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.
写真は、本日の浄土平、桶沼のきれいな紅葉です。福島県の紅葉は、毎年ここから始まります。ここは、公共の交通も便利です。磐梯吾妻スカイラインに沿って、福島駅から、10月のシーズン中は毎日シャトルバスがでます。浄土平のバス停で降りると、紅葉の丘に囲まれます。桶沼は、ここから歩いて15分ほどで行けます。

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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.
写真は、そこにある桶沼の説明板です。

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Some other photos taken nearby are shown above.
近くで撮った他の写真です。

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。
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.
本日は、「献上桃の郷」桑折町を訪ねました。町の東側に、桑折ピーチラインに沿って広がる広大な桃農園を歩きました。人気の品種あかつきの収穫が最盛期を迎え(写真)、8月上旬の間続きます。近年、この時期になると、この農園でとれた桃から丁寧に選別され、皇室に献上されます。

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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.
JR桑折駅から出ると、前に写真の「献上桃の郷」の柱が立っています。

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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.
桑折町は、江戸時代は奥州街道の宿場町として栄え、明治維新後は旧伊達郡の役所が置かれました。1883年建築のその建物は、町の中心部に保存されています(写真)。

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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.
東へ進み、国道4号を渡ると、また「献上桃の郷」の看板があります。JAの市場の前でした。

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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.
少しすると、桑折ピーチライン沿いに歩いていました。写真のような、桃農園が果てしなく続きます。

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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.
そのうち、記念碑が見えてきました。2013年と2015年の2回、天皇皇后両陛下が訪れて、震災からの復興に向けて農家を励まされたときのものです。

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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.
また少し行くと、別の記念碑がありました。1996年に、皇太子ご夫妻が訪れたときのものです。

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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.
最後に、農家の1軒を訪ねて、とれた桃を試食させてもらいました。水分が多く、とてもおいしいです。県外の家族や親戚などに箱をいくつか頼みました。上は、桃の写真です。

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。
20170803献上桃の郷 (560x421)

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.
八溝山にチャリで登った後、昨夜は棚倉町に泊まりました。今朝、棚倉の史跡のうち、2ヶ所を見て回りました。写真は、その1つの馬場都々古別(ばばつつこわけ)神社です。初代の棚倉藩主の丹羽長重が、1624年にこの地に移しました。神社には日本武尊命ともう一人が祀られています。東北(正確には陸奥)では一の宮であり、本堂は国の重要文化財になっています。

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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.
会津松平家の家老だった西郷頼母は、明治維新後にこの神社の宮司を務めています。写真は、彼の生涯を説明しています。

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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.
次に、その近くにある棚倉城跡に行きました。棚倉藩は、1622年に初代大名丹羽長重の5万石で始まりました。長重は、2年後に白河藩10万石の初代大名として白河に移りましたが,棚倉城は250年近く続き、最後は戊辰戦争で1868年に落城しました。その経緯が、写真の説明板に書かれています。

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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.
写真は、噴水がつけられている内堀です。城跡には、全ての建物はなくなっており、中央の本丸跡地、内堀、その外の石垣が一部残っています。

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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.
最後に、帰途、浅川町の雲五郎あやめ園に寄りました。町の雲五郎山の麓(登山道入口)にあります。写真の道案内が、道路脇にありました。地元の方達が20年に渡り手入れしてきたもので、見頃の時は大変きれいです。今日は、もう見頃は終え、写真のようにごく一部残っているだけでした。地元の方が1人、念入りに手入れをしており、来年の6月下旬の見頃の時が期待できます。

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).
昨夜は、棚倉町の丘の上に立つ赤舘旅館に泊まりました。家族経営で、おいしい2食付のビジネスホテルでした。外観は古いですが、内部は新装されて大変きれいな上、ご主人、女将さんは、大変親切な方でした。価格も大変手頃(2食付7500円)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。
20170707棚倉浅川町 (560x421)
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Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
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