Visiting Kawamata and Iitate, and climbing Mt. Megami, October 27, 2019. (女神山に登り、川俣町、飯舘村に行く 2019年10月27日。)

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Today I participated in one-day group tour through Kawamata and Iitate area organized by Environment Restoration Plaza in Fukushima. The tour included climbing Mount Megami (599m) in the morning, having Kawamata Shamo lunch, which was a popular local specialty food, tea break at Chieko teahouse, and stopping at Yamada Cattle Farm. About 20 people participated in the tour from across eastern part of Japan and we had a good exercise climbing the local mountain. Photo above was a view at the top of Mt. Megami in Kawamata.
本日は、環境再生プラザ(環境省/福島県)主催の、川俣町と飯舘村を巡るツアーに参加しました。内容は、川俣地元の女神山(599m)登山、特産の川俣シャモランチ、飯舘のちえこのきまぐれ茶屋と山田牧場、と多彩でした。首都圏含み20人ほどが参加し、最初は登山で汗を流しました。写真は、女神山山頂です。

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The mountain trail started from Akiyama community center as shown above. This was located not far from the famous Akiyama Komazakura cherry tree.
登山道は、写真の秋山集会所からスタートです。有名な、秋山の駒ザクラに近いです。

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Although it was not a very high mountain, a first order triangulation point was placed at the summit, as shown above, due to its fine surrounding view.
女神山は低山ですが、周囲が見渡せるので一等三角点が置かれています。

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We enjoyed autumn leaves along the trail as shown above. I measured radiation exposure during the mountain trekking. Although mountain trails have not been decontaminated since Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, the resulting accumulated radiation was 3.26μSv, which was just normal and negligible compared to natural background radiation.
写真のように、一部紅葉も鮮やかでした。道中、放射線量を測りましたが、山は特別な除染をしていませんが、積算線量として3.26μSvと自然放射線の中で誤差の範囲でした。

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There were a couple of shrines at the top: Otehime Shrine and Hebi (or Snake) Shrine, as shown above in the back and in the forefront. Both were based on a legend which dates back to 6th century. A couple of elderly local volunteer guides led us climbing the mountain and they also told us importance of mountain, water, and woods. Many of us were impressed by the powerful talk.
山頂には、小手姫神社(写真後ろ)とヘビ神社(写真手前)の2つが置かれ、6世紀頃の伝説に因みます。地元の年配の山のガイドさんの導きで登り、ガイドさんは山、水、森の大切さを良く話してくださり、その迫力に感動しました。

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We found a rare wild edible plant called Gonboppa as shown above. The leaves are used to make Shimimochi, a local specialty rice cake made from glutinous rice and leaves of wild plants.
また、「ごんぼっぱ」と呼ぶ写真の珍しい野草も沿道にありました。この葉っぱを餅米に入れて凍らし、特産の凍もち(しみもち)を作ります。

At lunch time, we stopped at a restaurant “Shinkawa” in the city center of Kawamata. We had a local specialty menu of Kawamata Shamo chicken and egg bowl which was juicy and excellent.
ランチは、川俣町中心部の割烹新川で、特産の川俣シャモの親子丼をいただきました。柔らかく極上でした。

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In the afternoon, we stopped at Chieko’s teahouse, as shown above, which opened on the 1st of this May, which was the first day of Reiwa Era. Gramma Chieko in her 70’s was born and lived in Iitate Village. She had hard times before and after the Great East Japan earthquake with her cancer treatment, evacuation, her husband’s death and difficulties starting up her new business. But she started producing local specialty shimimochi and finally reopened her antique style cafeteria for serving shimimochi dessert dish. She told us her story of hardship as well as success of reopening the teahouse, while we tasted the excellent shimimochi dessert with home-grown vegetables. Many of us were moved by her resilience.
午後は、飯舘村の写真の「ちえこのきまぐれ茶屋」に寄りました。今年5月1日(令和初日)に再オープンしました。70代のちえこさんは、飯舘生まれ飯舘育ちですが、震災前後から色々な困難(ガン治療、避難、死別、起業の苦労など)に出会いましたが、凍もち作りなどを始め茶屋の再オープンにもこぎつけました。写真のように、アンティーク風の茶屋では、ちえこさんの話を聞きながら凍もちと自家野菜を大変おいしくいただきました。ちえこさんのパワフルな生き方に皆さん感動しました。

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The final stop was Yamada Cattle Farm in Iitate Village, as shown above, which raises quality beef cattle. Due to the entire village evacuation caused by the nuclear plant accident in 2011, the farm was once forced to close, but it restarted this July with new cowsheds. Iitate beef was quality brand beef before the accident and we felt the family’s powerful momentum toward the revitalization of the region.
最後は、飯舘村の山田牧場です(写真)。高品質の黒毛和牛を飼育しています。2011年の原発事故に伴う全村避難で一時中断しましたが、今年7月に再開しました。事故前は、飯舘牛はブランド牛でしたが、地域の復興に向けてその勢いを感じさせるお話でした。

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Finally, we came to Kikori Hall, as shown above, which was Iitate Village community center as well as accommodation facility. We had 1.5hr discussion on how we felt meeting and hearing from three local residents, all of them were tough, powerful and resilient toward the future of their life and regional revitalization. On the other hand, it might be difficult to tell the actual reality to other people. Maybe the best way to understand the right situation in the region is to go and see firsthand the reality and communicate with local people.
最後は、村のコミュニティホール兼宿泊施設の写真の「きこり」に集まり、1時間半ほど本日のまとめをしました。本日は、女神山ガイドさん、ちえこさん、山田さんの3名から多くの話を聞き、将来の復興に向けての力強い思いとその粘り強い姿に感動しました。一方で、これを他人に伝えるには限界があり、やはり直接来て見て話してみる大切さを認識しました。

I visited Iitate and Kawamata in 2012, 1.5-year after the disaster, when Iitate was still restricted access area as shown in the 2012visit. This time I could see more and more people actually returned to the town and could feel much vitalization than before.
飯舘と川俣は、震災の翌年の2012年にも訪問しており(参照)、飯舘はまだ居住制限区域でした。今回は、住民帰還も進み復興の息遣いを実感できました。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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Lala mew and Halal restaurant in Iwaki, Dec. 14, 2017 (いわき市 らら・ミュウと ハラル食堂 2017年12月14日)

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Today I participated in a group study tour of Omotenashi Guide Fukushima, which was a voluntary group of interpreter guides for Fukushima, and visited Iwaki City. It was a clear day with spectacular blue sky in Iwaki today, while other regions of Fukushima (Aizu and central area) were still chilly with snow and clouds. Photo above shows a sunny ocean view of Aquamarine Aquarium and Marine Bridge at Onahama Port.
本日は、「おもてなし福島通訳ガイドの会」の定例の学習ツアーで、いわき市を訪ねました。会津や中通り地方は、雪や曇で寒かったですが,いわきまでくるとすごい晴天でした。写真は、小名浜港のアクアマリン水族館とマリンブリッジです。

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The ocean view was taken from Iwaki Lala mew as shown above, which was Iwaki City tourism and products center. On the 2nd floor of the center, a large exhibition of traces Iwaki had experienced toward recovery and reconstruction of the region was being displayed. Anybody can visit and see the exhibits to learn the facts of the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant accident and the recovery.
先ほどの写真は、上の、いわき・らら・ミュウ(いわき市観光物産館)、から撮ったものです。ここの2階では、震災後のいわき市の復興の足取りが常設展示されており、誰でもフリーに学ぶことができます。

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Then we visited a new Halal restaurant opened this year in Yumoto district of the city. It was located 5-minute walk from Yumoto Station of JR Joban Line. The restaurant was certified by Halal Certification Committee that all items in the menu were qualified as Halal. We had curry dishes for lunch, which was extremely healthy and excellent in taste with reasonable price (\700-800).
その後、湯本地区に今年できた、ハラル食堂に行きました。JR湯本駅から徒歩5分の便利な場所にあります。メニューの食事は全て、ハラル認証機関の認証を受けています。カレーのハラル定食を頂き、ヘルシー感溢れる大変おいしいものでした。値段も700から800円と安く、お勧めです。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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Deep countryside tour in Towa, Nihonmatsu, Nov. 16, 2017 (二本松東和地区の素敵な里山ツアー 2017年11月16日)

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Today, I attended a wonderful tour through deep countryside of Towa district, Nihonmatsu City. This study tour was promoted by Omotenashi Guide Fukushima, which was a group of interpreter guides for Fukushima Pref. Photo above was a 3-story shrine tower which suddenly appeared on a mount Kohata trail about 540m above sea level.
本日は、二本松市の山間の東和地区の里山巡りをしました。「おもてなし福島通訳ガイドの会」主催のスタディツアーで、メンバーとして参加しました。写真は、木幡山登山道の途中、標高540m付近で突然姿を現した、(隠津島神社の)三重塔です。

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A history was described on a board above which said that the tower was already there in 16th century. It suffered fire and natural disaster since then, and was repaired every time, and today it remains as one of the only three of this kind of towers in Fukushima.
写真のパネルに、その歴史が語られていますが、16世紀には既に建っていたようです。その後、火事や自然災害で壊れ、その都度修復され、今では福島県に残る3塔の1つになっています。

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There was a main building or “Honden” of Okitsushima Shrine as shown above just up the stairs from the tower.
塔から階段を登ると、隠津島神社の本殿が現れます。(写真)

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Also down the mountainside, there was a worship hall or “Haiden” of the shrine as shown above.
山を少し下ったところに、写真の拝殿(遥拝殿)があります。

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These buildings were built in late 18th century and the details were explained on a board above.
これらの建物(本殿、拝殿)は、18世紀末頃建てられたようです。(詳細写真参照)

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And near these structures, there was a gigantic Japanese cedar tree as shown above, which was designated as a national natural monument. The tree is 700 years old and the circumference is 16 meters.
これらの近くに、巨大な杉の木が立っています。国の天然記念物で、木幡の大杉と呼んでいます。樹齢700年で、幹回りは16mあります。

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There was a scenic viewpoint along the trail which overlooked northwestern plains with fall colors as shown above. With all of these historic sites and scenery and a lot of uphill exercise, I believe this was a hidden attraction in Fukushima.
登山道沿いに、北西の平野を見おろせる展望台もあります(写真)これらの史跡や景色を見ながら運動もできるこの場所は、福島の穴場と思いました。

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Towa district has some of the excellent local specialties. One of them was organic wine produced at local winery. The grapes are harvested at local organic vineyard. Photo above shows wine products from Fukushima Farmers’ Dream Wine Co. Both of them tasted healthy and excellent.
東和地区は、地元の優れた特産があります。地元産の有機ぶどうを使い、地元のワイナリーで生産したワインです。写真は、ふくしま農家の夢ワイン(株)のものです。赤・白ともにヘルシーでおいしいです。

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Another specialty was locally produced natural honey products as shown above. These are from Watanabe Apiary in Towa district. These tasted excellent and healthy. You can purchase one at either of roadside stations referred below.
もう一つは、地元の養蜂場で手作りの天然蜂蜜です(写真)。東和の渡辺養蜂場の製品で、ヘルシーでおいしいです。次に記述した道の駅で購入できます。

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There were a couple of roadside stations or Michi-no-eki along the national route 349 in Towa district, one of which “Michi-no-eki Towa” was shown above. They serve delicious lunch prepared with local vegetables. One of them I had today at “Sakura-no-sato” roadside station was “kenchin-udon” bowl with plenty of local vegetables and delicious soup, which was extremely good and healthy.
地域の国道沿いには、道の駅が2つあります。写真は、「道の駅東和」です。道の駅では、地元産の野菜などを使った、おいしいランチが頂けます。本日は、「さくらの郷」で、けんちんうどんを頂きました。おいしい野菜のたっぷり入ったスープは、極上でした。

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This time, it was high season for autumn colors in the district. In April, cherry blossoms are all over the area. One of the famous weeping cherry trees is called “Kassenba-no shidarezakura”, or a couple of 150-year-old weeping cherry trees in the battle field, as shown above as of today.
この時期は、ちょうど紅葉のきれいな時でした。4月には、地区全体に桜が咲きます。有名なのが、合戦場のしだれ桜です。樹齢150年の2本の木からなり、写真は、花のない本日の姿でした。

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Local festivals are held including Abaredashi or wild floats Festival in October, or Kohata Flag Festival in early Decmber. (This year’s festival is on Dec. 3rd. History of Kohata Flag Festival is explained above in Japanese.) So you can enjoy some of the festivals or cherry blossoms or autumn colors depending on the month you visit here, altogether with having local healthy vegetable lunch or purchasing excellent local specialty food or drink products, while enjoying great countryside atmosphere.
また、地区のお祭りもいくつかあり、10月の「針道のあばれ山車」、12月初旬の「木幡の幡祭り」(今年は12月3日です。その歴史は、写真参照。)など。従って、時期により、桜や紅葉や祭りと共に、地元野菜のおいしいランチや、特産品の調達とともに、素晴らしい里山の雰囲気を味わっては如何でしょうか。

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Today, attendees gathered at Adachigahara site, which was about 40-minute walk from JR Nihonmatsu Station, and then a microbus took us through the tour. A mistress of local organic Nanakusa Farm, who was also a member of Omotenashi Guide Fukushima and who teaches English to local children, guided us through the tour. Our first visit was Sainenji Temple, where a natural monument of the city shown above was preserved. This was called Garyu-no-matsu, which was 400-year-old Japanese white pine. It grew crawling horizontally as far as 14 meters wide.
本日、出席者は、安達が原(JR二本松駅から歩いて40分ほど、パスもあります。)に集合し、そこからマイクロバスで廻りました。地元の有機栽培のななくさ農園の女将さん(おもてなし福島通訳ガイドの会のメンバーであり、地区の子供達に英語も教えています。)が、ガイドしてくださいました。最初に寄ったのが、西念寺(さいねんじ)です。ここには、樹齢400年のヒメコマツ「臥龍の松」が、市の天然記念物として保存されています(写真)。地を這うように、幅14mも広がっています。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
The last visit which was Dream Wine Co. was out of GPS route in the map due to battery outage.
最後に行ったふくしま農家の夢ワインは、地図のGPSルートから外れました。バッテリが無くなったためです。
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Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)

Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
Local guide for Fukushima (English)(福島地域通訳案内士(英語))
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