Fukushima (prefecture)

Fukushima prefecture (福島県 Fukushima-ken) is in the northeastern Tohoku region of the main Japanese island Honshu.

Understand

Fukushima is the third largest prefecture in Japan (13,782.54 km²), and one of its least densely populated. The prefecture is divided into three main regions: Aizu in the west, Naka dori in the centre and Hama dori in the east. Aizu is mountainous with snowy winters, while the climate in Hama dori is moderated by the Pacific Ocean.

NOTE: On 11th March 2011 the region was hit by an earthquake with an 9.0 magnitude followed by a tsunami and many aftershocks. As a result of the tsunami, severe damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant occurred, including a meltdown of three of the four reactors. Due to radioactive fallout, an exclusion zone was established. Nowadays the zone is a stripe of land some 10-12 km wide stretching about 50 km north-west from the power plant. A map of the exclusion zone as of September 2015 made by officials to help you stay away from the contaminated areas is here (pdf file). It is however possible to drive through the zone along the Jōban Expressway and national route 6. While there has been much debate over the effects of low-level radiation exposure to the locals, that danger is from prolonged exposure, so travellers passing through or visiting the region should not be unduly worried if they remain outside of the evacuation zone.

Cities

Other destinations

Shimogo's Ouchijuku

Get in

By plane

Fukushima is served by Fukushima Airport, located near Sukagawa to the south of Koriyama. The airport is served by JAL and ANA, with domestic services to Osaka, Sapporo and Naha. There are also international services to Shanghai and Seoul.

By train

High speed rail access is provided by the Tohoku Shinkansen, which serves Shirakawa, Koriyama and Fukushima stations. The Tohoku Shinkansen links Fukushima with Tokyo in the south and the rest of Tohoku to the north. The Yamagata Shinkansen runs from Fukushima to various cities in Yamagata prefecture. Local train services include the Tohoku Main Line, which generally follows the route of the Tohoku Shinkansen; and the West Ban'etsu Line, linking Koriyama with Niigata via the ski resorts of Inawashiro and Aizuwakamatsu.

Get around

By car

Driving through the restricted zone near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant

Since 9/2014 it is possible again to drive through the exclusion zone that was established after the 2011 nuclear crisis. The national route 6 was previously blocked in Hirono (the Iwaki side) and Haranomachi (the Sōma side). A 14 km long stretch of the road was decontaminated and open for public again. It is still not possible to travel along this section on a motorcycle, bicycle or on foot.

In 3/2015 a new stretch of the Jōban Expressway was open, including an 8 km long part within the exclusion zone. An estimated radiation dose to passengers is 0.2 microsievert. The drivers are also informed about actual radiation at several monitoring posts. In the rest of the restricted zone, the borders are not clearly marked and are changing with time, as some previously restricted areas are being decontaminated or considered safe for entry again. A centralized information about traffic in the exclusion zones is missing. Many minor roads are barricaded with explanation signs in Japanese.

Several expressways serve Fukushima prefecture and provide fast connection by car:

See

Do

Fukushima recovery

Eat

Kitakata ramen

In Fukushima, everyone knows Mama doll. Mama doll is a sweet which has white anko (milk flavor and chocolate flavor) inside it like an omanjuu. This name means “People who drink mothers’ milk” in Spanish (the Spanish original is "mamador"). Mama doll is sometimes shown on the TV. Many people who visit Fukushima buy it as a souvenir.

Another local specialty is anpo, dried persimmons, produced from kaki fruits farmed in Date and several other places in Fukushima prefecture. The consumers do not have to worry about radiation levels in local products, because they all pass routine radiation checks on release to the market.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 08, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.