【 October 09, 2015 】
■Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko(Kitakata-city)
Nagatoko is “Haiden (hall of worship)”, which was built a thousand years ago. The gingko tree is 800 years old with a trunk 8 meters around. It is worth the visit to see the tree lit up and the grounds turned autumn gold with fallen leaves.
Season: Mid-late Nov (40 min drive from Banetsu Expressway Aizuwakamatsu IC)
■Nanko Park (Shirakawa-city)
Japan’s oldest park constructed in 1801 by Sadanobu Matsudaira, a Roju (senior councilor of the Tokugawa shogunate) who conducted the famous reformation of shogunate administration. The autumn leaves reflecting on the lake is amazing.
Season: Late Oct – mid Nov (15 min drive from Tohoku Expressway Shirakawa IC)
■Gingko Street in Azuma Sports Park (Fukushima-city)
The 520 meters long street lined with 116 gingko trees is a popular spot for autumn color. The street is lit up at night to create a magical atmosphere.
Season: Late Oct – mid Nov (10 min drive from Tohoku Expressway Fukushima-Nishi IC)
【 September 08, 2015 】
In August, high school students from France and Fukushima High School, held a “Radiation Protection Workshop in Fukushima” all over the prefecture.
In Aizuwakamatsu City, they tried Japanese archery at the Nisshin-kan school(Aizu’s hanko) and visited Tsuruga-jo Castle. There, the high school students reported their sightseeing observations after the 3-11 earthquake disaster.
At a town office in Kunimi machi, they first listened to an explanation of food safety in the town and then visited a place where peaches are sorted by quality and finally they went to a peach farmer’s house. They had a good time eating peaches after listening to stories about how to sort, pick and crop peaches at each place.
According to the students, they were afraid that Fukushima prefecture was a dangerous area influenced by a nuclear accident before coming to Fukushima, but they came to understand, through workshops and their visits, that it is a safe place where people can live ordinary lives. The teachers accompanying their students also said, “As Fukushima prefecture is inspecting food carefully, we recognize that Fukushima has already been a safe area.”
【 September 01, 2015 】
A new website called “NIPPON QUEST” has launched. On this site Japanese people who love various regions, and foreigners who love Japan, discover and report on special products from all over Japan.
By providing up to date information and reviews on food, activities and goods in Fukushima prefecture, “NIPPON QUEST” hopes to be the go-to website for all people. Also, “NIPPON QUEST” allows foreigners to announce their favorite local specialties, vote on interesting things and tell their opinions. We would like foreign people to visit “NIPPON QUEST”.
【 February 23, 2015 】
Both on January 15th and 16th, eight representatives from six travel agencies and two media companies in Shanghai and Dairen visited Fukushima prefecture, as a part of the project for “promoting wide-range cooperation on tourism by inviting related parties from Shanghai and Dairen,” which was conducted by Tohoku District Transport Bureau, MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) in cooperation with Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate prefectures, and Tokyo metropolitan.
In the evening on January 15th, when they arrived at a hotel in Dake-onsen, Nihonmatsu-city in the snow, we welcomed them by showing a banner with a welcome message on it. They looked pleased and were taking photos.
On the next day, January 16th, they skied and played in the snow at Adatara Ski Resort, then they painted Tsuchiyu kokeshi, a traditional craft in Tsuchiyu-onsen. Everyone painted it in their own peculiar way and shared laughter because all the Kokeshis looked like their respective painters. After that, they experienced picking strawberries at Shiki no Sato Strawberry Farm in Fukushima-city, and had a lot of strawberries as if competing in numbers. For lunch they enjoyed traditional local foods including roasted rice balls grazed with yuzu (citron)-flavored miso and dengaku-yaki (grilled tofu and vegetables with miso) at a local cuisine restaurant nearby. Then they left for the next destination, Tokyo.
Gaining a firsthand glimpse into their encouraging way of working on the experiences during the observation tour, we are able to expect that they will make plans of round trip tours from Tokyo to Tohoku region and transmit information likewise.
【 February 05, 2015 】
Both on January 11th and 12th, the representatives from six travel agencies and two media companies in Thailand visited Aizu region, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Fukushima prefecture, as a part of the project for introducing a recommended course for FIT (Foreign Independent Travel) to round Chiba and Tohoku district, which was conducted by Tohoku District Transport Bureau, MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) in cooperation with Fukushima, Chiba, Yamagata prefectures, and Sendai-city.
On January 11th, they enjoyed “Kitakata Ramen,” one of the top three ramens in Japan, and explored the town of Kitakata, then they went to Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan (Samurai school) in Aizu-Wakamatsu city and experienced zazen (Zen sitting meditation).
On January 12th, they visited the symbol of Aizu “Tsuruga-jo castle,” then enjoyed painting “Akabeko (Red cow),” the traditional craft in Aizu region. After savoring local food “Negi-soba (soba with green onion)” in Ouchijuku, they enjoyed walking in the snow-covered village, being excited at piled snow on the thatched roofs as well as the icicles hung from the roofs. The delegation moved to Inawashiro-town and enjoyed viewing hundreds of swans on the Lake Inawashiro, then visited Sekai-no-garasu-kan (the World's Glass Hall).
The participants said as follows; ”Because of the history, culture, foods, and the snowy landscapes, the destinations we visited in this tour would have to be very popular with people from Thailand, where snow never falls.” With the relaxation of visa requirements for Thai citizens, tourists from Thailand to Fukushima prefecture have increased. Furthermore, we hope this visit will help many more visitors from Thailand come to Fukushima prefecture from now on.