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.
Experiences with us
There has been a lot of media in this area, especially the red zone and we wanted to understand more about the disaster, what happened, how the community is repairing and what are the challenges. So it was excellent to find Real Fukushima tour. It is like being in our own documentary with real facts and up to date information. Our guide has lived in this area all his life and his knowledge, passion and scientific explanations were invaluable. It is impossible to describe the area, especially the red zone, and how people have been affected and the extent and scale of the disaster. It is a humbling experience and I recommend that it is a must do to really appreciate what happened and now the cleanup and ongoing issues and successes are happening in Fukushima. Thank you, this tour is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I can highly recommend this tour. The guide, being a local, has expert knowledge of the area and events and is very good at communicating in an informal and easy way.
The tour gives, in my opinion, an unsentimental and true story of what happened in Fukushima and how it affected people living there. As such it is an important part of contemporary history, not only for Japan, but for the rest of the world as well.
The official tour of Fukushima exclusion zone and around. This is as real as you can get to see what actually is happening inside the area years after the earthquake strucked.
The tour provides details and information of what had happened, what is happening now in the area.
The tour took 4-5 hours, during that time you will be exposed to certain degree of radio activity area. In which is not dangerous at all.
If you have seen Dark tourist, and interested in coming to see the area by yourself, don’t be afraid nothing as dramatic as in the show. This is the real thing, real fact, real lives, Real Fukushima.
I was lucky enough to find a tour company that is run by local residents trying to encourage people to see the real Fukushima, as opposed to what was depicted on the Dark Tourist show. If you wish to try with them please book your tour here, don’t forget to say that Travel Geek sent you 🙂 … and no I’m not on commission!
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
To join our standard tour, please come to Odaka Station. To join our custom-made 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 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. Google and Jorudan cover the bus timetable.
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, Jorudan or HyperDia.
Since the bus is a part of JR train services, you can use JR tickets/pass to ride. The fare between Namie and Tomioka is 410 yen.
Radiation Dose near the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant
The aerial radiation at the JR Odaka Station (15 km from Fukushima Daiichi NPP) is about 0.13 microsieverts per hour(μSv/h). It is a little over the level of New York but lower than Rome. Although it is much higher in parts of our region, your accumulated dose will be under 7μSv after our 4-5 hour tour. It is 5-10μSv for one time dental x-ray and more than 50μSv for a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York. We lend you a dose meter during our tour so that you can check your accumulated dose. The world average radiation dose from background radiation per year is 2400 μSv. Researchers say if you receive 100,000 μSv your death rate of cancer would rise 0.5% in your lifetime.
Chart of Radiation Doses
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Travel around Fukushima
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.