Koriyama is situated in central Fukushima, the most southern prefecture of the Tohoku region. It is reachable by the Tohoku Shinkansen on the main rail route that connects Tohoku and the rest of Japan. The train from Tokyo to Koriyama takes about 80 minutes, with a one-way ticket priced at JPY 7,680. Its population of 334,753 people (as of Oct. 1, 2017) is ranked third highest of the region, just behind Sendai and Iwaki.
Koriyama is home to several tourist spots that are recognized by Japan’s Ministry of Culture as Japan Heritage Sites. The area was developed and modernized after the Meiji Restoration, when a long canal was built, extending from Inawashiro Lake, which is the largest lake in the Tohoku region. The canal enriched the agricultural industry, especially the rice crops, and inspired new industrial development including hydroelectric power plants which helped in the rapid development of the city’s industry and infrastructure.
In addition to historical sites, Koriyama is blessed with abundant nature that offers beautiful scenery during all four seasons. In April, cherry blossoms can be viewed in the city. The most magnificent cherry trees are the 400-year-old Shidare Sakura, while at Kaiseizan Park, you can view 1,300 cherry trees. Koriyama is a great location for a unique spring fantasy in Japan that’s just a short trip from Tokyo.
■Top 4 Spots for Cherry Blossom Viewing in Koriyama!
- Above left: Sakura at Kaiseizan Park (best viewing: early to late April)
Kaiseizan Park prides itself on its 1,300-plus Somei Yoshino cherry trees (including Japan’s oldest Yoshino cherry tree), which were planted at the beginning of the Meiji era to mark the development of Koriyama. The trees were famously used as a location in the Japanese anime, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. During sakura season, Kaiseizan Shrine, just next to the park, is packed with street stalls and visitors.
- Above right: 400-year-old Jizou Sakura in Nakata-Machi (best viewing: mid-April)
This weeping cherry tree is said to be the “daughter” of Miharu Takizakura, one of the three most famous cherry trees in Japan. At 16m tall and aged 400 years, this tree is praised as one that guards newborn babies’ health. It’s located in Nakata-machi, where you’ll also find plenty of other hanami routes, and is swamped with tourists during the cherry blossom season.
- Above Left: “Shiki-no-sato Ryokusuien” in Kikuta-machi (best viewing: mid-April)
Located within Kikuta-machi, Koriyama, with Mount Adatara as the main scene, Shiki-no-sato Ryokusuien is a place where people can enjoy “forest bathing,” bird watching, barbecues, strolling on the path around the pond, and admiring flower gardens. Spanning more than 99,000 sqm of land, this garden boasts early-blooming cherry trees (the Somei Yoshino and Kawazu), over 300,000 iris flowers, and other flowers including forsythias, azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese primrose, roses and hydrangeas.
- Above Right: Sakura at Funatsu River in Konan-machi (best viewing: late April to early May)
Funatsu River originates from Lake Inawashiro and runs through Konan-machi, Koriyama. Some 120 Somei Yoshino cherry trees stand at the river mouth and bloom at the same time as the bright yellow rape flowers planted along the embankment. One can also enjoy the scenery of Mount Bandai and Lake Inawashiro.
■Summer’s Best Photogenic Spots in Koriyama:
Featuring 200,000 Sunflowers and 33 Wind Turbines!
Nicknamed “the Plateau of Winds”, Nunobiki Plateau (altitude 1,000m) is known for its production of daikon (radish), magnificent landscape, views of Mount Bandai and Lake Inawashiro, and wind farm featuring 33 wind turbines that stand at a height of 100m and turn slowly as the plateau winds blow.
Nunobiki Plateau is also famous for its sunflower farm which bears four hectares of land and 200,000 sunflowers. The best time for viewing the flowers in bloom is mid-August to early September. This is likely the only place in Japan where one can enjoy the scene of blooming sunflowers with a backdrop of tall wind turbines.
Joining the sunflowers, cosmos flowers also bloom here at this time of year, giving one the chance to view these different-colored flowers blossoming together until mid-September. For nature lovers, a walking course with a stop at the observatory deck is available at the Plateau of Winds, allowing one to enjoy the combination of flowers, mountains and lake views.
Office of Koriyama Tourism PR Activities (Within Sunny Side Up Co Ltd.)
Ms. Kobayashi/Mr. Fukuoka
SOURCE: Office of Koriyama Tourism PR Activities
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