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A Journey through Eastern Japan to See Migratory Birds Like Swans and Winter Scenery!

There are many reasons to travel during winter,from winter sports to soaking in hot springs while enjoying snowy landscapes and savoring the winter delicacies.This itinerary focuses on visiting different winter wonderland spots, especially those frequented by migratory birds,like swans, which can only be seen during this season. Remember to dress warmly and adhere to local regulations, especially regarding feeding and interacting with wildlife.

From Morioka Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Koriyama Station, then transfer to a highway bus bound for Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. From there, another highway bus will take you to Niigata Station, and finally, you'll head to Sanjo by local train. During the snowy season, transportation schedules may experience delays or changes, so be sure to check in advance before traveling.

Morioka City ’ s Lake Gosho: A Lakeside Retreat with Sports Facilities, an Aquatic Botanical Garden, and Even Hot Springs! Enjoyment in Every Season!

Morioka City boasts a rich history as the former castle town of the Nanbu Domain,with a feudal domain of 200,000 koku (an ancientunit of measurement by output ofrice of a domain, approximately one koku is enough rice to feed a person for a year). Visitors can immerse themselves in its retro ambiance, visiting historical sites like the designated national historic site of Morioka Castle Ruins, the Meiji-era Iwate Bank Red Brick Building, and the temple-lined Teramachi Street. Morioka offers a diverse food culture, represented by the "Morioka San-dai Men" (three famous noodles), along with abundant walking spots. Among these,we willintroduce Lake Gosho, where you can enjoy the nostalgic charm of Morioka as well as the hot spring town of "Morioka Tsunagi Onsen” (pictured).

Recommended sight seeing spot
Lake Gosho
Lake Gosho is a dam lake created by damming the Shizukuishi River. Along its shores, you'll find sports facilities, an aquatic botanical garden, and traditional Southern-style curved houses, offering a wealth of casual and leisurely experiences.The spring is year-round a popular photo spot, in spring it is adorned with blooming cosmos flowers (pictured), while in winter, the frozen lake shore,home to the Shion statue crafted by Yasutake Funakoshi,offers a picturesque view of the snowy Mt. Iwate.With a 30-minute drive from Morioka city, you can enjoy a day trip at Morioka Tsunagi Onsen. Lake Gosho is also famous as a habitat for swans, with these graceful birds spending the harsh winter period from mid-December to mid-February here.Visitors can enjoy the winter scenery along with the sight of swans.

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Address: Around Tsunagiyu no Yakata, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture
Website:Morioka Tsunagi Onsen Tourism Association

Sakigawahama in Aizu - Wakamatsu City , A Winter Power Spot for Love, Where You Might Be Lucky Enough to See a ♡ Formed by Two Swans!

Aizu-Wakamatsu City is renowned not only for its cherry blossoms and autumn foliage but also for its enchanting winter landscapes.The city has many tourist sportsto visit; the striking contrast of the red tiles stand out the pristine white snowat Tsuruga Castle, the Aizu Samurai Residences offering special tours during the winter months, and Aizu Higashiyama Onsen, a hot spring innwith flowing hot springs designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Propertyby the Government. Some sake breweries also offer tours as they prepare for their production season. This time,we will showcase"Sakigawa Beach" (pictured), where you cansee abeautiful snowscapeof Mount Bandai.

Recommended sight seeing spot
Sakigawa Beach
Sakigawa Beach is located on the western shore of Lake Inawashiro and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Mt. Bandai in Aizu. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Inawashiro and the natural sandy beach provide majestic and refreshing scenery regardless of the season. In summer, it bustles with activities like barbecues, swimming, and jet skiing, while on clear winter days, visitors can behold the beautiful world of swans, snow-capped Mt. Bandai, and the shimmering blue lake. One of the winter traditions is the appe arance of swans, and when two swans face each other, forming a ♡ (heart) shape from head to neck, it is said to bring eternal love to the couple who witness this 'Lucky Bird' (pictured).

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Address: Around Minatomachi, Aizuwakamatsu Ci ty, Fukushima Prefecture

Niigata City's "Sakata": A Waterfowl Paradise Surrounded by Nature, Where Swans and Ducks Visit in Autumn and New Migratory Birds in Winter!

Niigata City is characterized by its abundance of spots that can be enjoyed even in inclement weather. Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai, the Niigata Prefectural Museum of Natural History featuring the largest planetarium on the Japan Seaside, and the Niigata Furusato Village offering a variety of fresh seafood and local products, there are plenty of facilities to enjoy even during the cold winter season. This time,we will introduce Sakata, where you can witness stunning scenerythat can only be seen during the harsh cold of winter. It's one of the numerous attractions that Niigata City offers.

Recommended sight seeing spot
Sakata
Sakata is a lagoon formed by water accumulating between two sand dunes (pictured) and is located approximately 20 kilometers west of the center of Niigata City.From around autumn, various species of swans and ducks migrate from the northern regions, attracting many visitors eager to capture photographs. As snow adorns the peak of Mt. Kakuda and the landscape turns monochrome, migratory bir ds arrive on the northern winds, gliding through the chilly air. Despite their graceful appearance, their cries and powerful wings echo the vigorof life.

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Address: Around 5404, Akatsuka, Nishi-ku, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture

Sanjo City's "Swan Village ": It All Started with Locals Feeding Swan, Now Meet Hun dreds of Swans Up Close During Peak Season!

There are many ways to enjoy the winter activities in Sanjo City,winter camping in the scenic Shitadago district surrounded by nature,or enjoying the snow-covered landscapes of Yagigahana. Additionally, it'sthe perfect seasonfor the local specialty:Sanjo Curry Ramen.Be sure to indulge inthis local piece of gourmet diningalongside your sightseeing adventures. One of the recommended winter spots in Sanjo City is "Hakucho-no-sato Park" (pictured), where swans visit every year. It's amust-seedestination for winter enjoyment.

Recommended sight seeing spot
Hakucho-no-sato Park
At Hakucho-no-sato Park (lit.‘Swan Village)in Sanjo City along the Igarashi River, visitors can observe swans migrate. It's rare for swans to fly to a river instead of a lake or pond, and the park opened as a city facility in 2013 (Heisei 25). Equipped with parking facilities and warm observation rooms with telescopes for viewing, it attracts many visitors during the season. During the day, the swans are said to forage in nearby rice fields, but in the early morning and evening, you can see them leisurely swimming in the Igarashi River. It's about a 40-minute bus ride from Higashi-Sanjo Station.

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Address: Morimachi, Sanjo City, Niigata Prefecture

Experience Winter with the Arrival of Migratory Birds , But Take Care to not Startl e Them Even If They Are Nearby!

Every year, migratory birds gather in flocks to the same placeto spend the winter.These spots have been places to see these birds returning to the same place for decades. Since they are wild birds,try to make as little noise as possible when they are nearby, and if you're feeding them,make sure you follow the rules of the area.It is important to especially avoid any actions like direct touchingto minimizerisks of disease transmission and enjoy the experience safely for everyone.