Fun in Fukushima - 4 things to do in Aizu!

Fukushima Prefecture is somewhere that has sadly has seen tourist numbers drop drastically since the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. When you mention the word Fukushima, most people will immediately associate it with the Fukushima Daiichi incident and not with all the other beautiful things that the prefecture has to offer.
Fukushima is one of the largest prefectures by area size (the only prefectures with a larger area are Hokkaido and Iwate), so the majority of the prefecture is still fine to visit -- and most tourist destinations have lower radiation levels than a lot of cities around the world.
My family and I are planning a long weekend getaway in July to Fukushima Prefecture, centered around the Aizuwakamatsu area. Here are 4 places that we plan to visit as a part of our trip!

Tsuruga Castle


This is probably the most iconic place to visit in the Aizu region, particularly when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. The original castle was built around 600 years ago,  destroyed after the Boshin War of 1868, but then rebuilt in the 1960's. One thing that sets it apart from other castles in Japan is that it has red roof tiles!

Since my husband Mike is very interested in Japanese history, this is somewhere that is on our must see list for our trip to the area.

Goshikinuma


If you're into the wonders of the great outdoors like we are, the Goshikinuma lake cluster might be a place that interests you!

There are several amazing (almost surreal!) colored lakes, and walking trails that you can hike along and enjoy their beauty. It's said that in the summer months, sneakers are fine to hike the lake trails with - but if you were visiting in the colder months you would probably need some kind of hiking boots with more substantial tread!

Mt. Bandai


Affectionately known as the Fuji of Fukushima , Mt. Bandai is an active stratovolcano located in the Bandai-Asahi National Park. 
There are a number of trails to get to the top of the mountain, and whilst we won't be climbing the mountain (we're traveling with young ones!) we will be embracing the beauty of the flora and fauna of the National Park area. 

Ouchi-juku


When people think about thatched roof houses in Japan, the first place that comes to mind is most commonly Shirakawago. But Fukushima also has an area with these fascinating structures!
Ouchi-Juku was one of the stops along a trade route that connected Aizu with Nikko (another great place to visit if you're coming to Japan!) and it has been restored to look just like it did back in the Edo Period. 
The thatched roof buildings contain shops, eateries, and even accommodation - I love traditional "step back in time" experiences so I am really excited to check this area out.

Pic Credit: Flickr User wriv

I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into some of the neat things we plan to check out in the area - and perhaps some inspiration for your own trip to the region! I'm looking forward to being able to tell you all about these places in more detail (with my own pictures, too!) once I've visited there in July.

Happy Travels!


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