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Ecotouring in Urabandai

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What is Urabandai?

Urabandai refers to the area of land behind Mt. Bandai. It is the nickname of the highland which encompasses the village of Kita Shiobara and the town of Bandai. This highland was formed in 1888 (Meiji 21) when a landslide triggered by Mt. Bandai’s eruption blocked a river. It is an area with upwards of 300 lakes and marshes, and situated at an elevation of 800 meters.

Bandai Asahi National Park

This park is located in Urabandai, in the north of the Aizu Basin, and covered in snow for half of the year. With its beautiful seasonal changes (featuring Asian Skunk Cabbage in spring, lush green summer forests, colorful autumn foliage, and majestic white winters) it was designated as a national park in 1950 (Showa 25). It is famous for the Goshiki Ponds—five ponds with different colors—and large lakes such as Lake Hibara, Lake Onogawa, and Lake Akimoto.

History

Even today in the northern parts of the Hibara settlement you can see the Aizu-Yonezawa Highway—which Masamune Date (1567-1626), a general during the Warring States Period, used when Aizu was under attack—and the remnants of a castle. The artisans who sculpted the wood used as the base in Aizu lacquerware works—famed for their bright red hue—also lived in this area. Their wooden huts are reminiscent of bygone times and ways of life.

Many Ways to Enjoy Nature and Culture

There are 19 courses that cross the Urabandai Highland, connecting its forests and lakes. Presently, Urabandai is the sole area in the prefecture where the principles of ecotourism is practiced. It has roads tailored specifically to assist in the experiencing of the area’s rich nature, culture, and history. Tour guides and lodging owners provide a wide range of activities fit for both beginners and experts alike.

Broaden Your Horizons

In the areas surrounding Urabandai are the towns of Inawashiro and Bandai, and the cities of Aizu-Wakamatsu and Kitakata, each with its abundant nature, distinct culture, and history. We encourage you to come and stay a while in Urabandai and the rest of the Aizu region.