So what exactly did I end up doing on my first day in Fukushima I hear you ask! Following the setback mentioned at the start of ‘Hiking in Fukushima Pt I‘ I decided to head back to Koriyama station which I had passed through a short time before. My plan was basically to just switch the two one-day itineraries and so I headed on to Inawashiro from where Bandai Toto buses to Goshikinuma thankfully run a lot more often. Half an hour later, after an arduous morning, I was at my destination where I did the 3.7km nature trail around Five Colours Lakes. For the record they get their name due to the colours – emerald green, cobalt blue etc – created by the mineral deposits from volcanic eruption.
This Bandai-san area in Fukushima has been on my ‘to do’ list for many many years now and having cancelled the trip there in October due to averse weather conditions I thought I’d try again. Mount Bandai is in my background in the photos above left and below right. Bishamonnuma was the first lake and the biggest one with an amazing turquoise colour and giant koi (carp). Seeing this beautiful lake was a bit of relief after all the travelling I’d done so far that day.
The area is supposedly famous for Asiatic black bears but I was very sceptical of such claims despite the sign above right saying to beware of the bear. I’d probably have to say that my favourite lake was the one below which was far more peaceful and tranquil with less visitors and also minus the rowing boats seen at the first place.
I walked the leisurely hiking trail end to end and then back again as I didn’t want to wait for a bus at the other end. Besides I had time to kill and so the 17.10 bus to Inawashiro station worked out well as I was able to instantly catch an express train to Koriyama where I had a hotel booking.
There wasn’t too much to do ahead of the following days trip to Jyododaira apart from seeing this geiger counter thing (below left) outside the station which I assume has something to do with radiation levels in the area which is only about 34 miles (55 km) west of the infamous Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. I filled my bottle with tap water the next morning and have felt no ill effects of such a ‘dangerous’ activity! A couple of minutes away from that is the Koriyama City Fureai Science Center “Space Park” which has an observation deck on its 24th floor where I could see fine view of the towns below and the mountains in the distance.
Furthermore, just getting to Fukushima station and back was a new experience for me as I rode on the Shinkansen (bullet train) for the first time ever which was one of the things I wrote about last October regarding ‘Things I’ve never done in Japan‘.