Japan Insights from Miki Travel

Visiting Fukushima on a bicycle provides a different approach to discovering the region. It is a slower journey which takes you deeper into the region at a slower pace.


You can follow in the footsteps of the samurai and experience the history and traditions rooted in Fukushima while being immersed in the nature and climate of the region.


A bicycle trip is an unforgettable way to experience the seasons and take in beautiful natural landscapes.


The scenery is particularly spectacular during the cherry blossom season in spring. Fukushima is located in northern Honshu, at a higher latitude than the main touristic draws of Japan. Here, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom later than the traditional late March peak season in central Honshu. Coming to Fukushima will allow you to experience the beautiful pink wave without the congestion and overcrowding of Tokyo and Kyoto, and -not less importantly- without having to suffer the inflated late March rates of the more touristy areas. Of course, the most popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots will be busy in Fukushima too, but in a much more bearable way, and without having to worry about finding a parking space or a spot on the lawn.


Iwaki – Koriyama Cycling path. Enjoy cherry blossoms overlooking the Pacific Ocean: Natsui Senbonzakura, Ogawa Suwa Shrine and Miharu Takizakura.


Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Iwaki is the second most populous city in Fukushima Prefecture. The Nanahama Kaido (“coastal path of the seven beaches”), is a cycling route starting at Kunohama, near Bentenjima Shrine, and continuing for 53 km to Nakosuronoseki, near the border with Ibaraki Prefecture.


At the halfway point, visitors can enjoy a visit to a local market where they can eat fresh seafood and have a drink, and also visit a very popular aquarium nearby.


Koriyama City, the largest city in Fukushima in terms of population, is located right in the middle of the region and its Shinkansen (bullet train) station is the most important transport hub in the prefecture. You can ride your bicycle from Iwaki to Koriyama through a mountainous area of about 90 km and with an altitude difference of about 500m. Along this route, you will encounter three famous cherry blossom viewing spots (please refer to the links below for more details). The most popular is the Miharu Weeping Cherry Tree: it is one of the three most famous cherry trees in Japan for its gorgeous blossom display. It is over 1,000 years old and is definitely worth a stop during springtime.


Around Fukushima Hanamiyama Park – Jododaira Hill Climb and Onsen


Fukushima City is the capital of the homonymous prefecture and the third most populous. Not far from Fukushima station, you can find some beautiful spots that are well worth a stopover. Hanamiyama is located in a typical Japanese satoyama (rural hamlet) landscape, where duringspringtime it is possible to admire a wide array of wildflowers in bloom at the same time.


Fukushima is particularly famous for its fruit production, and there are many orchards in the area around Fukushima City. Peaches are renowned nationwide, and many peach trees can be spotted along the road from Hanamiyama to Jododaira, one of the most famous hill climbs in Japan. The peach trees in bloom show a different shade of pink than the cherry blossoms. From summer to autumn, visitors can also enjoy the ripe fruits. Before and after the hill climb, cyclists can relax and unwind in historic hot spring resorts, like Iizaka, Takayu and Tsuchiyu, found along the route.


Kitakata – Aizu: history, tradition and food


Located on the western side of Fukushima, Aizu-Wakamatsu and Kitakata are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Fukushima that have preserved their history and traditions into the present day. Kitakata is famous for its ramen noodles, but also for producing refined sake from pure water and delicious rice; Aizu is a city with a long and illustrious samurai history, as we have described in previous newsletters.


The 50 km-long cycling path connecting these two cities is also a great way to experience the beautiful nature and traditional Japanese landscape. It runs from Atsushio Onsen in the north to Ashinomaki Onsen in the south; it is fun to cycle along this route which connects popular hot spring towns. The old Nichu Line in Kitakata is a 3 km stretch of weeping cherry trees on the site of a former railway line, with around 1000 weeping cherry trees in full bloom. In Aizu-Wakamatsu, take photos of the Tsurugajo castle and the cherry blossom scenery!



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