Fukushima in Winter is Love!

It’s winter time again everyone, do you have any plan to go somewhere this winter break? If you are still in the planning stage, why not consider going to Fukushima Prefecture in Tohoku Region, Japan. Experience the beauty of nature and different winter adventure it can offer.

Me and my friends went for a 2-day trip in Fukushima last January 28-29 visited many places and experienced a lot of winter adventures. We are all leaving in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture and Fukushima is just a nearby prefecture. In this article, I will share with you experiences we had, the cost, the web page of each place and how to get there using public transportation.

DAY 1:

SMELT FISHING

Have you ever did fishing on a frozen lake? As for me, it was my first time to do such. We did it in Lake Hibara which one of the largest lakes in Ura-Bandai. It was a great experience to walk on a frozen lake and see tents that you can imagine as the igloo in the south pole. I’ve been here in summer to experience canoeing, and it’s nice to back to do a different thing. The best season for smelt fishing is in the first week of February. But even if we came earlier than its peak season we were still fortunate to catch several smelt or wakasagi in Japanese.

 

With regards to the cost, it wasn’t too expensive. 4700 yen you can enjoy fishing for about 4 hours. Just a few reminders, make sure to wear thick clothes, gloves, and proper footwear to protect you from the cold temperature. If it’s your first time to do fishing, never worry for the staffs are too friendly to help with everything from setting up the fishing tool and putting worms on it. Just be patient because it will take some time to catch one. After fishing, the most exciting part is that the fish you caught can be eaten for lunch and the nearby restaurant will prepare it for you. Interesting right! Aside from that they also have a very reasonable, delicious, and famous menu called tonkatsu for 1296 yen which is a set of rice bowl with big slices of fried pork meat, miso soup, and pickled vegetables.

Transport:    

*Tokyo Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station(bus)—urabandai (3 hrs, 8950 yen)

*Sendai Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station(bus)—urabandai (2 hrs, 6130 yen)

Link:

http://www.totobus.co.jp/bandai/timetable.html

http://www.totobus.co.jp/bandai/images/keitouzu2.pdf

 

HOTEL AND SKI EXPERIENCE

After the fishing adventure, we directly headed to our hotel; Listel Ski Fantasia. This hotel and ski resort is one of the fist class hotels in Inawashiro Fukushima that offers different services like; inside and outside onsen, swimming pool, bar, karaoke, souvenir shops, of course, ski experience, and a lot more for 15000 yen for one night per person.One thing that makes it different from other hotels and ryokan is that you can’t wear yukata in the entire place, only going to onsen you’ll be allowed to wear it.

When it comes to the food, they have a variety of choices; all you can eat buffet for dinner and breakfast. They also serve dishes that is the specialty of the town. You will surely can’t stop eating for every dish is so delicious.

The ski place of was so beautiful, perfect if you are really into winter sports; skiing or snowboarding. To be honest it was only my second time to be skiing. The first time was 2 years back then and I only did it on a flat surface. I felt excited and afraid at the same time, thinking if I can still do it. The group decided to have the challenge of doing ski/snowboard from the top of the resort, and we did. I know it will be dangerous but I can’t learn how if I won’t try. We rode the lift going up and geared ourselves to slide down. But before sliding down, we first enjoyed the beauty of the place that gives a perfect view of lake Inawashiro, and mountains fully covered with snow. After that, we all took our first ride. It was scary but fun. I rolled over several times and feels like my legs were broken but it didn’t stop me from trying until I made it from the top to the bottom part. It was a perfect experience I may say. But the time was too short since it closed around 4:30 in the afternoon.

And of course, a stay in a Japanese hotel will never be complete without going to an onsen. The hotel does have 2 onsens; indoor and outdoor one. The water was so therapeutic, perfect for the long day trip and adventure.

Our first day of travel focused more on the things you can do and enjoy in Fukushima in winter. These were just a few of so many things Fukushima can offer. The smelt fishing the ski/snowboard experience may be too tough for some travelers to do it for one day for it requires time to get there. I may suggest that if you have enough time to travel, you may do it on a separate day so you won’t hurry up catching the public transportation and have enough time to enjoy each.

Transport:

*Narita Airport (express bus)—Hotel Listel  (5 hrs, 6000 yen)2   Tokyo Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station( free shuttle bus)—Hotel Listel (3 hrs, 8950 yen)            *Tokyo Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station( free shuttle bus)—Hotel Listel (3 hrs, 8950 yen) *Sendai Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station (free shuttle bus)—Hotel Listel (3hrs, 8950 yen)

Link:

http://www.listel-inawashiro.jp/english/

 

DAY 2:

For our second day, we planned to visit cultural, traditional and scenic places around the place. We visited Lake Inawashiro, Tsuruga-jo Castle, and Ouchijuku.

LAKE INAWASHIRO

We leave the hotel, early in the morning to make sure that we’ll catch up the itinerary as planned. Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima is one of the biggest lakes in Japan. In winter a lot of ducks and swans from Russia stop over this lake to take some rest. The beautiful swans and ducks added beauty to the place. The lake was calm and the fully covered with snow mountains seems to be like a background of a portrait. The view was so relaxing to the eyes. The best part of it was that people can feed the ducks and the swans. They were not afraid to have a close encounter with people so you can even put the bread in your palm and let them take it. What a nice experience it was. We didn’t spend much in that place and immediately proceed to our next station which is the Tsuruga-jo Castle.

 

TSURUGA-JO CASTLE

Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle, also known as Tsuruga-jo Castle is a concrete replica of a traditional Japanese castle in northern Japan, at the center of the city of Aizuwakamatsu, in Fukushima Prefecture. It is very close to Aizuwakamatsu station, only about 17 minutes by bus. The entrance fee to get into the castle is 410 yen. You will be welcomed by a man dressed like a samurai. Inside, you can see different relics of how people from the past live and other things that show how rich their culture is. Climbing the topmost part of the castle, you can see the beautiful view of the whole town made more beautiful by the snow everywhere. at most two hours is enough to be spent in the whole place. 

Transportation:

  • Tokyo Station(Shinkansen)—Koriyama Station(bus)—Tsurugajo Bus Station  (9300 yen, 3 hrs)
  • Sendai Station(Shinkansen)—Koriyama Station(bus)—Tsurugajo Bus Station  (6480yen,  2 hrs 10 minutes)
  • Sendai Station East Exit (Express bus)— Tsurugajo Bus Station (2900yen, 2 hrs

Link: 

www.tsurugajo.com/language/eng

 

After that, we went to our last destination, which is the Ouchijuku; a village surrounded by old cottages.

OUCHIJUKU: OLD JAPANESE VILLAGE

Ōuchi-juku was a small post station in Japan’s Edo period and part of the Aizu Nishi Kaido. It is now located in the town of Shimogo, Fukushima, and is famous for the numerous traditional thatched buildings from the Edo Period that line its main street. From Tsuruga-jo Castle, it takes about 45 minutes to be in this place. The last time I’ve been here was during Autumn Season and so privileged to be back and see it again Winter. Both seasons offers a different fantastic view. This old village is covered with snow that is perfect from the top view. And in February, they are having a festival where they gather snow and form igloos and other ice sculptures and light them up in the evening. I wonder how it looks, it’s beautiful and amazing for sure!

And being in Ouchijuku, don’t ever miss the famous dish that can be eaten here; the negisoba. The name itself doesn’t suggest that the soba (noodle) is made of negi or spring onion. Moreover, it’s a dish where the soba must be eaten using the negi, interesting, isn’t it? It’s hard but one of a kind experience.

Transportation:

From Nanukamachi Station – take JR Tadami Line/aizu tetsudo line to Yunokamionsen Station – walk 3min to Yunoueonsen Ekimae Bus Stop – take bus to Ouchika Bus Stop – walk 4 min to Ouchijuku Village

Link:

https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/histtown/ouchi-juku.html

http://www.misawaya.jp/

Fukushima is one of the best places is Tohoku region that offers different varieties of things that can be seen and experience in any season of the year. A place that you’ll truly fall in love once you visited any of these places and other places in Fukushima Prefecture. Come, and enjoy Fukushima!

For more unique discoveries in Tohoku, visit our main homepage: gogotohoku.jp

 

Gho Tuazon, Philippines

Tohoku Ambassador Club

About Tohoku Ambassador Club

The Tohoku Ambassador Club consists of over 170 international exchange students from 27 different countries, all living and studying in Sendai City. As both local Tohoku residents and international travelers, we have all the insider knowledge and tips for discovering the amazing attractions of the Tohoku region! Follow us as we uncover your next Japan adventure, far from the crowds of Tokyo and Kyoto.

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