The limited amount of time that we spent in the city did not allow for much sightseeing, unfortunately, and most of our time was spent at the conference. It seems that many of the attractions of Fukushima are at least a short distance away from the central city (where we were), things like hiking and hot springs. Certainly a reason to go back! But we were able to wander through the city for a few hours and eat the best ramen of our lives so far.
As part of the conference, participants were given two of the famously delicious Fukushima apples. Yes, I ate them. And they were quite possibly the juiciest and best apples I’ve ever eaten in my life. The Fukushima mascot (in the background of the photo above) is a white rabbit named Momorin. Momorin is the name of a mountain that can be seen from the city and the mascot is a white rabbit because the two peaks of the mountain are often covered in snow and look like ears.
After the conference finished for the day, we decided against the fancy (and expensive) event that many of the participants and academics attended and opted to explore the city instead.
The second day was much shorter. Once the conference finished for the second day we went out to find some late lunch. We’d heard that the ramen in Fukushima is amazing so we found a restaurant, seemed to be a mum-and-pop shop type operation. Best ramen that any of us have had so far. Ramen has been my favourite food so far in Japan – those hot, buttery noodles are so good. These ones had another vegetable in them as well, maybe bamboo shoots.
A wooden counter ran all the way around the room, facing the huge pot and tray of meat so that you watched as your food was prepared. One of us didn’t eat because they weren’t feeling well, and the woman who took our orders offered them a bowl of just the broth, then produced two tiny mandarins from her apron pocket and offered them. When the offer was refused, she gave them to me. So tiny, and sweet.
Our bus didn’t leave until 10pm that night, overnight back to Osaka, so we kept wandering as the sun set. We found a secondhand shop crowded with kimono and all sorts of bits and pieces, saw masses of birds taking flight, walked almost to the outskirts of town and back before we had to catch the train back to Koriyama to wait for the bus and head homeward.