Diamond Route Extensions / The Samurai Spirit Introducing Tokyo’s Northern Neighbors : Fukushima, Ibaraki and Tochigi Prefectures What is Diamond Route? The Diamond Route is a little-known tourist trail only 2.5 hours away from Tokyo made up of three of its northern neighbours – Ibaraki, Fukushima and Tochigi prefectures – which, if you join them together on a map, form the shape of a diamond. History, culture, nature, food,...Read More
During the Edo period of Japan, Ouchijuku was no more than a small post station; it has since then been a well preserved village mostly untouched by time. Located in the Shimogo, Fukushima, Ouchijuku is a historically preserved district that shows us a glimpse back in time to the Old World Japan. The thatched roofs of the village houses in this modest town are mostly made of dried straw. These settlements were known as a central hub...Read More
‘Ouchi-juku’in Fukushima Prefecture, an old post town on ‘Aizu-nishi-kaido’ highway also known as ‘Shimotuke-kaido’ that runs between’Aizu-wakamatsu’ and ‘Nikko’, flourished in Edo Period toward the end of the 19th century.
As a secluded stage in a mountainous region or a distribution center for rice, this town thrived in former times, however it had faded in a gradual manner since the Meiji Restration, Japan’s modernization times, because of its location far away from a new main highway of this region. In order to maintain the thatched old houses, ‘Ouchi-juku’ was designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of...Read More
‘Sazae-do’,a general term for turbo-shaped shrines, were built all over Eastern Japan late in the Edo period.
‘Sazae-do’ in the picture, whose formal name is ‘Entsu-sanso-do’, can be seen halfway up ‘Iimori-yama’ Hill in Aizu-wakamatsu,Fukusima Prefecture. This eccentric wooden building built late in the 18th century is placed on the list of important cultural assets. The inside of the hexagonal building, a clockwise rising ramp runs from the entrance to the top then it becomes a descending spiral ramp from...Read More
A ‘mamekobachi’ bee which is a little smaller than honeybee is widely utilized for insect pollination mainly in the Tohoku Region.
Centering on Aomori Prefecture, a fruit farmer in the Tohoku Region makes use of a small bee called ‘mamekobachi’ for an apple or a cherry fruition. This way of pollination was invented after the end of the Second World War and now is prevailing across the country. Many bundles of straw dangling under the eaves in the picture are nests of the bee seen in ‘Ouchijuku’ near ‘Aizu-Wakamatsu’, Fukusima...Read More
‘Goshiki-numa’,literally translated into five-color swamps, in ‘Bandai-Asahi’ national park was formed by the eruption of ‘Bandai-san’ volcano in 1885.
The latest huge eruption cased the great collapse of the north side of ‘Bandai-san’ volcano, which dammed up a nearby river to form hundreds of inland waters. Tens of smaller swamps among them are called ‘Goshiki-numa’ that are filled with various hues,green,red or blue, because of the difference of minerals and water plants in each water. The beautiful swamp in the picture is ‘Bishamon-numa’,the...Read More