Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba, Sept. 30, 2020. (原子力災害伝承館 双葉町 2020年9月30日)

Today, I visited Futaba Town where Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is located, and where a part of the town area was lifted the evacuation order in this March as a special reconstruction hub zone. I took JR Joban Line to Futaba Station aboard a limited super express train “Hitachi”. Transportation was restored as far as train is concerned. Picture above was another super express train bound for Iwaki arrived at the station just 20 minutes later.

Right next to the station building, I found a new rest space opened as shown above. This part was under construction when I visited here this March. Tables, chairs, and free coffee were available.


My final goal today was Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum which just opened to public this September 20th, but I stopped at several places along the way. A free bike sharing system has been introduced in the area. Photos above were of a bike park at Futaba Station, and a bike I used. You first deposit 100-yen coin to unlock the bike and the coin is returned when you park the bike at the next park. Currently, there is no public bus service in the area. So, bike sharing is so popular that there was none when I came to the bike park, but in the meantime a bike came back and I was lucky to have one.

Carefully riding the bike, I first stopped at Shohatsu Shrine located close to Futaba station. The local shrine was heavily damaged by the earthquake 9.5 years ago, but because of the long evacuation period due to the nuclear accident the reconstruction work was largely delayed. Today it seemed to be almost completed as shown above.

Then I headed to the next stop which was a memorial for local victims located on the roadside of national route 6 as shown above. This was built by Futaba Town in 2013, 2 years after the disaster.

The next stop was F-BICC, or Futaba Business Incubation and Community Center as shown above. This is a new business and community facility of the town, which opens tomorrow. I parked the bike at this station and walked to the adjacent Memorial Museum building.


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Photo shown at the top was the Pacific Ocean view from the 3rd story observatory space of the Memorial Museum, which was shown in the bottom. A new memorial park is also under construction in front. The construction is being delayed due to the corona virus pandemic. Inside the exhibition floor, photos and videos are not allowed. All the visitors are at first introduced into a 7-screen theater. After 5-minute prologue we were guided to the upper exhibition floor. All kinds of 3.11 disaster data and information, rather focused on nuclear plant accident, were on display, most of which were familiar to me.

The reconstruction hub zone of Futaba Town, including the Memorial Museum, F-BICC, and the memorial park will keep on changing and evolving in the days ahead and will play a key role until the final lifting of all the evacuation order for the rest of the town area.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.

Tracing old Numajiri Railway in Inawashiro, April 21, 2020. (旧沼尻軽便鉄道跡を追って 2020年4月21日。)

(#Numajiri Railway, Inawashiro, April 21, 2020. #旧沼尻軽便鉄道 猪苗代4/21/2020)  
Today, I traced pedaling my bike old Numajiri Railway sites between Numajiri and Kawageta Stations in Inawashiro. The local railroad was founded in 1908 as a 15.6km manpowered railway. Then in 1913, it was updated to a horsepower train with about 12km per hour speed. The next year, steam locomotive was introduced from Germany. And finally, a diesel locomotive was introduced in 1953. It carried sulfur, wood, local passengers, hot spring visitors, and skiers. But due to industrial and transportation environment changes it discontinued the service in 1968. Photo above was a view of complete set of the train which was preserved at a corner of Midorinomura Park in Inawashiro. Some other photos are shown below.
本日は、猪苗代の沼尻と川桁を結んでいた旧沼尻軽便鉄道跡をチャリで巡りました。この線は、1908年に15.6kmの人車軌道として開かれ、その後1913年に馬車鉄道として時速12kmで走りました。翌年には、ドイツから蒸気機関車を導入し、更に1953年にディーゼル機関車になりました。硫黄、木材、旅客、湯治客、スキー客を運びましたが、産業界や交通の変遷で、1968年に廃線となりました。写真は、猪苗代のみどりの村に保存・展示されている編成です。走る音 思い浮かべる 沼尻に

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(#Numajiri Railway, Inawashiro, April 21, 2020. #旧沼尻軽便鉄道 猪苗代4/21/2020)
This was a front view of the train with DC121 type diesel engine in front.

(#Numajiri Railway, Inawashiro, April 21, 2020. #旧沼尻軽便鉄道 猪苗代4/21/2020)
This is a close-up view of the engine and the passenger cars.

This shows wooden interior of a passenger car.

And this shows exterior of the passenger car with a destination sign “Numajiri”.

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Next, I pedaled my bike to Numajiri Station site located about 17km northeast. A sign board for the old station site stood there as shown above. This was the location of Numajiri Terminal of the old Numajiri Railway. Mainly sulfur was loaded on a freight car from this station.

A local bus stop stood aside as shown above. Nowadays, a local bus runs almost along the old railway route.

Near the station site, there was a building very similar to that of the old station building as shown above.


The 2nd station was Kijigoya as shown above. This was an important station for loading wood and charcoal coming from nearby mountains.


The 3rd station was Sukawano as shown above. The current national route 115 was part of the old railway route and there was a railroad crossing signal for a road into the village at the time.


The 4th station was Myoke as shown above. There was a large hydropower station on a nearby mountain hillside, although it was covered by cloud in this picture.


The 5th station was Aizuhinokuchi as shown above. This was located in the middle point of the entire line. The neighboring village prospered at the time.


The 6th station was Shirakijo as shown above. The village near the station was moved to the current place from the west affected by Mt. Bandai eruption in 1888.


The 7th station was Ogikubo as shown above.


The 8th station was Aizushimodate as shown above. Nagase Elementary School was located in the vicinity.

The 9th station was Utsuno as shown above.


The 10th station was Shirozu as shown above.

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The final terminal was Kawageta Station where a large monument for the Numajiri Railway stood in the front square as shown above.

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In the bottom of the monument, lyrics of a popular song that depicted Numajiri Railway and the local people were inscribed. The music was written by renowned composer Koseki Yuji from Fukushima. This year’s morning drama by NHK was based on his life.

Within 3-minute walk is located Kannonji Riverside cherry blossoms and photo above was a view as of today. The blossoms have just started.

Finally, on the way back home in late afternoon, I found a cherry blossoms group at Marumori Hydropower Plant in Bandaiatami, Koriyama, as shown above.

Toay’s single bike tour was a day trip between Koriyama and Inawashiro. I talked with nobody except for a cyclist I happened to meet who came from the opposite direction and exchanged a few words across a road with safe social distancing. It was a good physical and mental exercise for me pedaling 71km between Midorinomura and Koriyama stopping at 11 stations of Numajiri Railway, plus another 40km ride in the early morning from Koriyama to get to Midorinomura. This was the first time in nearly 3 years that I pedaled more than 100km a day.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.

You can trace the route and altitude in the map below.

JR Joban Line came back in full scale, March 17, 2020. (JR常磐線全線再開を祝う 2020年3月17日。)

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(JR Joban Line, Ono Station, Okuma, March 17, 2020. 常磐線 大野駅 大熊 3/17/2020)
JR Joban Line resumed operation for the entire line three days ago, for the first time in 9 years. It suspended operation for the whole line right after the March 11th huge Earthquake in 2011, which also affected my commuting to work. Since then, the line gradually resumed, and the last section resumed was that included three stations; Futaba, Ono, and Yonomori Stations all of which were within the “difficult to return to zone”. Thanks to the tough decontamination work of the area, the entire line came back. Congratulations! Today I visited all of the three stations by train. Photo above was a view of Limited Express train Hitachi 14 bound for Shinagawa in Tokyo just arriving at renovated Ono Station in Okuma Town. What surprised me was that so many passengers were on board the train from Sendai just after the reopening.
大熊に お帰りなさい ひたち号


Photos above show exterior of Ono Station, east and west exit each.

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Only limited area in the vicinity of the station was lifted the evacuation order. But a new road that leads to the new Okuma Town Hall about 4.5km apart was decontaminated and open to the public transportation. A part of the road that starts from west exit of the station is shown above. The area on both sides of the road is still barricaded.

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Photo above shows a local Joban Line train bound for Iwaki Just arriving at renovated Futaba Station in Futaba Town.
やっと来た 希望の電車 双葉にも

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Photo above shows a front square of Futaba Station. The station building was still under restoration work and was inconvenient for passengers, such as no waiting or resting room and only temporary toilet that allowed only one person at a time. Well, anyway it started!

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Right next to the station square, a local traditional shrine: Shohatsu Shrine was located. It was also under restoration work as shown above. Also, before the March 11th disaster there was a beautiful rose garden in the western part of the town. Hopefully I would like to see that again.

The 3rd station resumed operation this time was Yonomori Station in the northern part of Tomioka Town. Picture above shows west gate of the station as of today.

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There extends a famous cherry blossoms street in the eastern part of the station. Additional part of the street was lifted evacuation order at the same time, as shown in the photo above, although it’s still three weeks away from the best blossoms season.
駅戻り 夜ノ森桜 みんな来て

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(JR Joban Line, J-Village Station, Hirono, March 17, 2020. 常磐線 Jヴィレッジ駅 広野 3/17/2020)
As the Joban Line recovered, even a new station opened last April, which was J-Village Station in Hirono Town. It is located 5-minute walk to J-Village which is a national soccer training center. Photo above shows a local train bound for north arriving at the station with J-Village logo stand in front.


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Photos above show interior and exterior of the station. Soccer paints were drawn on the wall.

I walked around J-Village fields. Photo above shows 400-meter track, multi-purpose field with artificial turf, and all-weather training field in the back.

I also have a couple of very short train video at Ono and Yonomori Stations as listed below.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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