Fukushima (prefecture)

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Fukushima prefecture (福島県 Fukushima-ken) is in the northeastern Tohoku region of the main Japanese island Honshu.


Fukushima is the third largest prefecture in Japan (13,782.54 km²), and one of its least densely populated. The prefecture is divided into three main regions: Aizu in the west, Naka dori in the centre and Hama dori in the east. Aizu is mountainous with snowy winters, while the climate in Hama dori is moderated by the Pacific Ocean.

On 11th March 2011 the region was hit by an earthquake with an 9.0 magnitude followed by a tsunami and many aftershocks. As a result of tsunami damage severe accidents at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant including meltdown of three reactors occurred. Due to radioactive fallout evacuation zone within a 20 km radius of the power plant along with some outlying areas in the north-west direction has been created and access to the zone is heavily restricted. While there has been much debate over the effects of low level radiation exposure to the locals, that danger is from prolonged exposure, so travellers passing through or visiting the region should not be unduly worried if they remain outside of the evacuation zone.


  • Fukushima — The prefectural capital
  • Iwaki — City located in southern part of the Hamadōri coastal region
  • Aizu-Wakamatsu — a castle city located near the middle of the prefecture
  • Koriyama — the largest city in the prefecture
  • Shirakawa — the southernmost city in Fukushima
  • Sukagawa — famous for its Taimatsu Akashi (fire festival) and peony garden
  • Kitakata — a city close to Aizu-Wakamatsu which is famous for ramen and old warehouses
  • Tamura — known for Abukuma Caves.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Mount Bandai — Home to the Bandai-Asahi National Park and numerous snow and hot springs resorts
  • Lake Inawashiro — Japan's fourth largest lake
  • Oze National Park — the largest highland marshland on Japan's main island of Honshu.


Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Fukushima is served by Fukushima Airport, located near Sukagawa to the south of Koriyama. The airport is served by JAL and ANA, with domestic services to Osaka, Sapporo and Naha. There are also international services to Shanghai and Seoul.

By train[edit]

High speed rail access is provided by the Tohoku Shinkansen, which serves Shirakawa, Koriyama and Fukushima stations. The Tohoku Shinkansen links Fukushima with Tokyo in the south and the rest of Tohoku to the north. The Yamagata Shinkansen runs from Fukushima to various cities in Yamagata prefecture. Local train services include the Tohoku Main Line, which generally follows the route of the Tohoku Shinkansen; and the West Ban'etsu Line, linking Koriyama with Niigata via the ski resorts of Inawashiro and Aizuwakamatsu.

By bus[edit]

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

When traveling by a car as a tourist (as of 4/2014), it is not possible to drive through the exclusion zone, although authorized traffic is existing. The borders of the zone however are not clearly marked and changing with time, as some previously restricted areas are being decontaminated or considered safe for entry again. Even road signs still reflect the pre-tsunami traffic arrangements, with no alternate roads around the exclusion zones suggested. Manned road blocks are present at the exclusion zone border on major roads, whereas minor roads are simply barricaded with explanation signs in Japanese.

When traveling along the coast on route 6 from Soma to Iwaki, it is possible to avoid the zone by taking road 115 in Soma toward west and then continue to the south using either 349 or 399.




In Fukushima, everyone knows Mama doll. Mama doll is a sweet which has white anko (milk flavor and chocolate flavor) inside it like an omanjuu. This name means “People who drink mothers’ milk” in Spanish (the Spanish original is "mamador"). Mama doll is sometimes shown on the TV. Many people who visit Fukushima buy it as a souvenir.

Another local specialty is anpo, dried persimmons, produced from kaki fruits farmed in Date and several other places in Fukushima prefecture. The consumers do not have to worry about radiation levels in local products, because they all pass routine radiation checks on release to the market.


Go next[edit]

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