Dali, is the only museum in Asia offering a permanent exhibition of his art. With 330 such works on display, the museum boasts the third-largest collection of his works in the world, and is highly recommended for art fans unlikely to see other such collections abroad in Europe.
Stop by the Noguchi Hideyo Memorial Hall
An interesting side attraction is a museum dedicated to the man on the 1,000-yen note. Learn about the life and achievements of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) famous for his research on yellow fever. Step inside his parents' home to view some of the personal items from his life and gain a unique insight into the life of the famous scientist.