A regional city surrounded by mountains and the Pacific ocean. Nicknamed "Sunshine Iwaki" due to its high number of hours of bright sunshine as compared to other areas of Japan and is said to be one of the most temperate cities in the country.
Iwaki City has a population of 345,000. It’s Japan’s 10th largest and 72nd most populous city.
Iwaki City was formed in 1966 by incorporating many smaller towns, including Taira (the central area with the main train station), Ichigo, Yumoto, Izumi, Onahama (the port town), Ueda and many other smaller areas. They were amalgamated a few decades ago in order to boost its status due to a receding population. The name Iwaki had been used for a long time to refer to the general area however it had many different Kanji depictions, so to remove any confusion the name Iwaki is officially written in the hiragana syllabary.
Formerly, coal mining formed the core of its economy, but in the face of advancing technology, turned to tourism, the Spa Resort Hawaiians being one of its biggest attractions.
The main foundation of economy is industry and agriculture. The industrial production of Iwaki City is no.1 in Tōhoku region. Iwaki is rich in sightseeing resources and 7.64 million tourists visit a year. Within Fukushima prefecture, the industrial and sightseeing center is Iwaki, while the political center is Fukushima city.
Iwaki is at the junction of the Joban (Tokyo-Sendai) and Ban'etsu (Iwaki-Niigata) Expressways. Highway buses travel to Sendai and Tokyo for around ¥3000-4000.
Shiramizu Amidado 白水阿弥陀堂 Shiramizu Amidado is the oldest building in existence in the Iwaki region and was Designated a national treasure in 1952. It was built on the orders of Tokuhime the widow of Norimichi I‚—aki,a feudal lord of the lwaki area in 1160 at the end of the Heian Period. Surrounding.the temple is a beautiful Japanese garden where visitors can relar‚®and enjoy the peaceful temple grounds.
Aquamarine Fukushima アクアマリンふくしま This aquarium focuses on the ocean off the coast of Fukushima,specifically the meeting of the warm Black Current from the south and the cold Kurile Current from the north. 0ther highlights include the touching poolCa walk through glass tunnel as well as tropical botanical gardens and marine mammals.
Misaki Park 三崎公園 Located on the easten side of Onahama Bay lies a headland that rises 46m above sea level and is home to Misaki Park. The parks main features are the Shiomidai Lookout and the Marine Tower, which features an observation deck approximately 60m high providing a bird's-eye view of the surrounding coastline.
Shioyazaki Lighthouse 塩屋崎灯台 The Shioyazaki Lighthouse,a famous symbol of Iwaki City, stands tall on a cliff top overlooking the Pacific Ocean.The beacon stands 80m above sea level and its beam reaches a distance of 40km out to sea. This lighthouse has guided ships to safety since 1890. In front of the lighthouse are two stones, one of which appears to be playing the same song over and over again. This stone is a memorial to the undisputed queen of Japanese pop Hibari Misora. The Shioyazaki Lighthouse was featured in one of her famous songs.
Iwaki City Coal and Fossil Museum This museum provides a comprehensive overlook at the history and development of the Joban coalmine. Displays include a replica of the living conditions of the miners as well many interesting fossils found from within the city. One of the featured displays is a dinosaur fossil known as the Futaba Suzuki Ryu, a kind of plesiosaurus, which was discovered in the Futaba strata group, a layer that formed in the seashore 80 million years ago. This fossil was named after the strata group and the discoverer.
Spa Resort Hawaiians スパリゾートハワイアンズ This amusement complex is a huge indoor and outdoor hot spring resort featuring a large waterpark,waterslides and the world's largest outdoor hot spring. There are also hula and Polynesian dance performances as well as souvenir and specialty shops.
Nakoso Barrier 勿来の関 According to ancient records, this was the sight of the Kikuta barrier gate. The name 'Nakoso' means 'do not enter' and the barrier gave the impression to the Michinoku (the people of the north), that they were not welcome. Ancient Japanese people had a tendency of being afraid of the unknown in northern Japan. This image of divided people, lovers and even seasons made the Nakoso-Barrier popular among poets as an 'uta-makura', or a place which inspires poetry works. Many literary works describing the Nakoso-Barrier and portraits of the poets and writers are on display in this museum. The exhibitions present the history of the Nakoso-Barrier and show the customs of ancient travellers'.
Iwaki City Old Style Village Reproduced traditional houses, household goods and villages from the late Edo to the early Meiji period are on display. Experience first hand old style Japan at this village.
Every year there are a number of Autumn-themed events held in Kawamae, including autumn leaves appreciation festival, fresh soba festival, and nature walks. In Kawamae the illumination of the trees during the evenings extends the potential viewing hours, and provides a truly impressive sight.
Hidden away in the tranquility of the Natsuigawa Gorge Prefectural Nature Park, the water of Sedogaro Gorge creates quite a rhythmical scene, as it flows through the rapids and waterfalls, and when that is combined with the beauty of the changing leaves in autumn, Sedogaro Gorge provides a great sightseeing destination. Sedogaro Gorge is located 20km from the Iwaki Chuo Interchange (around 25 minutes by car).
Originating from the border region between Kuji-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Higashi Shirakawa-gun in southern Fukushima, the Shidokigawa Gorge is where the Same and Shidoki Rivers meet. The Shidokigawa Gorge is surrounded by beautiful mountain villages and is a wonderful place to enjoy both the greenery of spring and the reds and yellows of autumn. There are two walking courses in the area: the Tabiuto Course and the Okkanabou Course. See hiking courses for more information Shidokigawa Gorge is located 8km from the Iwaki Nakoso Interchange (approx. 15 minutes by car).
Nakakamado Weeping Maple Tree（中釜戸のシダレモミジ）
The maple tree has a trunk 3 meters in circumference, and was declared a national treasure in 1937. The trunk branches out at a point 1.5 meters from the ground, and resembles an unfolded umbrella. The leaves start to change colour in early November, but the best time to enjoy their autumnal tints is said to be around late November to early December, but the tree's graceful branches are worth visiting even after all the leaves have fallen, and also during the season of fresh green foliage (from around mid-April). Also as the tree stands on the side of a mountain, it looks outstanding with the mid-morning sunlight enhancing the colourful leaves.
Add: Saru, Naka-Kamado, Watanabe-machi, Iwaki Tel: 0246-22-1111 Fax: 0246-22-3662 Access: Catch the Kamikamado bus from Izumi Station JR Joban Line. Get off at Nakakamado. 10 min walk. Natsuigawa Gorge（夏井川渓谷の紅葉）
With a large number of waterfalls and pools along the Natsui River, the changes of the four season are very enjoyable in the Natsuigawa Gorge. Furthermore during the season of autumn leaves selected trains slow down to allow passengers to really enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves, from the window of the train. The best season for visiting is from the end of October to early November.
Beaches of Iwaki
Hisanohama is the most northern beach in Iwaki, and is suitable for families as it is relatively calm and has shallow waters. The beach also has a long pedestrian walkway. This beach is popular among fishermen for both surf pole fishing and dragnet fishing. It is accessible by car from Route 6.
Hattachiis a very spacious beach and famous for its Japanese style bridge to a rocky island where a tori gate stands. This sight was designated as a natural monument in 1956. It is accessible by car from Route 6, or you can catch the Iwaki Train Station bound bus from Hisanohama Station and get off at Hattachiyakushi.
Yotsukurais the most accessible beach from central Iwaki, just two stops north of Iwaki Station, and a 10minute walk from Yotsukura Station. It can also be accessed by car from Route 6. The beach itself is wide and it is noted for its breakwater that attracts both local and visiting surfers and bodyboarders. The area around Yotsukura beach is also great for camping, boating and fishing. The beach has in recent years also become well-known as the home of the Iwaki Beach Bomb a large summer beach party that goes all day and well into the night and is held in early August.
Shinmaiko is 11km of sandy beach including a walking path along the main part, camping areas, and some good fishing spots. There are also a few good surf breaks along this strip but unfortunately the placement of tsunami things have greatly reduced this number.
Usuiso is probably not as famous as its lighthouse but still provides a good family beach day destination with relatively calm waters and up-close views of one of Iwaki's most well-known symbols. Not such a good spot for surfers. Accessible by car, from the Ena via Onahama, get off at the lighthouse and walk down to the left - it takes about 5min.
Toyoma is said to be the best beach for surfing in Iwaki, and surfers can be found here all year round. Although surfing is the most predominant, this is also a prime location for a number of other marine sports.
Futamigaura lies at the southern end of Kattsuo and is also
Futamigaura lies at the southern end of Kattsuo and is also famous for its good surf, and is popular among photographs who want to take home a snap of Iwaki's lighthouse. This is also a good spot for a variety of other marine sports as well as surfing. Accessible by bus from Iwaki Train Station catch the Onahama via Ena bus and get off at Kattsuo and its about a three minute walk.
Nagasaki is a great family beach. The road also runs parallel to the long straight coastline and provides a good destination for a drive. Accessible by bus from Iwaki Train Station, catch the Onahama via Ena bus and get off at Nagasaki.
Obama is a small little-known beach snuggled against the sheer cliffs, and with its shallow waters and close proximity to Aquamarine Fukushima it is a popular spot for families and fishing.
Nakoso is the largest and most southern of Iwaki's beaches, and thanks to its popularity among holiday-makers, Nakoso also has a large number of accommodation facilities to fit all budgets. Accessible by car from Route 6, or by public transport if you catch the train to Nakoso Station and the Hirakata bus from there, it is right next to the Matsukawaiso stop.
The sakura cherry blossom season in Iwaki is generally around early April.
Matsugaoka Park 松ヶ岡公園
Cherry Blossom trees 260 Cherry Blossom trees (Somei Yoshino 染井吉野) Taira Cherry Blossom Festival Committee Enquiries 25－9151 Address 3 Yakuoujidai, Taira Toilet Carpark. Access 20min walk from Iwaki Train Station 15mins (6km) drive from Chuo Interchange. Miyukiyama Park 御幸山公園
Cherry Blossom trees 300 Cherry Blossom Trees Enquiries 43-0033 (Parks and Natural Tourism Association) OR 42-4322 (Yumoto Onsen Cherry Blossom Festival Office) Address Joban Yumoto Tenousaki Toilet Toilet. No carpark. Access Close to Yumoto Train Station 10min (5km) drive from Yumoto Interchange Tomigaura Park 富ヶ浦公園
Cherry Blossom Trees 170 Cherry Blossom Trees Enquiries 53-5175 (Onahama Cherry Blossom Festival Office) Address Onahama Kannonsaku Toilet Carpark. Access Catch Onahama-bound bus, 3min walk from Onakawahashi (小名川橋)bus stop. 25min (14km) drive from Yumoto Interchange Nakoso Barrier 勿来の関
Cherry Blossom Trees 3200 Cherry Blossom Trees Enquiries 65-6166 (Literary History Centre) Address Nakoso Sekita Nagatake Toilet Carpark. Access 10min (5km) drive from Nakoso Interchange 7min drive from Nakoso Train Station. Shinkawazoi 新川沿い
Cherry Blossom Trees 150 Cherry Blossom Trees Enquiries Iwaki City Hall 22-1111 Address South side of the Iwaki City Hall, along the river Facilities City Hall Carpark. City Hall Toilet. Access 20min walk from Iwaki Train Station 15min (6km) drive from Chuo Interchange. Misaki Park 三崎公園
Address 111 Daisaku Shimokajiro, Onahama Enquiries 54-5707 Access Catch the Kashima-keiyuu-Onahama-bound bus from bus stop 6 and get off at Onagawa-bashi. 30min walk from there. OR Catch the train to Izumi, and the bus (20min) from there. Ohata Park 大畑公園
This is a popular spot among locals.
Address Ohata, Shimogawa, Izumi Toilet Carpark. Access 12min (11km) drive from Nakoso Interchange. Yutakadai Park ゆたか台公園
Cherry Blossom Trees 500 Cherry Blossom Trees Address Warabidaira, Fujiwara, Joban Enquiries Spa Resort Hawaiians 43-3191 Toilet No carpark. Access 5min (1km) drive from Yumoto Interchange OR Catch a Hawaiians-bound bus, 6min walk from bus stop OR Catch the train to Yumoto, and the Hawaiians-bound bus (15mins) from there. Tenjinmisaki Sports Park 天神岬
(Around Iwaki) There is a Hanami Festival held at the park on the third Sunday of April.
Address 29 Uenohara, Kitada, Naraha-machi, Futaba-gun Enquiries 0240-25-2111(Naraha Business, Industry & Tourism Div.) Access Catch the train north to Kido Station, and it is a 20min walk east of there. (480yen one way) Yonomori Park 夜ノ森公園
(Around Iwaki) 1500 Someiyoshino Sakura Trees, these are illuminated during a specified period.
Address Tomioka-machi, Futaba-gun Enquiries 0240-22-2111 (Tomioka Tourism Assoc.) Access Catch the train north to Yonomori Station, 3min walk. (740yen one way)
Dogtooth Violet, Taira Kinuya 片栗・平絹谷地区
Approx 45,000 Violets. Blooming period: Early－mid April.
Address Okusa, Kinuya, Taira Enquiries 27-2871 Access 15min (6km) drive from Yotsukura Interchange 10min (4km) drive from Kusano Train Station. Red Azaleas, Natsui River Gorge アカヤシオ・夏井川渓谷
From early April
Address Ushiogawa, Ue-ogawa, Ogawa Toilet. Carpark. Access 30min (20km) drive from Chuo Interchange 40m walk from Eda Train Station Daffodil, Daffodil Village水仙・水仙の里
In the Midorikawa Family's field alone is approximately 100,000 daffodils. Full Blossom in mid-April
Address 62 Higashi-Chujo, Tabibito, Tabito Access 15min (8km) drive from Nakoso Interchange Rape Blossoms, Flower Centre 菜の花・フラワーセンター
Address 116 Ishimori, Yotsunami, Taira Enquiries 22-5667 Toilet Carpark Access 15min (10km) drive from Chuo Interchange Catch the Yotsunami-bound bus. 30min walk from Yotsunami bus stop.
Iwaki Tengu - a guardian angel who protects people from misfortune
Iwaki Tono-washi - traditional Japanese paper
Tono, which is close to the mountain region, has been well known as a place for producing Japanese paper to this day. This Japanese paper is made from mulberry and paperbush, is very sturdy. Mr. Seya Yasuo / Tono-machi, Iwaki-shi / 0246-89-3620
Uni-no-Kaiyaki - luxury sea food in summer
This is a steamed-fresh uni (sea urchin caught from neighboring sea by divers) food. The uni are packed in a shell and grilled lightly on charcoal fire. You can eat it all year round, but trying it in summer time is highly recommended as that is when uni is in season.
Yanagi-boshi - white-dried flatfish
One of Iwaki's specialties is Yanagi-boshi (a salted flatfish which is dried outside for one night). The smaller ones are more delicious and the one which has red eggs (you can see them through the fish skin) are most acceptable for fish lovers. When you start seeing the white flatfish on the menu, it means that autumn season is coming. When the white flatfish disappears, the spring season will be coming.
Mirin-boshi - dried saury sweetened with sake
Sanma-no-mirin-boshi originated in Iwaki's port town, Onahama in 1946. Iwaki is the top supplier in Japan's fish industry of saury (sanma.). The fresh saury are processed as soon as they are caught.
Sashimi-konnyaku - sliced paste made from taro
Konnyaku is made from a kind of taro. After the taro is ground down and processed, it becomes konnyaku. Iwaki's delicious konnyaku is named "yama-fugu" ( globefish). It is called globefish because of its similar light taste and it's lack of a bad smell. Kamaboko - Iwaki's kamaboko (boiled fish paste) production is among the top in Japan
Fresh fish are processed right after they caught and are shipped to Kanto districts (Tokyo area). Some of their specialties include processing products which are seasoned with sea urchin, crabs and cheese.
Mehikari is a a small green eyed silver fish which is also a local symbol. Its name pretty much means light/bright eyes. Even when cooked they still appear to glow bright green. It can be found at most Izakayas and it is normally served whole and fried in a thin batter.
City Exchange Section, Division of Coordination and Citizenry Affairs TEL : 0246-22-7415 FAX : 0246-22-7609