This Is Fukushima Calendar Photo Campaign by Paul Sprigg and Ryan McDonald

This Is Fukushima Calendar Photo Campaign by Paul Sprigg and Ryan McDonald
The first calendar: This Is Fukushima 2013.
The first calendar: This Is Fukushima 2013.

The 2015 This is Fukushima calendar is now in production. We are accepting photo submissions until Friday, October 17th.

Please share with us your wonderful photos of the interesting people, places and events you have taken during your time living in our great prefecture. It doesn’t matter when they were taken.

Technical specifics:

The printer requires a minimum of 300dpi for photos, and we ask for images at least 4000 pixels wide (by 3000 pixels high). So shoot in max resolution whenever possible, folks! As many of the pictures are destined for use as a feature photo for each month, try to keep with a horizontal format shot. Vertical format images are much harder to use in the calendar layout. But if you have an exceptionally good vertical shot, by all means send it in to us. If it’s really awesome, we’ll find a way to use it somehow!

Photo submissions can be sent via Email to:

Any photos that are selected for use in the 2015 calendar will be printed with your photo credit and you will also receive a few complimentary calendars when they’re produced.

The second calendar: This Is Fukushima 2014.
The second calendar: This Is Fukushima 2014.

The calendars are sent nationally and internationally to the media, politicians and special dignitaries. To date, the calendar has received acknowledgement from ambassadors, governors and prominent world figures including former U.S president Jimmy Carter, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Let us continue to show the world our Fukushima, as seen through our eyes: we who have actually lived here and the many of us who continue to do so.

The Lucky Island Question of the Month– What is your scariest experience in Japan?

October is almost here! Halloween is on the way! With that in mind, for October’s issue of the Lucky Island, we want to know: what is your scariest experience so far in Japan? From eating that strange unidentified dish in the school lunch, to strange encounters in the night, we want to hear from you! Submit your stories by MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th![form form-15]

Foreign Foods in Japan

Brick&Mortar Stores


While it may look like a liquor store from the outside, Yamaya stocks a large variety of foreign pastas, cheese, cereals, teas, and coffees!


A foreign food store with a focus on coffee and coffee accoutrements. You can find lots of candy, canned goods, and seasonings.

Don Quijote

While Don Quijote may look like a novelty store, their food section tends to have a surprising variety of foreign foods available for purchase.

Lion D’or

While it may just look like your normal run-of-the-mill supermarket, Lion D’or normally have a small foreign section filled with crisps and biscuits from Western parts of the world. (Lays Sour Cream & Onion chips anyone?)


If you have shopped her overseas, you know what to expect. If you have a members card from back home, you’re golden. If not, you can easily purchase one and stock up on foreigner–and Japanese foods– in bulk.

Online Shops

Yoyo Market

Want to go to Costco but don’t want to drive all the way out there? Yoyo Market is for you. You can purchase your Costco items online (for a slightly elevated price) and have them shipped directly to your door. You can even order speciality items like personalised sheet cakes through them!


The name says is all. An online shop set up by ex-pats to ships meat (pretty much any cut you can imagine) to your door. They also sell spices, buns, grilling items, cheeses, and frozen goods.

Foreign Buyers Club

A one-stop shop for food, teaching supplies, and decorations. You can order items that they have in-shop but also from their “General Store” for more specific items that are shipped from the US, per demand, on a quarterly basis.

The Flying Pig

The same type of store as YoYo Market with prices that are generally a tiny bit higher.

For vitamins to grocery to beauty products to pet goods to their namesake, herbs– iherb has you covered and for ridiculously low shipping costs.

Koyo — The Fall Colours of Fukushima

Koyo — The Fall Colours of Fukushima
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Steam Liner on the Tadami Line, Oku Aizu.

Summer is winding down and fall will soon be here. You can expect a lot of beautiful scenery with the turning colours of the leaves. In Japan, the fall colours (koyo) can be likened to cherry blossom viewing in spring, in that many Japanese people make trips specifically to see sights famous for their beautiful fall leaves. Here is a quick guide to some of the many scenic locations to view the koyo of Fukushima.


The view of one of the five lakes at Goshikinuma.
The view of one of the five lakes at Goshikinuma, with red Japanese maple leaves in the foreground.


Goshikinuma (The Five Coloured Lakes) (Map) (Link) When Mount Bandai erupted in 1888, it send plumes of ash into the air all around. Minerals from this ash cloud settled into the five lakes nearby, causing them to change colour. Each lake has its own shade of blue-green, and looks particularly beautiful with the backdrop of fall leaves.


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The view from the Lake Line looking up towards the peak of Mount Bandai.

Bandai Azuma Lake Line (Map) (Link) and Bandai Azuma Sky Line (Map) (Link) are two scenic toll roads that take a winding path around Mount Bandai,  connecting many small lakes in the area. There are many viewpoints and walking trails along the way to stop and enjoy, including the Bandai Nakatsugawa Keikoku (Map) (Link), beautifully clear river runs down the valley from the Bandai Highland.



Tsuruga Castle in the fall, with added bonus lens flare.
Tsuruga Castle in the fall, with added bonus lens flare.


Tsuruga Castle, Aizu Wakamatsu (Map) (Link) One of the greatest cherry blossom viewing spots in Fukushima with over 700 cherry trees on the grounds, this castle is also beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colours!




Kokuzousama Enzo-ji Temple, Yanaizu (Map) (Link) This Buddhist temple set up on the hill overlooking the river is famous for its Naked Man Festival in January (See More), but also has plenty of scenic beauty during the fall.

Nanko Park, Shirakawa (Map)(Link) Walk through this beautiful park on the shore of the lake, and enjoy the fall scenery!


Yellow ginko leaves at Shiramizu Amida Do Temple, Iwaki City.

Shiramizu Amida Do Temple, Iwaki (Map) (Link) Built over 850 years ago, this temple is the oldest building in Iwaki, and a designated national treasure. It’s situated in a beautiful park with a bridge over a pond that visitors pass over to reach the temple.

Natsuigawa Keikoku, Iwaki (Map) (Link) See the mountain maple trees along the mountain gorge for a beautiful view of the fall colours! Also in Iwaki, the Tohno Weeping Maple Tree is not to be missed! (Link)

These are just a few of the many fall colour viewing spots around the prefecture. Where are your favourite places?