Monday, July 09, 2012

Bandai Skyline and Azuma Ko-Fuji

We visited Azuma Ko-Fuji recently. Living in Fukushima prefecture, we had visited the Bandai region quite a few times earlier. We had visited Bandai skyline and the Tsuchiyu and Takayu onsen areas on two occasions earlier, but had never been to Azuma Ko-Fuji earlier.
Mt Azuma is a collective name for various volcanoes in the Bandai Asahi National Park. Some of the well known volcanoes are Higashi- Azuma san, Issaikyo-yama, Azuma Ko-Fuji, and Nishi Azuma-san.
Azuma ko-Fuji is an active stratovolcano in the Bandai Azuma region of Fukushima prefecture. Volcanic eruptions in past has resulted in its conical shaped crater. The last known eruption  was as recent as in 1977. Its near perfect resemblance to Mt Fuji earned it the name Azuma Ko-Fuji. The fumarolic area at the base on slopes of the neighbouring Mt Issaikyo gives the entire area a sulphuric odour.
The Bandai Azuma Skyline passes from close to the base of Mt Azuma Ko-Fuji. 
This is usually a toll road, but currently there is a waiver of the toll. 
A hike of about few hundred steps lead up to the crater at an elevation of 1707 meters .
The view from atop Mt Azuma Ko-Fuji is breathtaking, we even saw a cobalt blue lake situated a little distance away and also Fukushima city in the distance. 
A small patch of the walk around the crater rim is through oddly shaped rocks.

The Jododaira visitor centre is located in the plain between Mt Issaikyo and M Azuma Ko-Fuji. 

A rest house and restaurants are also located here. Ample parking is also available here. Regular buses also ply from Fukushima station.
Bandai Azuma’s volcanic past has given it many of it’s tourist attractions including Goshikinuma, the five coloured lakes, Takayu and Tsuchiyu Onsen areas and many other natural attractions. The region is especially spectacular during Autumn when the colourful autumn foliage adds to the natural beauty. Bandai’s Skyline, Lakeline and Goldline are toll roads which are popular among tourists looking to enjoy spectacular views and the autumn foliage. During winter, the entire area is blanketed under thick snow and many areas are not accessible during this period.In winter of 2011 when we visited the Bandai Skyline area, we could only visit Takayu Onsen area. 
 Bandai area has some of the best ski resorts in the Tohoku region.

Address: Jododaira Visitor Centre, Fukushima Prefecture, JAPAN

Phone: 024-543-0986

Closing: Closed during winter: coincides with closing of Bandai Skyline

Parking: Ample Paid Parking Available.( Free as on 1st July 2012)

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