Important News: Access to the Bandai-Azuma Skyline Sightseeing Road has been restricted following the Volcanic Warning Level for Azumaya being raised from Level 1 (“Potential for Increased Activity”) to Level 2 (“Do Not Approach the Crater”). A restricted access zone has now been put into effect around within 1.5 k of the crater, meaning that visitors can’t access Jododaira Resthouse, Mt. Azuma-Kofuji or Mt Issaikyo while the Level 2 Volcanic Warning is still in place. Takayu Onsen, Tsuchiyu Onsen and Iizkaa Onsen and outside of this 1.5 km and are therefore not affected. See here for a map of the area. Stay tuned for further updates.
Bandai-Azuma Skyline, the stunning sightseeing road that runs through the Azuma mountain range, is closed for almost 5 months of every year, from mid-November to early-April.
The road reopened last Saturday, on April 8th 2017, so I took a drive through the area to take in my first views from Skyline of the year.
It was kind of amazing to compare central Fukushima City – where spring flowers are beginning to blossom – with the snowy scenes of Bandai-Azuma Skyline, despite the fact that the two are only around a 40 minute drive from each other.
Popular as a sightseeing spot among drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists with strong thighs alike, the winding mountain road Bandai-Azuma Skyline offers spectacular views regardless of the season.
Visitors can take a short hike to the top of Mt Azumakofuji (“little Mt Fujii”) to see a huge, striking crater, climb Mt Issaikyo, or take a walk around the various marshes reaching off of the central area, known as Jododaira.
There is also a ‘Rest House’, where visitors can have a cup of tea, order from a range of snacks (including a deliciously creamy brand of ice cream!), have a meal, buy souvenirs and take some groceries home for dinner.
Autumn is also popular for the spectacular autumn leaves on display from the road.
But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I love Skyline, and have visited during the summer and autumn, so I was very excited to see the surrounding mountains covered in snow for the first time, and I wasn’t disappointed.
There was such a huge amount of snow at the top, I was having flashbacks to the Ouchi-juku Snow Festival in February!
I arrived at the Jododaira peak from the direction of central Fukushima City, and we descended the mountain in the direction of Tsuchiyu Onsen, a nearby onsen town.
On the way to Tsuchiyu Onsen, I couldn’t help but notice that the snow that lined either side of the road was gradually stretching higher and higher until our car was completely surrounded on both sides by huge walls of snow.
Apparently these walls can reach up to 4m high, but this year they were a little shorter than that. Even so, it was fun to visit!
These photos were taken on Saturday, so if you are in the region, you might get to go visit the snow corridor yourself before it melts away!
More information on the snow corridor here.
If you’d like to know more about Jododaira, have a look here.
Here is the website for general information about Bandai-Azuma Skyline.
I hope you get some good photographs!
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