Picturesque Scenic Drive Routes

Recommended picturesque scenic drives through the Aizu Region

All About Fukushima

Fukushima, located in the south of the Tohoku region, is the 3rd largest prefecture in Japan following Hokkaido and Iwate. It is divided into 3 large regions, and its prefectural office is located in Fukushima City.
The western Aizu Region is located inland of the Sea of Japan, between the Echigo and Ooh moutain ranges. It is home to nature abound and numerous historical sites, such as ruins from the rule of the Aizu Banshi.
Inland from the Pacific Ocean and wedged between the Ooh mountain range and Abukuma Highlands, Nakadori is the central region of Fukushima, home to beautiful fields of flowers and an array of juicy fruits.
With the Abukuma Highlands on the west, and Pacific Ocean on the East, Hamadori is the eastern region of Fukushima and boasts majestic views of the ocean.
People often escape to Inawashiro Ski Resort's home Aizu Region, blessed with abundant nature, to beat the summer heat in the Aizu Highlands and Urabandai with moutain climbing and visits to Lake Inawashiro, and in winter to experience the many ski resorts known for their tremendous snowfall.

Recommended Picturesque Scenic Drive Routes in Aizu and Inawashiro

■Lake Inawashiro Circuit (~54km)
This relaxing scenic route full of nature takes you around Japan's 4th largest lake, Lake Inawashiro, and Mt. Bandai, located almost exactly in the center of Fukushima prefecture.
Known for being a winter destination for migrating swans, tourists visit the area year-round. Lake Inawshiro is also sometimes referred to as "Tenkyo-ko", or "Heaven's Mirror", due to the way Mt. Bandai reflects on its surface.
■Tohoku Safari Park, Mt. Adatara Circuit (~103km)
Yasei-no-Ohkoku Tohoku Safari Park is home to over 900 animals from all over the world. In the free range area, you can observe the animals from buses, a rental car, or even your own personal vehicle.
Mt. Adatara has an altitude of 1,700m and is listed as one of Japan's 100 Famous Mountains. It is located on the borders of Nihonmatsu, Ohtama-mura, Koriyama, and Inawashiro-machi. It is known across Tohoku for its picturesque fall foliage.
■West Azuma Sky Valley, Bandai Azuma Skyline Route (~167km)
The West Azuma Sky Valley is a road that runs between Lake Hibara's northern bank and the famous Shirabu Onsen in Yonezawa, Yamagata. As you wind up and down the many hairpin turns, you can enjoy views of both Mt. Bandai and Lake Hibara as they broaden below you.
The Bandai Azuma Skyline Route is listed as one of Japan's 100 Famous Roads. Tengu-no-Niwa, Tsubakuro Valley, and other viewpoints offer picturesque views of the red, orange, and yellow leaves that carpet the moutnainsides.
■Mt. Bandai Goldline, Bandai Azuma Lakeline Course (~75km)
On this course, you can enjoy impressive and expansive views of Lake Inawashiro and Mt. Bandai.
You can gaze upon Lake Akimoto and Lake Onogawa, and even look out on Nakatsu Gorge all the way until it connects with Lake Hibara. It has gained popularity as a scenic drive thanks to its many lakes and view of Mt. Bandai.
■Urabandai, Lake Hibara Circuit (~88km)
The Urabandai Highlands are a highland resort area distinguished nationwide for natural views, and is located in northern Fukushima's Kitashiobara-mura at an altitude of 800m.
In addition to Lake Hibara and Goshikinuma, two exemplary scenic spots in the region, there are many mystical lakes, ponds, and streams that contribute to its natural charm.
Recommended Picturesque Drives in Aizu: Fall Edition

Recommended Tourism Spots in Fukushima and Aizu

■Lake Inawashiro
Lake Inawshiro is the 4th largest lake in Japan, and borders Koriyama, Aizu-Wakamatsu, and Inawashiro-machi. It is popular among many tourists who visit to swim, participate in watersports, go fishing, and enjoy other activities.
Selected as one of Japan's 100 Famous Views, it has become a symbol of Fukushima Prefecture.There are few lakes in which you can swim around Japan, so Inawashiro's many beaches which allow swimming make it a rare and special place.
Location
〒969-3101 Fukushima-ken, Yama-gun, Inawashiro-machi
Access
Located just off the Banestu Expressway, Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen Interchange Exit.
Photo of the famous Lake Inawashiro in Aizu, Fukushima
■Tatsusawa Fudotaki
A Fudo-Son is enshrined at the base of this famous waterfall, which is fed by the Fudo River originating from Mt. Funamyojin in the Adatara Mountains. Surrounded by dense foliage, it is especially beautiful during the seasons of fresh green and fall foliage and attracts many tourists.
Location
〒969-3101 Fukushima-ken, Yama-gun, Inawashiro-machi, Tatsusawa
Access
Located 30 minutes from the Banetsu Expressway's Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen Interchange exit.
Photo of recommended tourist destination, Tatsusawa Fudotaki
■Lake Hibara
Lake Hibara, the largest lake in the Bandai Plateau, runs roughly 10km long through the Lake Hibara River Valley. Its shoreline of 37km makes it the largest lake formed by volcanic activity in Japan.
​Dotted with beautiful islands of various sizes, visitors can enjoy magnificent views all 4 seasons of the year with cherry blossoms, fresh greenery, fall foliage, and snow just by driving along the lakeside road.
Location
〒966-0401 Fukushima-ken, Kitashiobara-mura, Oaza-Hibara Aza-Orensawayama
Access
Located 20min from the Banetsu Expressway's Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen Interchange exit.
Photo of recommended tourist destination, Lake Hibara
■Onogawa Fudotaki
This giant waterfall stands at 25m tall, and is located upstream of Lake Onogawa.A Fudo Myo-o is enshrined at the waterfall's location.
Experience the refreshing feeling of a powerful spray of water in summer, or see the blue falls frozen solid in winter."Onogawa Spring Water" is listed as on of Japan's 100 Famous Water Sources.
Location
〒969-2701 Fukushima-ken, Kitashiobara-mura, Hibara
Access
Located 25min from the Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen exit on the Banetsu Expressway.
Photo of recommended tourist destination, Onogawa Fudotaki
■Nakatsugawa Gorge
Famous for its fall foliage, Nakatsugawa Gorge is the origin of the Nakatsu River, which flows into Lake Akimoto. We recommend parking your car at the Nakatsugawa Gorge Rest House on the Bandai Azuma Lakeline and enjoying a walk to the view from Nakatsugawa Bridge.
Location
〒969-2701 Fukushima-ken, Kitashiobara-mura, Oaza-Hibara
Access
Exit the Banetsu Expressway at Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen, and take R115 & R459 towards Bandai-Kogen for about 45 minutes.
Photo of recommended tourist destination, Nakatsugawa Gorge
■Three Lake Paradise
The Ryufu Ridge on the Bandai Azuma Lakeline is also called Three Lake Paradise thanks to its view of Lake Hibara, Lake Onogawa, and Lake Akimoto.
There is even a walking path from the Bandai Azuma Lakeline to the highest point on the ridge.
Location
〒969-2701 Fukushima-ken, Kitashiobara-mura, Hibara
Access
From the Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen exit on the Banetsu Expressway, take R115 and the Bandai Azuma Lakeline toward Urabandai for about 50 minutes.
Photo of recommended tourist destination, Three Lake Paradise
■Fudosawa Bridge (Tsubakuro Valley)
Fudosawa Bridge is 170m long and 84m high, and is famous for its picturesque views of fall foliage from atop the bridge. You can even see Fukushima City in the distance, and it hosts a parking lot and public restroom as well. Tsubakuro Valley got its name from the Asian House Martins (Iwa-Tsubame in Japanese) that used to fly all around the area.
Location
〒960-2261 Fukushima-ken, Fukushima-shi, Machiniwasaka
Access
From the Tohoku Expressway Fukushima-Nishi exit, take R115 toward Takayu Onsen for about 40min, and then Bandai Azuma Skyline for about 30min.
Photo of recommended toursit destination, Fudosawa Bridge
■Bandai Kogen Picturesque Inawashiro Ski Resort RV Park
This dedicated RV Park boasts picturesque and majetic views of the surrounding Mt. Bandai and Lake Inawashiro.
Depending on weather conditions, you can witness the sublime and picturesque view of Inawashiro enveloped by clouds.
It is located in a convenient location within 10 minutes of supermarkets, convenience stores, home centers, laundromats, and more.
Details regarding the RV Park can be found here.
Location
〒969-3102 Fukushima-ken, Inawashiro-machi, Hayama 7105
Access
Located 10min from the Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen exit on the Banetsu expressway.
Photo of recommended place to visit, Inawashiro Ski Resort RV Park
■Nakanosawa Onsen
At 13,400L/min, Nakanosawa Onsen boasts Japan's largest amount of spring water (based purely on flow from the spring).
Its location between the western base of Mt. Adatara and Mt. Bandai makes it the perfect place to escape the hustle of the city and relax.
Benefits those with: gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic skin disease, physical disabilities, chronic digestive issues, physical rehabilitation, gynelogical disorders, joint pain, athlete's foot, hemorrhoids, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Location
〒969-2752 Fukushima-ken, Inawashiro-machi, Kogai
Access
Located 10 minutes from the Bandai Atami exit on the Banetsu Expressway
Photo of recommended place to visit, Nakanosawa Onsen
■Michi-no-Eki Inawashiro
Gaze upon Mt. Bandai to the north and Lake Inawashiro to the south from this incredible location while enjoying charm and cuisine only available here in Inawashiro.
Ranked Most Popular Michi-no-Eki in Tohoku by travel magazine Jaran.
Location
〒969-3132 Fukushima-ken, Inawashiro-machi, Oaza-Katada, Aza-Gohyakugari 1
Access
Located just off the Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen exit on the Banetsu Expressway
Business Hours
9:00AM - 4:00PM
Photo of recommended place to visit, Michi-no-Eki Inawashiro

Recommended Scenic Roads in Fukushima & Aizu

■Bonari Greenline
This 13km road connects Inawashiro's Nakanosawa and Koriyama's Bandai Atami Onsen.
There are many tourist destinations along the path such as Ishimushiro Fureai Ranch, remnants of a battleground from the Boshin Civil War, Choshi ga Taki, and more.
Location
〒969-2752 Fukushima-ken, Inawashiro-machi, Kaigo
Access
Located 10 minutes from the Bandai Atami exit on the Banetsu Expressway
■Bandai Azuma Lakeline
This 13km road runs between Bandai Azuma Skyline and Bandai Kogen.
The views of Lake Akimoto, Lake Onogawa, and Lake Hibara enveloped in forests of Japanese Larch trees can only be experienced here on the Lakeline.
Location
〒969-2701 Fukushima-ken, Kitashiobara-mura, Oaza-Hibara, Aza-Hebidairaharayama
Access
Take Inawashiro Banda-Kogen exit on the Banetsu expressway to R115, then take R459 (Bandai-Kogen bound) for about 30min to Kengamine Tollbooth.
Attention
※Closed to thru-traffic overnight: late Oct. - mid Nov. & mid Apr. - early May
※Closed to thru-traffic: Mid Nov. - Mid Apr.
■Bandai Azumu Skyline
This 29km road runs between Takayu Onsen (Fukushima-ken) and Tsuchiyu Onsen Toge.
This panoramic course threads through the Azuma mountain range, boasting views of valleys, ravines, uniquely-shaped boulders, and many other scenic viewpoints.
Location
〒960-2157 Fukushima-ken, Fukushima-shi, Takayu Onsen to Fukushima-shi, Tsuchiyu Toge
Access
Take the Fukushima-Nishi exit on the Tohoku expressway to R115, then follow Kendo 5 toward Takayu Onsen for about 40 minutes
Attention
※Closed to thru-traffic overnight: early Nov. to mid Nov. & mid Apr. to early May
※Closed to thru-traffic: mid Nov. - early Apr.
■Mt. Bandai Goldline
This 17.6km road runs between Bandai-machi and Kitashiobara-mura.
Be charmed by views of the eruption side of Mt. Bandai, Lake Inawashiro, wetlands, and other natural views that will take your breath away.
Location
〒969-3302 Fukushima-ken, Bandai-machi, Oaza-Sarashina, Aza-Umaaraiba
Access
Take the Bandai Kawahigashi exit on the Banetsu Expressway, then take Kendo 64 for about 10 minutes
Attention
※Closed to thru-traffic: early Nov. - early Apr.
※Even while operating, it may close overnight (5:00PM - 7:00AM) in some cases due to freezing conditions.

Access to Fukushima and Aizu from the Tokyo Area

■From Tokyo:
Kawaguchi JCT → Tohoku Expressway (~2h50m) → Koriyama JCT → Bandai Expressway (~20m) → Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen I.C
■From Mito:
Mito I.C → Joetsu Expressway (~1h5m) → Iwaki JCT → Bandai Expressway (~1h15m) → Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen I.C
■From Niigata:
Niigata Chuo JCT → Banetsu Expressway (~1h30m) → Inawashiro Bandai-Kogen I.C

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