Lake Inawashiro

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Lake Inawashiro in the Aizu Region of western Fukushima is Japan’s fourth-largest lake. Its cool waters make it an ideal destination for a camping or swimming trip.

The lake may be the most scenic in spring and fall when nearby Mount Bandai is covered by snow and the surrounding trees are sporting colorful blossoms or autumn foliage. Summer, however, is the most popular season to visit. Cool air from the nearby mountain provides a fresh breeze and nice reprieve from the sweltering heat.

Camping, biking, and swimming

Photo by: Johannes SchonherrShidahama Beach is a popular choice for swimming at Lake Inawashiro.

The Inawashiro lakeshore is dotted with campgrounds and swimming beaches. Shidahama Beach (Map) is one of the more popular ones, but you won’t have to look too far to find a more secluded place to pitch your tent or take a dip.

The Tenjinhama Auto Camping Ground (Map), a short taxi ride from either Sekito or Kawageta Station, is one such option. It’s generally more on the quieter side while still providing gorgeous lake views and much-needed shade.

Photo by: Johannes SchonherrCamp with a view of Mount Bandai in the background!

The circumference of the lake itself is about 60 kilometers with small roads closely following the shoreline. Cruising around the lake on a bicycle makes for a nice, smooth ride with stunning views stretching to Mount Bandai and the surrounding mountains.

Around Lake Inawashiro

If you feel a bit of historic sightseeing is in order after relaxing on the lake, hop on the train to nearby Aizu Wakamatsu. This perfectly restored Edo-era samurai town is famous for Tsuruga Castle. In 1868, the Tokugawa Shoguns made their last stand against the modernization of Japan right here!

Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle, also known as Tsuruga Castle.

You don’t even have to leave the lakeshore to delve into the area’s history. The Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Museum (Map), Hideyo Noguchi’s birth house, is right at the northern shore.

You may recognize Noguchi as the guy whose portrait is on the back of the ¥1,000 note. He was an internationally active medical researcher at the beginning of the 20th century who discovered a lot of germs and found remedies for various serious illnesses.

The museum itself is a beautiful Meiji-era-style building surrounded by a Japanese garden with many exhibits detailing Noguchi’s turbulent life inside.