On our second day of exploring Fukushima prefecture, we traveled south to Koriyama and then west to Inawashiro. Upon arrival at the station, we headed to the information center at the bus terminal. Since we had limited time, we asked which was better, an afternoon at Lake Inawashiro (the fourth largest in Japan) or the Goshiki-numa Ponds. Without hesitation the representative advised us to hike the Goshiki-numa area.
The ponds are located in Urabandai- Asahi National Park. Board the local bus from Inawashiro and get off at the Goshikinuma Iriguchi bus stop; It takes about 35 minutes. There is an information center where you can obtain a trail map. The 3.6-kilometer hike is easy-to-moderate and goes to all five ponds, plus some additional small ponds. These very colorful ponds were created by a 1888 volcanic eruption. Because of different minerals, each pond has unique colors: from emerald green and rust red, to deep crystal blue.
Your first pond will be Bishamonnuma. The fall colors were so beautiful it was hard to continue on the hike. It started to rain, but every time we rounded a bend another beautiful scene stopped us in our tracks. We were told that the colors of each pond change according to the weather. I cannot imagine it being more colorful than this day in November. The area also has numerous winter activities including snowshoeing to the ponds.
We continued on to Akanuma, Midoronuma (rust color pond), Rurinuma, and finally Yanaginuma. By the time we were midway it began to hail and the ponds took on another unique color. At the end of the trail is a nice tourist trap souvenir shop with some local foods. The bus stop back to Inawashiro station is just across the street.
As soon as we arrived at Fukushima station we went out in search of the best Enban Gyoza (Pan fried dumplings) in town and found the highly recommended Yamame Restaurant. You have to get there early because they only make so many gyoza per day and then they close up shop when it is sold out. We made it just in time and it was so good.
Another great day exploring Fukushima Prefecture.