Written by Bond
A Trip To Beautiful Yanaizu In Fukushima
Yanaizu is a beautiful area in Fukushima where you can relax in the heart of nature, making and eating delicious local food, or enjoying wonderful hot springs. This article introduces some of the activities that you can enjoy in Yanaizu.
Yanaizu - A Beautiful Area in Fukushima
With its rich nature, Fukushima is one of the idyllic destinations to escape the busy city. Especially in the summer, when the weather gets unbearably hot, places like the beautiful Yanaizu area in Fukushima Prefecture offer a welcome respite from the heat.
This article will introduce some of the highlights from a trip to Yanaizu - from the stunningly beautiful scenery to local craft workshops and even local cooking.
Fukushima's Natural Beauty
Fukushima is a breathtakingly beautiful area known with stunning nature. Possessing rivers, coastlines, and densely wooded areas, Fukushima’s natural beauty is truly bountiful. It’s quite possible to see wildlife in these areas as well, such as boar or deer.
The climate is cooler than Tokyo's, as the prefecture is further to the north. The water of the lakes and rivers is pristine and refreshing and the whole peacefulness of rural Fukushima is quaint and relaxing, perfect to unwind.
Try Your Hand At Making Regional Food in Yanaizu
Spending time in the Aizu area gives plenty of time to enjoy some leisurely crafting. In the Yanaizu region of Fukushima, visitors can try their hand at making different types of regional food, such as Hakase Soba* and Awa Manju* at the area’s visitor center.
It’s a perfect, stress-free way to immerse oneself directly into the local culture. You can learn a new skill and unwind away from the hectic pace of everyday life.
Other skills that can be practiced here include creating woodwork trinkets. They have a long history in the region. Classes with instructors are available for this technique as well.
*Hakase soba: Soba is made entirely from buckwheat raised in the nutrient dense Mt. Hakase area.
*Awa Manju: A sweet and savory dessert made with sweet bean paste.
Crafting Makes Hungry! Let's Eat Some Local Specialties
After making your own soba noodles, enjoy one of Japan’s most delicious summertime foods, Zaru soba. This type of soba is served chilled and is lightly dipped into a sauce before being eaten. Zaru soba is a specialty of the region. It helps if you keep the meal’s temperature cooler when the outside temperature is hot. The taste will be even better after learning how to make it by yourself!
Katsudon, a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, egg, vegetables, and condiments, is also well-known in this region, though it is less of a summertime specialty than soba.
Enjoy Outdoor and Indoor Hot Springs at Nishiyama Ryokan
This year, the Nishiyama Ryokan turned 1300 years old. The facility is located in an area brimming with a rich history and warm waters, with a large number of both onsen (hot springs) and open-air hot spring baths. It is an untouched reminder of Japanese life from centuries ago.
The facility is isolated on a compound in the wilderness. Visitors stay in one of the buildings on the ground but can enjoy access to a large number of indoor and outdoor baths.
Views from the outside baths include a river, which cuts across the area and is a major centerpiece of the scenery, and other stunning sights of nature.
While sinking into a hot spring is not the first tactic to deal with the heat that one might consider, it is a surprisingly pleasant way to keep the sweat away momentarily.
At night specifically, in the cool summer air, the baths can provide a perfect combination of hot and cold.
How to Get to Fukushima
Major areas in Fukushima can be accessed by the Yamabiko and Tsubasa trains along the JR Tohoku Shinkansen. It is most convenient to access the region by train. Local trains are available but they are less frequent and require multiple transfers.
Bus companies also provide routes to the more popular destinations. They leave from Shinjuku Station's Bus Terminal.
However, after arriving in the larger area, accessing rural areas is less convenient. Renting a car is an easy way to access rural locations. Yanaizu can be accessed by both railways and highways. As it is a more rural area, accessing the location is more difficult than taking a trip to a more popular destination, such as Kyoto, yet the trip is worth it.
By rail, take the Yamabiko Shinkansen from Tokyo to Koriyama Station and transfer to a regular train on the JR Banetsu-sai Line, getting off at Aizu-Wakamatsu Station.
As for buses, multiple companies offer routes from Shinjuku Station to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station.
Enjoy Your Trip to Beautiful Yanaizu in Fukushima!
For those searching for a quiet escape from the metropolis, the Fukushima region, and Yanaizu in particular, offer a tranquil and isolated respite.
The rich history and traditional crafts of the area can be experienced first-hand, in addition to the scenery and the hot springs. While less well-known than other summer get-away locations, Fukushima is full of opportunities to unwind and de-stress.