Hi everyone! I hope you have all had a good Christmas break. This is my first day back at work!
During the holidays, I spoke to members of the international community here who either currently live in Fukushima or who have lived here, and asked them what they love most about the prefecture. They provided me with photos and comments, which I compiled into this blog post. I hope you find it useful & inspiring!
1) Tsuruga-jo Castle & Aizu-Wakamatsu City
“(I) love the castle park there, it’s just so serene and beautiful, and I love walking round the buildings (even though I’ve done it a million times). I enjoy taking a sketchbook to draw on the benches under the trees, or a book to read.”
– Words & photos by Devon, currently living in Aizu-Wakamatsu City
“The thing I love about winter in Fukushima is the ability to see familiar places in an entirely new way. Exploring well-known sites under a blanket of snow gives them a different energy and provides me with a fresh perspective.
The serene beauty of snow, as well as the quiet it provides, is very relaxing to me. Famous sites, which can be busy with visitors during other times of the year, feel like my personal playground in winter. The beauty of Fukushima in the winter is unmatched!”
– Words & photos by Katie, former resident in Fukushima City
“There is something magical and fantastic about being drawn in by a bright red torii gate in a swirling white landscape of snow”
– Words & photo by Toby, currently living in Fukushima City
2) Skiing & Winter Sports
“Winter sports in Fukushima are legit. The resorts have hot springs, the slopes are rarely overcrowded like in Europe, and last year there was a deal on where foreigners could get a free lift pass! They were taken at Minowa Ski Resort!”
– Words & photos by Eilidh, currently living in Nihonmatsu City
(By the way, that deal is on this year too! See more here).
“Winter in Fukushima brought about many new and memorable experiences. One of which was my trip to Minowa Ski resort where I had my first ever skiing experience.
Located in Inawashiro town, Minowa is a popular beginner friendly resort with smaller slopes for novices like me.
That did not save me from skiing uncontrollably and forcing myself to hit the ground as that was the only logical way to stop myself from crashing into a crowd of skiers and snowboarders.
If you’re ever in Fukushima during the winter period, the choices of ski resorts are bountiful! To top it off, you can go for a nice warm bath in an onsen after a day out in the snow”
– Words & photos by Aishat, current resident in Fukushima City
3) Ice Skating
“Koriyama City is home to one of the few full-size 400 meter ice skating rinks in all of Japan. It is located in the hot spring town of Bandai-Atami in walking distance from some great hot springs and other sports facilities, such as the indoor skating rink and Yurakkusu Atami.
Skating outside with a view of the mountains not only provided me with a great winter activity, but also helped me connect further with the local community through the local skating club. I look forward to the winter season every year, more than I ever did before.”
– Words & photos by Joost, currently living in Koriyama City
” I am Australian &I grew up on the east coast. I’d never seen snow, hadn’t even been in weather below 0. So to experience the beauty of fresh snow falling was something I never imagined I would see in person.”
– Words & photos by Brad, currently living in Ishikawa Town
“Botan-en covered in fresh snow; I really love that park and miss living next door to it.”
– Words & photos by Mimi, current resident of Sukagawa City
5) Local Winter Festivals
“The night one is Ouchi-juku Snow Festival, of course.”
“This shrine is one you covered in an old blog post a few years ago, forgot the shrine name, but it is located way east of Nihonmatsu station, still in Nihonmatsu city. I went back to that shrine in many seasons; it reminds me of Nikko, but no tourists.”
– Words & photos by John, former resident in Nihonmatsu City
6) Winter Food
“There is nothing like crowding around a warm open hearth in the middle of winter to enjoy delicious food with friends.”
– Words & photos by Toby, current resident in Fukushima City
7) Lake Inawashiro
“These photos were taken at tranquil Lake Inawashiro in January 2017.
The dark, leafless trees on the shore and the misty mountains in the background belie the chaos behind my back where flocks of migratory ducks and birds were being fed by families and chased by children. I always love it at the lake though, the vast expanse of water and its mirror-like surface calm the soul”
“Here’s evidence of the chaos, as revealed by the various footsteps in the sand!”
– Words & photos by Cormac, current resident in Fukushima City
Thank you so much to everyone who sent me their photos and recommendations, and thank you for allowing me to display your amazing photos on my blog!
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