Autumn color started from Jododaira, Oct. 5, 2017 (福島の紅葉は、浄土平から始まります 2017年10月5日)

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Photo above was a superb autumn view of Okenuma Pond, Jododaira, as of today. Autumn color change in Fukushima Pref. starts from here. The location is easy to access by public transport. There is a local shuttle bus service along Bandai-Azuma Skyline road to the site from JR Fukushima Station every day during the season of October. Once you get off the bus at Jododaira terminal you are surrounded by spectacular autumn colors on mountain hillsides. Okenuma Pond is only 15-minute walk from the terminal.

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Photo above shows a description of Okenuma Pond on the site. It says the pond was created 5 to 6 thousand years ago as an eruption crater.The water is 13 meters deep and it provides drinking water to nearby rest house and mountain lodge.

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Some other photos taken nearby are shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20171005浄土平紅葉 (560x420)

Kori Town: home to peaches for Imperial Family, August 3, 2017 (献上桃の郷 桑折町を訪ねて 2017年8月3日)

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Today I visited Kori Town which was a home to peaches offered to Imperial Family. I walked around the vast peach farmland area which stretched along Kori Peach-line Road in the eastern part of the town. A popular variety called “Akatsuki” was in its high season of harvesting as shown above and it continues through the end of early August. Every recent year in this time of the season, peaches are harvested at these farms, and then screened, selected carefully and offered to the Imperial Family.

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Once I stepped out of JR Kori Station which was located near the center of the town, I found a stone pillar standing in front, which was inscribed as “home to peaches for Imperial Family” as shown above.

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The town prospered during Edo Period as a post town on old Oshu Highway and after Meiji Restoration in 1867, a local administrative office for Date County was placed here. The old office building, which was built in 1883 are being preserved in the town center as shown above.

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Moving to the east I crossed a major National Route 4, where I found another sign of “home to peaches for Imperial Family” on the roadside in front of JA market as shown above.

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Shortly after, I was walking along the Kori Peach-line Road, where peach farms such as shown above continue during a long walk.

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Then I came to a monument as shown above, which commemorated 1st and 2nd visits by Emperor and Empress in 2013 and 2015, when the two encouraged local farmers toward the recovery from the Great East Japan earthquake and nuclear accident disasters.

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Next I came to another monument in a corner of the farmland as shown above, which commemorated a visit by crown prince and princess in 1996.

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I finally visited one of farmers in the area, tasted a peach harvested, which was excellent and juicy. I ordered some boxes for family members and relatives who live outside Fukushima. The samples are shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Historic sites of Tanagura, July 7, 2017 (棚倉町の史跡など 2017年7月7日)

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I stayed last night at Tanagura Town after bike climb to the summit of Mount Yamizo. This morning, before leaving the town I visited two of the historic sites. A photo above was one of them, which was called Baba-tsutsukowake Shrine. The shrine was established in this place in 1624 by the first lord of Tanagura domain Niwa Nagashige. An ancient legend Yamato-takerunomikoto and one another were enshrined. The shrine had been the most prominent one or “Ichinomiya” in Tohoku region. The main building ‘hondo’ was designated as a national important cultural asset.

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Saigo Tanomo who had been a chief retainer for Matsudaira lord family in Aizu once served as a chief priest for this shrine after the new Meiji Period started. A board above explains about his career.

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Then I visited nearby Tanagura Castle site. Tanagura feudal domain was established in 1622 with small scale of 50,000 ‘goku’, where one goku is equivalent of rice necessary for a person for one year. The first lord was Niwa Nagashige and he built Tanagura Castle two years later in 1624. Niwa Nagashige himself was moved to Shirakawa two years later and became the first lord with 100,000 ‘goku’. Tanagura Castle continued for about 250 years before it was burnt down in 1868 during Boshin civil war. A board above explains the details.

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Photo above shows a part of inner moat with a fountain. All the structures were gone and only the Honmaru ground in the center, inner moat, and some of stone walls were left at the site.

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Finally, on the way back home I stopped at Kumogoro iris garden in Asakawa Town. It was located on the foot of Mount Kumogoro in the town. A sign board for the entrance is shown in the upper photo above. Local people have taken care of the iris garden for about 20 years and it showed beautiful scenery during every best season. Today, the season was almost over and only a part of the iris flower field was left as shown above. A local man was taking care of the plants when I visited and the next best season in late June is highly expected.

The inn I stayed last night at Tanagura was Akadate Ryokan located on a hillside. This family operated inn was actually like a business hotel with two good meals. Despite its old rustic exterior, all the rooms inside were renovated in a modern style and the owner family were very kind. With this quality the charge was very reasonable (7500 yen).

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20170707棚倉浅川町 (560x421)
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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)(福島特例通訳案内士(英語))
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