Enjoying Golden Week in and around Fukushima

Enjoying Golden Week in and around Fukushima


Are you ready?

In just a few short weeks you will be experiencing (again, for our veteran JETs) the joy that is one of the few times a year almost every single person in Japan is on vacation due to a long holiday known as Golden Week (May 4th-6th). With a few well-placed paid leave days (nenkyuu), however, you can extend your vacation even longer!

If you haven’t already booked your hotels, train or bus tickets to wherever you think you can hide from the crowds (you can’t), you may be out of luck. Golden Week is one of the busiest times of the year. Last year I found myself standing on a 4 hours bullet train ride because I hadn’t reserved my seat in advance. If you think you can bypass the crowded public transportation by taking your car, the traffic on the roads are generally even worse. If you haven’t already made plans for Golden Week… stop reading and go book it now. If you have decided to save some money and enjoy a few free days in our beautiful prefecture but aren’t sure what to do, keep reading.

Here are just a few ideas of the many things you can do in Fukushima during Golden Week:


Yonezawa Uesugi Matsuri Festival in Yamagata Prefecture

kenshin festivalThis is a three day festival held in Yonezawa in Yamagata prefecture (oh come on, its not that far away…). Lots of fun activities throughout the three days, but the main event falls on the last day. The last day is highlighted by a procession of shrines, floats and a 1,000 samurai parading down the streets from 9:30 to 12:30. It ends with a reenactment battle on the riverside from around 2 to 3:30 in the afternoon.

Date: April 29th – May 3rd, Opening ceremony starts at 9:30am

 Website (English)


Superlative Craftsmanship from Meiji Japan @ Koriyama City Museum of Art

art museum

Most crafts from this period were created for export, but this gallery provides a unique opportunity to see this collection of art!

Date: April 21st – June 14th (9:30am – 5:00pm) Closed on Mondays except for May 4th.

Address: 130-2,Oyaji, Aza, Yasuhara-machi, Koriyama-city, Fukushima Pref 963-0666, Japan

Price: 1,000 yen for adults

 Website (English) 


Flower Aquarium Golden Week Event (Iwaki)

aquariumAlthough you can visit this aquarium anytime during the year, they have a few special exhibits opening for Golden Week! Including jellyfish, plants and fish!

Date: April 25th – May 6th


Address: Onahama Pier 2, 50, Tatsumi-cho, Onahama, Iwaki-shi, Fukushima 971-8101 Japan

Price: 1,600 yen for adults

Business hours: 9:00 am – 5:30 am (open until 7:00 pm from May 3rd – 6th), last admission is one hour before closing

Website (English) 


Spa Resort Hawaiians, Iwaki

HawaiiansI imagine this place will be pretty busy during Golden Week, but it looks like it’s worth it. If you like theme parks revolving around water, this is your place. They have four theme parks – the Water Park (includes water slides!), Spring Park (They have a giant communal spa where you can wear your bathing suit, or gender separated baths to enjoy nothing between your skin and the water), Spa Garden Pareo (More outdoor spa baths separated by color and theme), Edo-Jowa Yoichi (The worlds largest open-air bath. No more explanation needed) and ViR Port (a large swimming pool used for exercises, exercise studios and a beauty salon).

Address: 50, Warabidaira, Fujiwaramachi,
Joban, Iwaki-shi,
Fukushima, 972-8326, Japan

Price: 3,240 for adults

Business Hours: 9:30am – 10:15pm, open every day

Website (English)  (Unfortunately the information is pretty limited)

Website (Japanese) 


Tsurugajo Castle Illumination, Aizuwakamatsu

tsurugajoIf you happen to be around Aizuwakamatsu city visiting the castle, hot springs and the gravesites of young warriors, stick around until sunset! The cherry blossoms as well as the entire castle will be lit up after dark until 9:30pm every night until May 6th. Oh, did I mention that it’s free?


Date: April 10th to May 6th

Address: 1-1, Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima


Time: After dark until 9:30pm (8:30pm after the cherry blossoms have finished blooming)

Website (Japanese)


 Skiing / Snowboarding

I hope you didn’t pack up your snowboard and skis yet. Ski season is still lingering, so why not put in another run down the slopes? Here are a few ski slopes that are still open.


Ski MinowaMinowa Ski Resort – Inawashiro

Date: Until May 6th

Address: 〒969-2751 福島県耶麻郡猪苗代町横向

Yokomukiyamakō Wakamiya, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken 969-2751

Business Hours: 9am – 5pm

Website (Japanese)


grandeco_001Grandeco Resort – Kita Shiobara Village 

Date:  Until May 6th

Address: 日本, 〒969-2701 福島県耶麻郡北塩原村桧原荒砂沢山1082−93

Arasunasawayama Hibara, Kitashiobara-mura, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken, 969-2701

Hours: 8am – 4:30pm

Website (English)


nekomaUrabandai Nekoma –Kita Shiobara Village

Date: Until May 6th

Address:  1163 Nakomayama, Hibara, Kitashiobara-Mura, Yama-Gun, Fukushima-Ken

Hours: (weekends and holidays) 7am – 5pm

Website (Japanese)


None of these events and places tickle your fancy? There are always other things you can do in the third biggest prefecture in Japan.  Anything from BBQ to camping, try to get out of your apartment or house and learn something new about Fukushima!

If you want to make some events on your own, be sure to post it on any (or all) of our Facebook groups for Fukushima. There may be other people who would like to join you as well!

You can always contact me (Sarah Chaney) by email (newseditor@fujet.org) if you need any additional information or require help contacting Japanese establishments. Don’t let the language barrier stop you from exploring!


Good luck!


More than what Japan has to offer…

More than what Japan has to offer…

by Robert “Caveman” Vidal

cavemanJET offers many things, but did you know it offers cheap international trips? If you love adventure then maybe you can hit up ANA or Air Asia and buy cheap tickets to neighbouring Asian countries. I have seen several friends visit several countries.

Not trying to brag, but I am writing this from South Korea and rather under the influence.

Visiting other countries, such as Korea, may be just the thing you need to avoid (reverse) culture shock. Its not too far from Japan, but also not far from other global cultures. In fact, it is more like a super salad of other countries in one.

At 30,000yen for a return ticket you can’t say that is not a good deal. Tokyo is nearly 2/3 that price.

The food is amazing, a little spicy though, and the people are beautiful. Drinks may not be as cheap, but they are pretty darn close.  Did I mention the food is amazing?

In the 6 days I have been here, I have: seen the castle in South Korea’s capital, taken pictures in the 3D eye museum, visited Gangnam, climbed Namsan mountain, saw the Historical War Festival, and learned nearly the entire Korean alphabet in roughly 24 hours.

In six days my life and world has changed, and I still have another day. I probably should mention that this trip was done on a whim, and I am writing this article not exactly sober, in Seoul, while eating a spicy food the name of which I still have not learned at Hongdae.

So I hope you or someone else are willing to share your adventures whether drunk or sober in other countries or even Japan. I want to hear more from every one of you. In the mean time, here is a fun picture to keep you company.