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Great Scenery And Cuisine! 2-Day Fukushima Travel By Train Or Rental Car

Great Scenery And Cuisine! 2-Day Fukushima Travel By Train Or Rental Car

Translated by Greg

Written by MATCHA-PR

Fukushima 2020.03.27 Bookmark

Fukushima offers rustic streetscapes, snowy scenery, and tasty Japanese cuisine and sake. It can be reached in about two hours from Tokyo. We introduce two-day sample itineraries to fully enjoy amazing places and cuisine in Fukushima traveling by train or rental car.

Explore Fukushima by Rental Car or Train

Historic streetscapes and castles, snowy landscapes, hot springs (onsen) and exquisite Japanese sakeーyou can find them all in Fukushima, a region that boasts an abundance of attractive features and is easily accessible from Tokyo.

Rural areas in Japan are often located at quite a distance from large cities. It can sometimes be difficult figuring out how to get to the countryside. This aspect makes many travelers hesitate about going all the way there.

In this article, we introduce a two-day travel itinerary in Fukushima with details on travel by public transportation such as train and bus, as well as rental car.

Regardless of which means of transportation you choose, visiting all the amazing places in Fukushima will be a wonderful experience!

Two-Day Fukushima Trip: Tips on Public Transportation

If you travel to Fukushima by Shinkansen, JR trains, and highway buses, we recommend visiting the cities of Aizu Wakamatsu and Iwaki.

Aizu Wakamatsu is a beautiful castle town full of historic buildings. It is also well-known for a railroad that's been called the world's most romantic. In Iwaki, visitors can enjoy exquisite cuisine at the local taverns (izakaya).

Day One: Explore the Historic Streetscapes in Aizu Wakamatsu

會津若松福西本店

Picture from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima: A Two-Day Winter Trip Of Food, History, And Cats

On the first day in Fukushima, go for a stroll in Aizu Wakamatsu and enjoy all the sights.

It takes a total of three hours by train from JR Tokyo Station to Aizu Wakamatsu Station. First, take the Shinkansen to Koriyama Station, then transfer to the JR Ban'etsu West Line to reach Aizu Wakamatsu.

You can save on transportation by using the JAPAN RAIL PASS or the JR EAST PASS.

The castle town was originally comprised of Nanokamachi-dori Street and Noguchi Hideyo Seishun Street. Today, historic buildings that are fifty or one hundred years old, line the nearby streets.

Many of the shops located here are worth stopping by, including the famous distillery called Suehiro Sake Brewery and the Shirokiya Lacquerware Company, which sells beautiful lacquerware. There are also several sophisticated cafes in this area.

Nanokamachi-dori Street

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cafe

Noguchi Hideyo Seishun Street

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park

【福島】雪にお城に猫!冬の会津若松1泊2日旅で美と癒しを味わおう

Picture from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima: A Two-Day Winter Trip Of Food, History, And Cats

Tsuruga Castle, also known as Aizu Wakamatsu Castle, is located close to the city. This is Japan's only remaining castle with red roof tiles. It is also listed as one of Japan's most beautiful one hundred castles.

Tsuruga Castle

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福島

Picture from Why We Live In Fukushima: Interviews With International Residents

Railway enthusiasts will surely want to see the Tadami Railway Line. The Tadami Line connects Aizu Wakamatsu with Niigata. The natural scenery along the way will simply take your breath away. This is why Tadami is often called the world's most romantic railway.

The view from the No. 1 Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint enjoys great popularity. From this spot, you can see the Tadami Line trains crossing over the Tadami River.

From Mondays to Saturdays starting at 8:10, buses leave from Aizu-Miyashita Station and arrive at a spot near the viewpoint. For details please refer to the Mishima official homepage.

It takes about one hour and 35 minutes to get to Aizu-Miyashita Station from Aizu Wakamatsu Station. The Tadami Train Line operates seven times a day. For departure times and other information, please see the JR Tadami Line schedule (Japanese).

No. 1 Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint

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蘆之牧溫泉大川莊

Picture from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima: A Two-Day Winter Trip Of Food, History, And Cats

We suggest staying overnight at Ashinomaki Onsen Okawaso. The facility offers an open-air bath with a great view. Moreover, guests can enjoy shamisen performances (photo above), as well as demonstrations of mochitsuki (pounding steamed rice into a glutinous rice cake dough using a large mallet).

The closest station to Okawaso is Ashinomaki Onsen Station (Aizu Railway). It takes about twenty minutes to get here from JR Aizu Wakamatsu Station, including the transfer time. There is a complimentary shuttle bus picking up Okawaso guests from the station (reservation required).

Ashinomaki Onsen Station

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lodging

Day Two: Head to Iwaki from Aizu-Wakamatsu Bus Terminal

The most convenient way to travel to Iwaki from Aizu Wakamatsu is by highway bus.

Right next to Aizu Wakamatsu Station is the Aizu Ekimae Bus Terminal. From here, buses to Iwaki leave once or twice per hour. A ticket to Iwaki Station costs 2,500 yen for adults. The one-way travel time is about three hours.

Aizu Bus Wakamatsu Station Bus Terminal

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Aquamarine Fukushima

福島

Picture courtesy of Fukushima Sightseeing and Product Exchange Association

Iwaki has many sightseeing highlights. Aquamarine Fukushima is one of the most popular places in the city. The facility is home to exhibits that recreate the ecosystems of Fukushima: the ocean, the mountains, and the rivers. The giant water tank holding 2,050 tons of water is the most impressive sight here.

It takes about fifteen minutes to get from JR Iwaki Station to Izumi Station. From here, board a highway bus headed for Onahama and Ena. After a fifteen-minute bus ride, you'll arrive at Aeon Mall Iwaki Onahama bus stop where you should get off. Aquamarine Fukushima can be reached in about five minutes on foot from here.

Aeon Mall Iwaki Onahama, located nearby, is Fukushima's largest shopping mall, with a total of 130 shops. If you love shopping, drop by for an hour or two.

Aquamarine Fukushima

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aquariummuseum

Yoake Ichiba (Sunrise Market)

甘くて濃い!究極の自然農法で作られる「福島野菜」を食べに行こう

Picture from Sweet And Flavorful! Try Fukushima Vegetables Grown With Natural Farming

When the sun goes down, head over to Yoake Ichiba, which is just three minutes on foot from Iwaki Station.

Formerly an area filled with small bars (called snack bars in Japanese), it was renovated into an izakaya town.

Iwaki suffered major damage during the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. Afterwards, in an effort to revitalize the city, local restaurant owners and entrepreneurs put their heads together to come up with a plan. The end result was Yoake Ichiba, a collection of shops in one location, which opened for business in November of the same year.

Today, izakaya bars line up one after the other, serving a wide variety of cuisine. Yakitori, Italian food, and local specialties are just a few of the options available.

福島日本酒

Picture from Try Award-Winning Sake In Fukushima! Visit The Kingdom Of Quality Sake

If the shop you've dropped into sells Matabe Sake, by all means please give it a try.

Matabe Sake is made by Shike Brewery in Iwaki. It won the top prize at Japan's Excellent New Brew of Sake Awards Ceremony for a total of fifteen times! But, surprisingly, it's often difficult to find outside the Fukushima area. It is an extremely rare local sake.

If you're heading to Tokyo from Iwaki, a limited express train will get you there in two hours and 30 minutes. The final express train going to Tokyo leaves shortly after 20:00, so be careful not to miss it.

Or, even better, stay the night in Iwaki and take your time enjoying the local sights.

Yoake Market

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restaurant

Two-Day Fukushima Trip by Rental Car

Next, we introduce a recommended Fukushima itinerary using a rental car.

Fukushima spreads out from east to west. The region in the middle of the prefecture is called Nakadori. It is an area with stunningly beautiful nature. The most convenient way to get around from one place to another is by car.

Our recommended two-day itinerary starts from Koriyama Station. For information on how to use car rental services in Japan, please see the article below.

Day One: Pick Up the Rental Car at Koriyama Station

あぶくま洞で日本の洞窟へ突入!?

Picture from Enjoy The Mysteries Of Nature! Explore Abukuma Cave In Fukushima

To get to Koriyama, the sightseeing hub of Nakadori, we suggest taking the Shinkansen. It takes one hour and 20 minutes to get from Tokyo Station to Koriyama Station by Shinkansen.

There are several car rental shops in the vicinity of Koriyama Station, including ORIX Rent-A-Car and NIPPON Rent-A-Car.

Lake Inawashiroko

福島

Picture from Fukushima Complete Guide: Sightseeing Spots, Food, And Safety

Lake Inawashiroko offers unforgettable views with its mirror-like surface and majestic Mount Bandai towering in the background. This is Japan's fourth largest freshwater lake, and one of the most scenic spots in Fukushima.

In addition to the sightseeing cruise boat, one of the highlights of the area is Tenkyokaku, which formerly served as the imperial family's vacation home.

Lake Inawashiro

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Numajiri Kogen Lodge - Excellent Meals and Accommodation

極上食材×料理×お酒!究極のペアリングに出会う福島の旅

Picture from A Fukushima Journey To Find Exquisite Pairings Of Cuisine And Liquor

Numajiri Kogen Lodge, formerly a mountain cottage, was owned by mountaineer Junko Tabei, the world's first woman to make a successful ascent of Mount Everest.

Surrounded by mountains, the area is extremely picturesque. Visitors can enjoy hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and other activities nearby. The facility also has amazing hot springs.

極上食材×料理×お酒!究極のペアリングに出会う福島の旅

Picture from A Fukushima Journey To Find Exquisite Pairings Of Cuisine And Liquor

But the most enjoyable part of staying at Numajiri Kogen Lodge is the cuisine. Original dishes made with fresh Fukushima ingredients are paired with nationally recognized Fukushima brand Japanese sake.

This exquisite cuisine, prepared by a chef whose skills have impressed thousands of people, will be a most satisfying experience.

Numajiri Kogen Lodge can be reached in one hour from Koriyama Station by car.

沼尻高原ロッジ

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lodging

Day Two: Visit Abukuma Cave

あぶくま洞で日本の洞窟へ突入!?

Picture from Enjoy The Mysteries Of Nature! Explore Abukuma Cave In Fukushima

The time spent at Numajiri Kogen Lodge might just feel too good to be true!

On the following day, how about exploring some of the mysteries of our planet? Abukuma Cave is a limestone cave that extends for about 600 meters. It apparently has the largest variety of stalactites in all of Asia.

あぶくま洞で日本の洞窟へ突入!?

Picture from Enjoy The Mysteries Of Nature! Explore Abukuma Cave In Fukushima

The highlight inside the cave is Takine Goten, a large hall extending 29 meters in height. There are also many uniquely-shaped rocks here, creating a mysterious atmosphere. Your exploration of Abukuma Cave will be a wonderful adventure.

Abukuma Cave can be reached in about one hour and 10 minutes by car from Numajiri Kogen Lodge.

Abukuma Cave

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Isozaki Shrine and Mushi Mushi Land

รวมที่เที่ยว สัมผัสธรรมชาติชนบทญี่ปุ่นที่

Picture from Tamura, Fukushima: Adventure Outdoors In Rural Japan

Isozaki Shrine is built into a cliff inside a tall forest. In what appears to be a unique architectural technique, the shrine is nestled against the rocksy mountain.

On their way to the main hall, visitors pass through a space under the floor of the shrine's building.

From Abukuma Cave, it takes about twenty minutes to get to Isozaki Shrine by car.

Isozaki Shrine

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รวมที่เที่ยว สัมผัสธรรมชาติชนบทญี่ปุ่นที่

Picture from Tamura, Fukushima: Adventure Outdoors In Rural Japan

If you visit this area during the summer months of July and August, we also recommend stopping by Mushi Mushi Land. Its exhibition space features beetles and butterflies from around the world. There's also Kabuto Mushi Dome, where you can get a close-up view of the beetles (kabuto mushi) living in their natural environment.

รวมที่เที่ยว สัมผัสธรรมชาติชนบทญี่ปุ่นที่

Picture from Tamura, Fukushima: Adventure Outdoors In Rural Japan

At Kabuto Mushi Dome, you can actually touch the beetles and have fun pitting beetles against each other in a friendly competition.

Mushi Mushi Land is thirty minutes by car from Abukuma Cave.

Afterwards, if you plan to go back to Koriyama Station to return the car, it takes about fifty minutes to get to the station from Isozaki Shrine and Mushi Mushi Land.

Mushi Mushi Land

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Enjoy the Highlights of Fukushima!

The destinations introduced above are only a small fraction of all the wonderful places to visit in Fukushima. There are many other great places still waiting to be discovered!

Feel free to use this article as a reference, and please fully enjoy yourself in Fukushima!

Written by Mizzochi
Sponsored by METI
Main image by Pixta

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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