I feel like I have experienced all the fun you can have in winter in Fukushima just within two days. That, plus all the other bonus (food mostly) and the imagination it left me with of it in other 3 seasons made me completely fall in love with this prefecture.
Fun Point 1: Walking and Fishing on a Frozen Lake (Lake Hibara)
I have never walked on a lake before, not even a frozen one. Some of us shared the same excitement then started jumping a little, but soon were told off that it could actually cause hazard because the ice was less than 1 meter thick.
The first ever Gogotohoku trip’s two originals reunited at the first Gogotohoku trip in 2017, hah.
I have never fished before either. So fishing through a hole punched out on an iced lake shouldn’t come out as a surprising thing I suck at. Which is why I felt it was so nice that they have two staff members helped us from the beginning till the end.
They were helping me put the bait on the hook, taking my fish off the hook, etc…
Look at my glorious achievement.→→
One lonely little fish.
And what life is better than a huge bowl of soy sauce pork cutlet after having spent so much energy by fishing not enough smelt fish?
Cost: Fishing — 4700 yen
Meal (soy sauce pork cutlet bowl)—1296 yen ( restaurant offers free frying all the fishes you fished, but we..)
1 Tokyo Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station(bus)—urabandai (3 hrs, 8950 yen)
2 Sendai Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station(bus)—urabandai (2 hrs, 6130 yen)
Fun Point 2: Hotel Listel Iwashiro
This was the busiest hotel I have ever been to. The night we stayed, it was said, the hotel was fully booked and it hosted 1600 guests–at full capacity. As busy and big it is, the service runs smoothly like nobody else. We never had to queue for anything, amazing dinner and breakfast buffet, spacious hot spring and pool area. Their ski resort is literally just right at the backdoor.
Room: per person 11000 yen ~~ (one-day lift ticket included)(rental not included)
They have many different stay plans. In winter there are often plans including lift tickets and/or free rental, please check their English website: http://www.listel-inawashiro.jp/english/
1 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)
2 Tokyo Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station( free shuttle bus)—Hotel Listel (3 hrs, 8950 yen)
3 Sendai Station (shinkansen)—Koriyama Station (JR)—Inawashiro Station (free shuttle bus)—Hotel Listel (3hrs, 8950 yen)
Fun Point 3: Swans and Ducklings in Lake Inawashiro
When I saw how this cute little girl was curious about these ducklings then still got frighttened when they flocked to them for the feed and hid between mommy’s legs, I thought it was the most innocent form of beauty that nature brings us! And how I must bring my kid to a place like here as well when I have one, haha.
Lake Inawashiro is the fourth biggest lake in Japan, every year in winter, flocks of swans and duckling will travel all the way from Russia to here and have fun together. It’s such a beautiful lake as it overlooks those snow-covered ranges of mountains and is, in fact, huge as well as tranquil. Cost: Free
Because this lake is so grand that it requires different access to its different side. But mostly you need to get to Inawashiro station first then take a taxi. And here it has a beautiful guidebook in English is available on this website: http://inawashiroko.jp/web/index.html?language=en#ebookSec
It has all the information about the Lake of Heart–Inawashiro and different travel proposals as well.
Fun Point4: Aizuwakamatsu Castle (Tsuruga Castle)
If you are interested in Japanese style castles, whether for its form or its history. Tsuruga Castle is just a simple must visit! It was built in 1384 and has been owned by different warlords since then. Climbing up the castle you can read and observe a lot of historical materials and relics. But once you are on the top, you will be able to see some view like this:
After get down you can also taste Fukushima special—fried manju along with a cup of warm rice wine:
And of course, you get to take a photo with the beautiful castle!
Entrance fee: 410 yen
Food: Around 400 yen
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)
or Sendai Station East Exit (Express bus)— Tsurugajo Bus Station (2900yen, 2 hrs 47 minutes)
Fun Point 5: Ouchijuku Village
So here was our last stop in Fukushima, even though the two-days schedule was so packed (we actually had to change things around quite a few times because we’re running out of time), but I felt so reluctant to yet say goodbye.
I saw this elder man sculpted an ultra-man ice statue near the cute small igloo and asked him to take a few pictures for me. He said “Take as many as you want! How about another one in horizontal?” And when I asked about his next project because I saw a rather un-shaped sculpture next to the ultra-man. And he said, “There’s nothing in my mind yet.” I guess at that moment in Ouchijuku I finally understood why/of what I fell in love with Fukushima, it’s its people, that genuine kindness of Japanese people was represented so well in Fukushima.
Cost: Negi(onion) Soba 1200 yen
Otemachi Station (Tokyo)(Shinkansen)—Kitasenju Station—Shimo-Imaichi tation—Shin-Fujiwara Station—Aizukogen-Oze-Guchi Station(local train)—Aizu-Tajima Station—Yunokamionsen Station(taxi)—Ouchijuku
This route costs 5220 yen without the taxi fee and requires four transfers in total 4.5 hours to get there.
Sendai Station(Shinkansen)—Ko-Oriyamaeki(bus)—Wakamatsu Station(JR)—Nishi-Wakamatsu Station(express train)—Yunokamionsen Station(taxi)—(7310yen, 2hr 50 mins).
For more unique discoveries in Tohoku, visit our main homepage: gogotohoku.jp