Morohashi Museum of Modern Art

Ouchi-juku: Edo-Period Fukushima

Ouchi-juku under Snow

Peony Season at the Sukagawa Peony Garden

Venue: Sukagawa Peony Garden, Fukushima When: May 1st – May 31st 2021, 8:30am – 5:00pm Each year during May, the Sukagawa Peony Garden in Fukushima comes alive with around 7000 peony flowers in 290 different varieties. The garden covers a space of approximately 10 hectares, and it was designated as one of Japan's Special Places […]

Rediscover Fukushima Prefecture – Day Three

View from Observation Deck Number One Gokoku Shrine, Mt Shinobu View of Fukushima city from Observation Platform One The Neko Inari Shrine The Neko Inari Shrine, cat photos Foot Prints of Sakyamuni Buddha, Mt Shinobu We started our adventure with a stop at the tourist information center Fukushima station. Having visited well over 100 information […]

Rediscover Fukushima Prefecture – Day Two

Akanuma Pond View from train to Inawashiro Entrance to Goshiki-numa trail Fall colors at Bishamonnuma Pond Hydrangea still in bloom at Bishamonnuma Pond Beginning of pond trail On our second day of exploring Fukushima prefecture, we traveled south to Koriyama and then west to Inawashiro. Upon arrival at the station, we headed to the information […]

Shingu Kumano Shrine

Praying to the gods The Nagatoko (long floor) would make a great dance hall Feel the vibrations ooze through your body Praying to the gods (Photo: Miwako Tomura) The huge 800-year-old gingko tree beside the Shingu Kumano Shrine’s worship hall gives you a sense of the history of the place. When confronted with a date […]

The Amazing Hues of Goshikinuma

The Bentenganuma pond Boats for rent The amazing color in a sunny day Flowers on Bandai Highlands The trail in Goshikinuma A small stream running near one of the lakes The Bandai highland (磐梯高原, Bandai Kōgen) is a wide area in the northern part of Fukushima prefecture. Located at more than 800 meters above the […]

The Great ‘Waterfall’ Cherry Trees

The massiveness of the tree is inversely proportional to the size of its flowers. Its five-petal blossoms, in clusters, are almost half the size of the common sakura A beeline to behold the great tree and its blossoms In the foreground are nanohana (rape blossoms) Local tourists pose for the almost obligatory souvenir shot Who […]

Tohoku Chrysanthemum Doll Exhibit

A scene from Japanese history, portrayed by dolls dressed in flowers. The entrance of the castle, decorated with flowers for the exhibit Yellow Chrysanthemums Gold Chrysanthemums A single bush teased into a teardrop shape. A single bush with each flower individually placed like a mushroom. Every year, as the leaves start to change from green […]

Tohoku’s Massive Unknown Cave

Inside the main chamber Looking out from one of the observation decks The amazing cliff bordering the parking lot is just a warm-up The modest entrance to Abukuma-do Behold the Christmas Tree The cave is well lit and clearly marked A few green plants grow from the artificial light used to light the cave Several […]

Tohoku Safari Park

The entrance to the safari park The majestic, yet dangerous, white lions Zebras on the go It was the weekend and time for another adventure. This time I checked out the Tohoku Safari Park (東北サファリパーク) in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Park to see the animals strut their stuff from the comfort of a motor vehicle. After checking […]

Tomato Land Iwaki

Not all tomatoes, even those on the same vine, ripen at the same time Various tomato products from juice to jam is sold at the onsite store Automated sprinklers keep the plants hydrated at all times Hunting for the perfect tomato Tomatoes at the greenhouse start green and ripen to red, orange, yellow, or purple […]

Tonohetsuri Bridge

Tonohetsuri Bridge Tonohetsuri Bridge from above Tonohetsuri Station sign Entrance to Tonohetsuri Tonohetsuri Station Tonohetsuri Station platform Tonohetsuri banner Dragonfly resting on the rope of the bridge Tonohesturi Bridge is one of the must see tourist spots in Fukushima. Hesturi is an old Aizu dialect meaning “cliff overlooking a river”. It is said that a […]

Yanaizu Temple in Aizuwakamatsu

Japanese traditional stone lanterns found at many temples across Japan The map in the parking lot of the temple The beautiful path leading to the temple One of the many intricately designed stone lanterns The Temple, where a service was taking place during our visit. A place to cleanse your hands and rinse out your […]

Feeling Inspired on the Michinoku Coastal Trail

The beautiful stretch of forest on the way to Jodogahama Beach One of eight Michinoku Coastal Trail Visitor Centers Hiromitsu Seki from the MCT team hiking deeper into the forest The beautiful stretch of forest on the way to Jodogahama Beach Almost ten years ago, Tohoku suffered the strongest earthquake in its recorded history. The […]

Grave Hunting in Kitayama, Sendai

Masterful art at the Christian cemetery Iinuma Sadakichi’s grave A closer look A gorinto grave Buddhist staturay On the hunt Graveyards in Japan are are quite different from those in my home country, the USA. The uniquely-shaped grave markers, the fact bodies are always cremated, Buddhist influences, and even periodic calendar holidays set aside to […]

700km Michinoku Trail English Info

Beautiful scenery A boat that survived the 3.11 tsunami Hello friend Beautiful scenery (Photo: Anna Thomas) A massive project has been in the works since after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in Tohoku. Once finished, the Michinoku Shiokaze Trail (Michinoku Sea Breeze Trail) will stretch an uninterrupted 700km from Hachinohe, Aomori to Soma, Fukushima. […]

Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021

Venue: New National Stadium When: Jul 23rd – Aug 8th 2021, 10:00am – 5:00pm The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed until 2021 due to the impact of the global coronavirus situation — stay tuned for more updates as more details are announced. March 5, 2021 – The games are tentatively still occurring. Decisions to […]

Aizu Wakamatsu New Palace Hotel

New Palace Hotel My room: too compact for a landscape photo A wedding display Nearby is the impressive castle Tsurugo-jo The lobby lounge The TV is set in the wall New Palace Hotel Choosing a place to stay in Aizu-Wakamatsu was a bit of a head-scratcher. It's a pretty sprawling town, with the station and […]

Fukushima’s Hekizantei Ryokan-Hotel

Lovely view from our room Kagamigaike – Hekizantei is on the right Hotel lobby Wa-modern decorations in the hallway Japanese-style room The same room with futons laid out at night Part of the Itoen Hotels Group, the ryokan-hotel Hekizantei is a wonderful choice for visitors to Dake Onsen in Fukushima Prefecture. The hotel boasts lovely […]

Higashiyama Hot Spring Town

Higashiyama lit up at night. The river outside of our hotel and the autumn leaves changing colors. The view of Higashiyama from the hotel corridor in winter. If you wander just outside of Aizuwakamatsu City, known for its long samurai history, you will find yourself in the mountains of Higashiyama. This small hot spring town […]

Second House in Urabandai

Second House The common dining area Paintings by the owner’s daughter Second House Planning a trip around Fukushima prefecture one summer, I decided to get away from the city for a couple of days and get right out into the countryside. I settled on the Bandai Plateau (Bandai Kogen in Japanese), and set about finding […]

APA Hotel Fukushima Station

Enter here My comfortable bed Swanky decor in the lobby What makes a good place to stay when I travel to a new city? Comfortable is a must, as is affordable; central is good, and something particularly Japanese is nice to have. At APA hotel, all these boxes were ticked! The lobby is small, but […]

Hotel De Premiere on the Ski Slopes

The set Japanese dinner provided for us (there were a few other things not pictured). The double staircase in the lobby leading up to the guest rooms. The open lobby gives the whole hotel a classy atmosphere. Getting my rental gear before stepping outside onto the slopes. View of the hotel from the outside. The […]

Koriyama View Hotel Annex

A garden outside the sixth floor restaurant My comfortable bed In the restaurant The western style breakfast My desk and TV Relax as you wait outside the restaurant Planning a trip to Koriyama one time, I booked two nights at the View Hotel, cheap and central. Not long after, I received an email from the […]

Ogino, Fukushima Farm Stay

Winter snows cover the surrounding mountains Snow covered village house Enjoying the warmth around the irori, where Mrs. Sato prepared my tea The cotton seeds after the seed cutting process  Spinning the cotton into a yarn My first experience with the cotton gin, pretty fun! Three hours into the journey from Tokyo to Fukushima I […]

Shintsuta in Iwaki Yumoto Onsen

Ujo-no-yado Shintsuta The common areas have a very Japanese atmosphere. Standard Western style twin room Bath in the western style room All of the common areas, including the hallways, are decorated with Japanese art, armor, pottery, and more. The changing room for the ladies’s onsen was really clean. Ujo-no-yado Shintsuta Iwaki Yumoto Onsen is one […]

2 Days of Food & Culture in Aizu, Fukushima

2 Days of Food & Culture in Aizu, Fukushima 2 Days of Food & Culture in Aizu, Fukushima View of Ouchi-juku from Above Negi Soba 2 Days of Food & Culture in Aizu, Fukushima Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint The westernmost region of Aizu in Fukushima truly embodies the spirit of the Japanese countryside. Surrounded by […]

A Daytrip in Aizu

Tsuruga Castle Aizu is the start of the Tohoku wilderness The stream running through Higashiyama onsen The train trip to Aizu brings you through the mountains and farmlands that symbolise the landscape of rural Japan. Once you get off at Aizu-Wakamatsu station the feeling is one of a small residential town. Here everything has a […]

A Summer Day in Ouchi-Juku

Relaxing on the patio. One of the wooden houses. Smiling shopkeepers. Lunch with the view. Hidden temple just outside the town. A tasty tempura. Ouchi-juku is not one of the most famous sites in Japan but it is well worth the detour if you are travelling through Tohoku. On your way to this little town […]

Aizu Jibo Dai Kannon

Aizumura Aizu Kannon A blimp floats through the clear blue sky in the surrounding countryside. It’s possible to see for miles from the goddess’s shoulder blades. Aizumura The white lady lies about halfway between Inawashiro and downtown Aizu Wakamatsu, in the recreation park called Aizumura. Here she rises above the city and gazes benevolently out […]

Aizu Festival in Fukushima

A Samurai being led on horseback. Samurai on horseback Posing for photos along the parade A contrast of modern and traditional Japan. A young samurai The Samurai stopped to give a performance Venue: Tsurugajo Castle When: Late Sep 2021 Aizuwakamatsu City is well-known for its rich samurai heritage. The castle, Tsurugajo, became famous during the […]

Aizu Samurai Residence

The view from the veranda into the elegant garden (Photo: Elizabeth Scally) The lady of the house greets you with a seasonal display (Photo: Elizabeth Scally) An elaborately decorated stand for scrolls (Photo: Elizabeth Scally) Weapons abound here as this is a samurai residence (Photo: Elizabeth Scally) The rustic tea house in the garden (Photo: […]

Aizu Mura

A view of the grounds A shrine close to the statue A view from the statue The tranquil grounds A handy fifty-seven meters tall The grounds are very scenic I had no idea this existed before I saw it from the bus. Approaching Aizu-Wakamatsu on a trip round Fukushima prefecture one time, I caught a […]

Aizu Bukeyashiki

Part of the lavish grounds A view unchanged in centuries A statue of Saigo Shiro, who invented this judo throw A screen in one of the rooms Another statue in the grounds The entrance from the road Samurai weren't just warriors. They were also an integral part of Japan's ruling class, a wealthy elite who […]

Aizu Wakamatsu Castle

Near the honmaru entrance Aizu Wakamatsu Castle Moat near the north gate Tsuruga-Jo from the north Aizu Wakamatsu Castle Aizu Wakamatsu Castle Near the honmaru entrance The sun endeavored in vain to punch through the gray clouds that ran, uninterrupted, across the sky. Every now and then the wind would breathe a gust strong enough […]

Oyaku-En Garden in Aizu Wakamatsu

Tranquility The old house by the herb garden The herb garden Looking out over the pond from the teahouse Following the path Trees reflected in the water Aizu Wakamatsu has a couple of very impressive historical sights: its castle, and Aizu Bukeyashiki, a fabulous restored samurai residence. Roughly half way between the two – so […]

Aizuwakamatsu Castle Sakura Light-up & Annual Market

The view of the castle on top of the wall The gorgeous view from our tarp on the grass One of the many food stalls A street performer balancing on chairs with the cherry trees as a backdrop Some of the crafts for sale Handmade crafts available Venue: Tsurugajo Castle When: Early Apr – Early […]

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