Soso is the name of the northeastern region of Fukushima Prefecture. Despite the name, it is far from average and a wonderful place to be.
To join our tour, please come to Haranomachi, Odaka, Namie, or Tomioka Station. We will pick you up there. If you have JR Pass, take Shinkansen to Sendai and come down to Haranomachi/Odaka by local train. It will take three hours from Tokyo. If not, take a JR train from Tokyo on the Joban Line for the cheapest. The railway between Tomioka and Namie is closed but you can use the interim bus service below.
Points of Interest
Usage: Open this webpage with your smart phone and click square icon on the upper right corner of the map above. Your google map app will navigate you to the Points Of Interest.
Driving through Red Zone
You are not allowed to enter red zone, but you can pass through it on designated roads. The roads marked with a blue or green below are open to the public and can be used without special permission. Walking and riding a bicycle, motorcycle, or other two-wheeled vehicle is banned. However, motorcycles over 125 cc can use the Joban Expressway marked in green. (Please note that the expressway is a toll road.)
Bus across the red zone
JR Joban Line extends from Ueno station in Tokyo to Sendai station in Miyagi through coastal area of Fukushima. Train services between Tomioka and Namie are expected to resume in March 2020. Until then, interim bus services go up and down eleven times a day between the stations as follows. Italic typeface below shows the bus timetable (in Japanese here) and the other times are part of the train timetable that connects to the bus during weekdays. Please confirm the times on Google or HyperDia.
Since the bus is a part of JR train services, you can use JR tickets/pass/Suica to ride. The fare between Namie and Tomioka is 410 yen.
|Depart Namie by bus||7:40||10:30||16:28||17:30||19:15|
|Arrive at Tomioka by bus||8:10||11:00||16:58||18:00||19:45|
|Depart Tomioka by bus||6:55||10:15||11:30||16:59||18:20||20:20|
|Arrive at Namie by bus||7:25||10:45||12:00||17:29||18:50||20:50|
*times in bold italics are by bus
Experiences with us
It was an absolutely impressive and recommendable tour. The guide was so awesome and she spoke English very well. Fukushima and also the contaminated area have such a nice nature. I think it is very important to show this place to get the people to know about the risks and consequences of nuclear power. And that is why it is necessary to keep some of the buildings and places to memories the people, also after the evacuation zone will be recultivated again. But especially for foreigners I want to say Fukushima is not just a nuclear contaminated zone it is also a really nice place to stay with beautiful nature and very cordially citizens.
It was quite a surreal feeling being in the evacuation zone. It is one thing to hear about it on the news, but quite another to actually experience this on the ground in person. I was shocked at how deserted the evacuation-lifted areas were, especially Namie. Driving through the evacuation zone was quite eye-opening, and really gave me a sense of what is currently unfolding in the area in regards to the ongoing radiation issue. The one place that really left an impression on me was the town of Namie, mainly due to the fact that you can feel that people suddenly packed up and left one day, leaving behind everything. It is actually quite eerie.
Karin has a masters degree in International Politics, speaks excellent English and was eager to welcome me to the Evacuation Zone and show me around. She had recently opened the Lantern House, a Bed & Breakfast guest house, right in Odaka (小高町), just 15 kilometers from the nuclear power station. Over the course of the following weeks we carefully planned my visit to the Evacuation Zone. I had never expected to run into someone as dedicated and knowledgeable as Karin. She knows all the data, all the places and all the people. When I came up with the idea to maybe do some short interviews with former evacuees, she arranged a meeting with Katsumi Anbe, a city government official who was the head of the Odaka ward education office before the disaster. On October 15, 2017 I stepped off the train and was picked up by Karin, who drove me to the Lantern House. I fell asleep in a big, beautiful Tatami room and was greeted by a home-made breakfast early in the next morning.
→One Man, One Map
Radiation Dose near the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant
The aerial radiation at the JR Odaka Station (15 km from Fukushima Daiichi NPP) is about 0.00013 millisieverts per hour. It is a little over twice the level of New York, but if you were to stay there for one hundred hours, your total radiation exposure would only reach that of one dental x-ray(0.01 mSv). The world average radiation dose from background radiation per year is 2.4 millisieverts. Researchers say if you receive 100 millisieverts your death rate of cancer would rise 0.5% in your lifetime.
Chart of Radiation Doses
Last March I had the sincere privilege of touring the Fukushima exclusion zone and surrounding communities with Mr. Sasaki. He was kind enough to take time out of his very busy schedule on fairly short notice to give me a very thoughtful and candid tour of the area and for this I am deeply appreciative. […]
The tour within the exclusion zone of Fukushima prefecture was a completely unique experience, put together and guided by the exceptional team of Karin and Shuzo. Staying within the exclusion zone is not allowed, but Karin operates the beautiful Lantern House located in Odaka, which was within the exclusion zone until April 2017. Odaka is […]
Around the same time last year, Aizu-Wakamatsu in Fukushima was the highlight of my Japan trip so I thought that for my trip this year, I should return again to Fukushima. The Real Fukushima website popped up during my travel research and the next thing I know is that I scored myself a private tour […]
Fukushima means Lucky Island
Fukushima Prefecture has had a lot of attention in the media for the past five years, and not for the right reasons. I realised how little information there was on the Prefecture in English (except for that relating to 3.11) when trying to research for my dissertation at university, so I am really happy to have the opportunity to help my readers rediscover Fukushima.
→ Visit Rediscover Fukushima.
We were there before, during, and after the triple disaster and it really hurts to hear people have an uneducated view of Fukushima.
→ Visit This is Fukushima.
Aizu is a beautiful mountainous region in western Fukushima within easy reach of Tokyo. There are over twenty individual ski and snowboard areas in the region offering a huge range of varying terrain, excellent powder snow conditions and also often un-crowded slopes.
→ Visit Aizu Ski.