3 days/2 nights based in Tsuchiyu, Takayu, and Iizaka Onsen [Base! Tohoku]

Area Map 青森県 岩手県 宮城県 秋田県 山形県 福島県 新潟県

Iizaka Onsen, which can be reached by train and is close to the station, is also a great place for enjoying gourmet food and walking around town.

Takayu Onsen, surrounded by the rich nature of Mt.

Tsuchiyu Onsen, also known as "Kokeshi no Sato" (village of Kokeshi dolls), is a relaxing old hot spring town.

Enjoy three different types of hot springs, nature walks and fruit picking in the suburbs.

START
Day1

Fruit Picking

Fruit Picking
Located in the western part of Fukushima City, Prefectural Road No. 5 is nicknamed "Fruit Line" because of the many orchards along the road, and is lined with many fruit stores and tourist orchards where visitors can pick fruits. Visitors can enjoy picking fresh fruits such as peaches, pears, apples, cherries, and grapes from season to season.

Mt. Hanami

"Paradise" in Fukushima

Mt. Hanami
Mt. Hanami is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Fukushima Prefecture, enticing tourists from all over Japan every year. Photographer Shotaro Akiyama directed the rest of the country's attention to this beautiful spot, calling it “a real paradise in Fukushima," where it then became known as one of Fukushima City's most famous flower spots. The area around the park is dotted with flower and tree farms. Mt. Hanami Park has been open to the public since 1959, and has been handed down from generation to generation from the first owner of the park, who wanted as many people as possible to see beautiful flowers. 
The beautiful landscape of Mt. Hanami Park and its surroundings is made up of colorful flower and tree fields, beautiful streams, and a village landscape created the flower- and tree-producing farmers of the Watari area of Fukushima City. In spring, about 70 kinds of flowers, such as plum blossoms, Japanese apricot, cherry blossoms, lingonberries, bokeh, magnolias, etc., bloom one after another, and the whole mountain is dyed pale pink. On a clear day, you can see the Azuma Mountain Range and the Adachi Tara Federation. When the snow that falls on Azuma Kofuji begins to melt, the remaining snow on the mountain's surface becomes shaped like a rabbit, which is a temporary sight called "the snow rabbit of Azuma" cherished by locals. From the top of the mountain, one may enjoy a view of Fukushima city alongside the beautiful scenery of blooming flowers. In the park, volunteer guides called "Fukushima Flower Guides" will show you around the fields. *During the cherry blossom season (from the end of March to mid-April), traffic restrictions will be imposed in the surrounding areas to ease traffic congestion. During this period, please use the temporary parking lot (Abukuma Oyamizu Park), the toll parking lots around Fukushima Station, and the temporary bus "Hanamiyama-go".

Iizaka Onsen

Day2

Mount Bandai

Enjoy a scenic hike on Fukushima’s iconic mountain!

Mount Bandai
Selected as one of Japan’s 100 most famous mountains, Mount Bandai is the leading attraction of the Bandai Asahi National Park. The 360°panoramic view from the top of Mount Bandai takes in such sights as Lake Inawashiro and the Azuma Mountains.
The south side of Mount Bandai is the beautiful Omote Bandai known locally as “Aizu Fuji” (Mount Fuji of Aizu), while the north side is called Urabandai and evokes the might of nature with its complex landscape created after the 1888 phreatic (steam-blast) explosion of Mount Bandai.
Various hiking trails are available suitable for beginners and experienced hikers alike. The shortest is the Happodai trail which is an easy beginner-friendly walk. The hiking season runs from May to November. Come and be fascinated by the area’s seasonal beauty of an abundance of plants and flowers during spring and summer and dazzling displays of autumnal colours.
Fukushima’s iconic mountain can be seen from everywhere in the city with the views improving with greater distance. The magnificent views of Mount Bandai in the background of Goshikinuma and Lake Inawashiro are particularly picturesque. Find your favourite view among the many popular viewing locations such as Tenjinhama Beach on the north shore of Lake Inawashiro and the Bandaisan Viewing Point along the prefectural road, the Inawashiro Engawa line.

Bandai-Azuma Skyline

Enjoy a scenic drive to the clouds in the sky!

Bandai-Azuma Skyline
With a maximum elevation of 1,622m, the Bandai Azuma Skyline is a scenic driving route meandering through the Azuma mountain range, between Takayu Onsen and Tsuchiyu Toge Pass. Selected as one of Japan’s top 100 roads, driving the alpine road through the fleecy clouds demonstrates the worthiness of its name “Skyline”.
You won’t be able to take your eyes off the breathtakingly diverse scenery ranging from lush greenery to wild volcanic landscapes. Early spring ice walls on either side of the road and the changing leaves of autumn are seasonal spectacles.
Don’t miss the Azuma Hakkei (Eight Views of Azuma) selected by the noted writer Yasushi Inoue. The highlight of the drive is the Fudosawa Bridge spanning over the Tsubakuro Valley. The view from the bridge is spectacular and makes visitors feel as if they were floating in the sky.
Along the way, Jododaira is a good place to take a break as it is home to a rest house, visitor centre and observatory. A hiking trail to Mount Azuma Kofuji, popular for its monstrous crater known as the “Cauldron”, also starts here. The gigantic crater is a must visit, while fumes can be seen emitting from the nearby active volcano, Mount Issai Kyozan.
Be sure to confirm opening times before travelling as the Bandai Azuma Skyline is closed during winter.

Takayu Onsen

Unexplored Hot Springs in Tohoku

Takayu Onsen
The hot spring village is located on a plateau at an elevation of 750 meters and is known as one of the "Three High Hot Springs of Oshu" along with Zao and Shirabu.
The hot spring is still gushing with the same hot spring water as when it was first opened in the Edo period.
The hot water that has just bubbled out is clear and colorless, but when exposed to the air, it becomes cloudy white due to the formation of hot water spores.
This cloudy sulfur spring water has high medicinal value and is said to be effective for neuralgia, diabetes, and atopic dermatitis.

Souce-of-spring power
According to the results of a demonstration project to verify the medical treatment effects of Takayu Onsen, all of Takayu's major sources have one of the highest levels of antioxidant power in Japan. This is very rare in Japan, and the fact that the hot spring has been drawing hot water for more than 400 years since its opening in the Edo period without changing the hot water supply method is remarkable and a blessing in disguise.

Onsen Power
Since the opening of the bathhouse, we have continued to insist on "free-flowing hot-spring water. All bathtubs in the district draw hot water from a natural spring, and the overflowing hot water is discharged as it is, using the natural flow method that takes advantage of the difference in elevation of the ground without pumping by machine. Our predecessors in Takayu have experienced and passed on the best way to enjoy the "power of hot water" to the maximum extent.


Local Power
The ancient custom of "no noise at all" in Takayu has forbidden any recreational activities for the purpose of recuperation. The community has also avoided large-scale development that would be inappropriate for this area and continues to protect the quiet environment of the mountain gorge. It is because the entire community has respected the nature of Agatsuma and inherited its hot springs that the "Takayu Onsen" as it was when the hot spring was first opened still exists today.


Located halfway up Mt. Azuma, it is an ideal place for trekking, driving along the Bandai-Azuma Skyline, and sightseeing in Fukushima City.
Each inn has its own unique outdoor baths and indoor baths that retain the atmosphere of a therapeutic hot spring, allowing you to enjoy the luxury of hot spring water itself.
Day3

Abukuma Cave

Mysterious natural chambers deep underground

Abukuma Cave
The largest hall, Takine Goten (Takine Hall), is absolutely breathtaking. The "Tsuki no Sekai," (The Moon World), the first of its kind in Japan to use a stage light control system in a limestone cave, recreates the sunrise and sunset, creating a fantastic mood. Stalactites "Kinoko Iwa" (Mushroom Rock), "Silver Frost" (Juhyo) and "Christmas Tree," are also worth a closer look.
In the Discovery Course, you can enjoy an adventure that involves an experience of crouching down or crossing a log bridge to maneuver through the natural formations.
This beautifully illuminated cave is also a great date spot and has been selected as a sacred place for lovers; ring the "vow bell" on the way to the cave for a memorable moment.
The temperature in the cave is around 15 degrees Celsius throughout the year, so be sure to dress appropriately. A jacket is recommended in the summer. The surface is slippery so wear appropriate footwear.  
At Rest House Kamayama, you can enjoy a meal and buy original products including Abukuma Lotion and Wine Salt.

Tsuburaya Eiji Museum

Tsuburaya Eiji Museum
The Tsuburaya Eiji Museum honors the achievements of Eiji Tsuburaya, a movie director from Sukagawa known as the "Master of Special Effects." The museum conveys to children the importance of learning, the beauty of taking on challenges, and aims to inspire the next generation of creators. In addition to introducing Eiji's 68-year career and personality through panels and video interviews, the museum displays videos and sculptures showing how to create special effects, as well as displays of relevant books that can be used for inspiration. The facility explores the achievements of Eiji Tsuburaya and showcases the appeal of special effects. 
■Eiji Tsuburaya's Chronicle Box Dividing his life into seven stages in chronological order, follow his life by taking a closer look at turning points in his life. 
■Imagination AtelierEiji Tsuburaya conveys to children the importance of learning through exhibits and books from fields such as biology and mechanics. 
■Studio FacilitiesThere is a miniature diorama of the Toho Studio Facilities (today's Toho Studios), where the director worked on many of his films. 
■The Eiji Tsuburaya Network WallFeatures a Special Effects Relay, an interview video that unravels Eiji's personality, and the Network Wall where you can search for related works and get a glimpse into his interpersonal relationships. In the hands-on Craft Kaijudai Koshin, visitors can create their own original monster.

Tsuchiyu and Menuma SUP・Kayak experience

Explore the shores of a secluded and serene pond in the mountains

Tsuchiyu and Menuma SUP・Kayak experience
Menuma is a pond with a circumference of about 1,200 meters that was created by the explosion and subsequent landslide of Mt. Azuma. This pond offers spectacular views of wild grasses and flower across the four seasons in shallow and calm surroundings. Take advantage of the Tohoku DC Special Event, where you can enjoy the 360-degree view from the center of the pond from a SUP, kayak, or on a boat tour.

Tsuchiyu Onsen

Boasts approximately 10 different spring qualities and abundant hot water

Tsuchiyu Onsen
Located upstream from the Arakawa River, a tributary of the Abukuma River, this hot spring resort has an abundance of hot water and multiple spring qualities.
Lined with inns along the river, visitors can fully enjoy the hot spring atmosphere.
The Tsuchiyu-toge Onsenkyo, located further in the valley, offers a secluded atmosphere.
You can choose the type of hot spring that best suits your preference, from simple, clear, colorless hot springs that are gentle on the skin, to bicarbonate springs that are effective in retaining heat and moisture, and sulfur springs that are cloudy, have a sulfur smell, and give the feeling of a secluded hot spring.
Footbaths are scattered throughout the hot spring resort, so why not stop by during your stroll through town?
【Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Dolls】 Tsuchiyu Onsen is said to be the birthplace of the three major kokeshi dolls along with Togatta and Naruko.
 The "snake's eye pattern" on the top of the head, whale eyes, tilted nose, and chobo-guchi mouth are the features of this traditional handicraft that makes you want to buy one.
 The painting experience is also popular.

【Yurakuza】 Yurakza is equipped with a tourist information center for Tsuchiyu Onsen, a café/restaurant, a store selling souvenirs and daily necessities, and rooms for overnight stays.
 You can also relax and soak in the hot spring at "Public Bathhouse Nakanoyu" across the street.
 Please stop by when you visit Tsuchiyu Onsen.

【Yumebutai】 Located at the front entrance of Tsuchiyu Onsen, this facility has a free parking lot with space for 63 cars.
 Kokeshi doll painting experience is also available, and the view of Tsuchiyu Onsen from here is spectacular.
GOAL
  • Fruit Picking
  • Mt. Hanami
  • Iizaka Onsen
  • Mount Bandai
  • Bandai-Azuma Skyline
  • Takayu Onsen
  • Abukuma Cave
  • Tsuburaya Eiji Museum
  • Tsuchiyu and Menuma SUP・Kayak experience
  • Tsuchiyu Onsen

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