“We Love Fukushima”, Koriyama, Fukushima, Japan

I made my way to Koriyama from Sendai via Shinkansen Yamabiko to continue my travel across Tohoku Region. In between these two cities is Fukushima City, the center of the 2011 nuclear plant disaster, where the train made a brief stop to board and disembark passengers. I was surprised to see that there were quite a lot of people who might be still living in the city despite the proximity to the damaged plant and the knowledge of the health risk of radiation exposure.

How is it to live in a place where everyone is fleeing away from? Do you stay because it is the only place you knew home, despite the looming ambiance of uncertainty and fear? I wondered as I look at the train platform where a couple holding a baby stroller was waiting for their train.

After 14 minutes, I finally arrived at my chosen base for my Fukushima exploration- Koriyama City.
koriyama

Located only 55km away from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant, the city of Koriyama was exempted from the 30km forced mandatory evacuation, though some has chosen to leave despite what the government press release of safety.
koriyama

For those who decided to stay, obviously life continues as usual, but maybe there are certain things that will never be the same again. I stayed only for two days,in Koriyama, definitely not in the position to judge what the town people were feeling or thinking, but based on what I have seen I can confidently say this- they love their town, they love Fukushima.
koriyama

The main road of Sakura Dori was closed for traffic. People are patiently waiting on the sideline for the parade. This kind of program possibly not only a mere once in a while town celebration but now a usual activity with an intention of offering a moment for town people to smile.
koriyama
koriyama

The costumes were not as fancy as the other festival I have seen in Japan, but the performers’ effort to cheer up the town people is so overwhelmingly genuine.
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama

Flags of different sizes and design were waved, a truck carrying a speaker for the performers music leading the way, dancers wearing a simple t-shirt costume only – all of them has one message only “We love Fukushima”.
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama

The whole parade lasted for an hour. It was simple yet done in a spirit of good intentions.
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama

In front of the JR Koriyama Station,several booth selling local produce were setup and families are enjoying both snacks and the good weekend weather.
koriyama
koriyama

Designated as one of Fukushima prefecture “core city”, Koriyama is pleasant town to see.
From the tall building of Big-I, to the fashionable streets of Motomachi and the autumn shades at Nyohoji Temple, the city has a lot to offer and a good base in case you plan a Fukushima prefecture exploration.
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama
koriyama

There are a lot of uncertainty about the radiation and the long term health effect on those who chooses to stay. I hope one day soon, Koriyama, the neighboring town and the whole Tohoku Prefecture will be able to heal completely from the tragedy of last year.

This is the end of my Tohoku Region exploration for now. I hope with this platform, I was able to convince you to help in the recovery of the region by doing what all of us love the most- traveling.

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24 thoughts on ““We Love Fukushima”, Koriyama, Fukushima, Japan

  1. I lived in Koriyama for 4 years, these are great photos to expose this beautiful city. I was there again last year and was sad to see that many shops had closed but there is still a good proportion of people willing to remain. Thank you for this great blog Orchid.

    1. Hi Ben,

      Thank you as well! I am glad that you like this blog post.
      Koriyama is an amazing city. It breaks my heart whenever I remember my trip last year, seeing the many closed shops and the unexplained sadness that looms in the air. But then again, I admire the resiliency of people who chooses to remain. Koriyama and Tohoku region occupies a special spot in my heart and I always consider it as one of the best travel that I did in Japan.

      Nice meeting you Ben!

  2. Orchid, do you have a profile? How long have you been in Japan, do you write these bolgs for a newspaper or magazine?

    1. Hi Ben,

      I been in Japan for two years for work reason and I travel across the country whenever I had a chance.
      It will be a dream come true to write for newspaper or magazine but for now, I find much happiness sharing my stories and photo via this blog 🙂

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