Ouchijuku (大内宿, Ōuchijuku) is a former post town along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. Restrictions set by the shogunate required travelers to make their long journeys on foot and as a result, post towns developed along the routes to provide travelers with food, accommodations and rest.
Today, Ouchijuku has been restored to look as it did in the Edo Period with telephone and electricity wires buried. The unpaved main street is lined by thick thatched roof buildings, which house a variety of shops, restaurants and minshuku (small traditional Japanese inns). Soba noodles and locally caught char fish roasted on sticks are popular specialties.
Oze National Park
Oze (尾瀬) is a national park and excellent hiking destination in the mountains about 150 kilometers north of Tokyo. Its most well-known features are the Ozegahara Marshland and the Ozenuma Pond. A number of surrounding mountains are also included within the park. Oze is extremely popular during the blooming of skunk cabbages in the late spring and early summer and during the fall colors of early autumn, whereas in the winter it is covered in deep snow and is rarely visited.
Aizu - Tsuruga Castle
Aizu-Wakamatsu (会津若松) is a castle town in the interior of Fukushima Prefecture which is known for its award-winning sake and its samurai tradition. Towards the end of Japan's feudal era, the Aizu clan remained loyal to the shogun even after the feudal leader was removed from power in the Meiji Restoration. As a result, the town became a battleground of the Boshin War in 1868.
Tsuruga Castle (鶴ヶ城, Tsurugajō) was built in 1384 and changed hands many times between the different rulers of the Aizu region. It was destroyed after the Boshin War of 1868, a rebellion against the newly formed Meiji government, which had taken over control from the Tokugawa shogun and put an end to Japan's feudal era. Tsuruga Castle was one of the last strongholds of samurai loyal to the shogunate.
The Bandai (磐梯) region in Fukushima Prefecture is an attractive outdoor destination, offering various walking and hiking opportunities in summer and skiing in winter. It centers around Mount Bandai, a volcano that last erupted in 1886. The eruption reshaped the mountain and created the pond dotted Bandai Highlands, also know as Urabandai (literally "behind Bandai").
Further north lies the Azuma Mountain, a volcanic mountain range with multiple peaks, including the beautifully shaped Azuma-Kofuji ("Little Azuma Fuji"), which resembles and is named after the bigger and more famous Mount Fuji. To the south of Mount Bandai is Lake Inawashiro, one of Japan's biggest lakes.
Hanamiyama (花見山) is a park on the slopes surrounding a rural farming neighborhood just outside central Fukushima. Originally started by local farmers who planted ornamental plants and flowering trees on the hillsides around their land, the park was opened to the public in 1959 and has grown to be the city's top cherry blossom spot. Every year thousands of visitors flock to the area to admire its cherry blossoms.
The peak of the spring flowering season at Hanamiyama usually takes place from mid to late April, when the ubiquitous Somei Yoshino cherry trees open around the valley and can be enjoyed in combination with beautiful views of the Azuma Mountains off in the distance. Several other cherry varieties and flowering trees and bushes are also planted in large numbers around the slopes and provide visitors with a wide range of spring colors.