Sights and Activities in Inawashiro Town, Fukushima Prefecture
Complete Guide to Sightseeing Spots and Activities in the Popular Tourist Destination Inawashiro
Inawashiro Town in Fukushima Prefecture is located almost in the center of Fukushima Prefecture, and is a tourist destination with many natural attractions, including the magnificent Mt. Bandai and Lake Inawashiro, the fourth largest lake in Japan. This area has many spots where you can enjoy sports and leisure all year round, such as mountain climbing, skiing/snowboarding, lake bathing, water sports, fishing, and camping.
Origin of Inawashiro
The origin of Inawashiro is that when the villagers were struggling to clear the land, a wild Japanese boar trampled the land and created Nawashiro paddy fields by the miracle of gods, and the villagers sowed rice seeds in the Nawashiro to start rice cultivation. There is a theory that it became the name of the place.
*Japanese boar is pronounced “i” in Japanese.
*Nawashiro means bed for rice seedlings in Japanese.
Bathing in Lake Inawashiro
Lake Inawashiro is the fourth largest lake in Japan, straddling Aizuwakamatsu City, Koriyama City, and Inawashiro Town in Fukushima Prefecture. In the Aizu Basin, where there is no sea, you can enjoy swimming in Lake Inawashiro. Lakes that you can swim in are very rare even in Japan, and because of the beauty of the clear water, it is also known as “Lake Tenkyo” (Lake like a mirror that reflects the sky). Most of the lake has bathing areas, but the most popular are Jokohama Beach, Shidahama Beach, Tenjinhama Beach, Kanizawahama Beach, and Nagahama Beach in Inawashiro Town (Kohoku area). (47% of the surface of Lake Inawashiro belongs to Inawashiro Town).
Water sports at Lake Inawashiro
You can also enjoy water sports such as kayaking, SUP, wakeboarding and personal watercraft.
Swan’s landing site
Every year, 2000 to 3000 swans from Siberia fly to Lake Inawashiro. They fly all over Lake Inawashiro, but we recommend Shidahama Beach, Shiratorihama Beach, and Nagahama Beach on the northern shore of Lake Inawashiro. They rest from late October to early April, feeding on aquatic plants on the lakeshore and fallen ears from the surrounding rice fields. Food is sold for tourists, so you can enjoy feeding them.
At Shidahama Beach, there is a Swan Lake statue by sculptor Eiji Oyamatsu. A bronze statue was donated by Showa Women’s University and the alumni association.
During the harsh winter months of January and February, strong westerly winds blow against the shores of Lake Inawashiro, causing a phenomenon called “Shiburi Kouri (splashing ice),” in which the waves hit the surrounding trees and freeze. There are several spots where you can observe it, but the most famous viewing spot is near “Tenjinhama beach”.
Tatsusawa Fudo Falls
In Inawashiro, there is Tatsusawa Fudo Falls, which has a height of about 10m and a width of about 16m, where water flows down along the rock surface like a bamboo screen. A rainbow can be seen in front of the waterfall with splashes.
In 1907, Prince Arisugawa-no-miya Takehito, who toured the shores of Lake Inawashiro, was impressed by the scenic scenery and built Tenkyokaku Residence as a villa. It is designated as an important cultural property of Japan, and you can try on Meiji era-style dresses and tour the villa.
Legend of Okinajima Island
Okinajima Island is the only small island in Lake Inawashiro and is connected to the land during the dry season. According to a folktale passed down in Okinajima Island, one day when a monk visited the foot of Mt. Bandai, no house gave him water because of his poor appearance. However, when he came to the house of a beautiful girl named “Okina”, she was kind enough to give the monk some water.
A few days later, Mt. Bandai erupted and the village disappeared, becoming Lake Inawashiro, only the girl’s house did not sink and became an island. That is the current Okinajima Island.
Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Hall
Hideyo Noguchi, who is familiar with the 1,000-yen bill, was born in Okinashima Village (now Inawashiro Town) in Fukushima Prefecture. At the “Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Hall” on the shores of Lake Inawashiro, the house where Hideyo Noguchi was born is displayed, as well as his belongings and materials.
Inawashiro Kingfisher Aquarium
The Inawashiro Kingfisher Aquarium is an aquarium that displays freshwater creatures that inhabit the lakes and marshes of Fukushima Prefecture. You can also see the kingfishers and river otters that give the aquarium its name.
Hanitsu Shrine is a shrine that enshrines Masayuki Hoshina, the half-brother of Iemitsu Tokugawa, the third shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the founder of the Matsudaira clan, the lord of the Aizu domain. Masayuki Hoshina himself visited Inawashiro and told his vassals to enshrine him in this place after his death, and it was built in 1675 as per his will. In autumn, one side of the precincts is covered with autumn leaves, and it looks like a red carpet is spread, and many photographers visit.
Skiing in Inawashiro
There are 6 ski resorts in Inawashiro town, and there are plenty of courses that can be enjoyed by beginners to advanced skiers. You can enjoy high-quality powder snow comparable to Hokkaido. The location overlooking Mt. Bandai and Lake Inawashiro is also attractive.
Climbing Mt. Bandai
There are 6 routes from beginners to advanced climbers on Mt. Bandai. Inawashiro Town has three trails: the Inawashiro trailhead, the Shibutani trailhead, and the Okinajima trailhead, all of which take about five to six hours round trip. The Inawashiro route starts from climbing the slopes of the ski resort. Lake Inawashiro spreads out below. The Shibutani route is an ideal route for forest bathing as it walks through a forest zone, but the trail is difficult to understand and is recommended for advanced hikers. The Okinajima route is a route where you can always look back at Lake Inawashiro. It is for people who are confident in their physical strength as they climb steep slopes with large stones rolling around in one go. (Bandai Town has Happodai Route, Kitashiobara Village has Urabandai Route and Kawakami Route)
From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Lake Inawashiro, Lake Hibara, Lake Onogawa, and Lake Akimoto in Urabandai.
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