Goshiki-numa (五色沼), literally translated as “Five coloured ponds”, is a cluster of 5 small volcanic lakes that emerged after the eruption of Mount Bandai in 1888 and attracts tourists for its incredible beauty nowadays. Located In Fukushima prefecture, and it is a very good reason why you should consider visiting someday.
The Goshiki-numa Ponds Nature trail can be started from either Goshiki-numa Iriguchi or Urabandai Kogen, and is around 3 km one way, so it will take you around 50 min to walk from the beginning to the end unless you stop to take pics and enjoy the views (which you will do for sure, so allow yourself more than 1 hour to be able to fully enjoy your walk).
I started my walk from the Goshiki-numa Iriguchi, so my first lake to explore was Bishamon-numa. This marsh was named after the Buddhist deity Bishamon and it is the biggest of the 5 ponds that you can find along the trail. As a result of aluminum and silicate minerals, it has such a saturated cobalt blue color. While walking along the Bishamon-numa you can get a very pretty view on Mt. Bandai behind the lake surrounded by massive forests. Additionally, if you want to experience something more romantic, you can ride a cute white boat!
After some walk, I faced Aka-numa which basically means the red pond. Although it's not red, but actually more like lime green as it's a mixture of acids and neutralized by the alkaline water, it really surprised me by how different it was from the Bishamon-numa in terms of its color.
The third lake I got to see was Ao-numa – the blue pond. It was a small and lovely pond, and again, its color was totally different from the colors of the previous two lakes. It is a very light and vibrant blue, I'd even say turquoise. And from different angles you can actually see different shades of that beautiful color.
The next lake on my way was Benten-numa. Benten represents the goddess of wealth, happiness, wisdom and music. Indeed, Benten-numa delighted me with its beautiful sky blue color and a spectacular view on Mt. Agatsuma.
Finally, near to the end of the trail I reached the pond that amazed me the most–Midoro-numa. Midoro literally means mud and, because of that mud, the pond has a mixture of colors from vibrant light-blue to yellow-green. Honestly, I had to stop for a while and look more attentively, because at first I couldn't believe that I saw such a palette of colors in one pond! It looked like someone simply splashed different paints into the lake and they were slowly dissolving.
As a lake lover, I got to see many lakes in Japan, and they all amazed me with their beauty and clean water. But frankly speaking, ponds of Goshiki-numa totally won over me as they had the clearest water I've ever seen, and the colors were so bright and vibrant that they even seemed to be man made.
The Surrounding Area
Goshiki-numa is only a part of Urabandai Resort which offers you other activities and entertainments. For instance, apart from 5 small lakes of Goshiki-numa, there are 4 other and bigger lakes: Lake Akimoto, Lake Onogawa, Lake Sohara and the largest one – Lake Hibara, where you can ride a boat or enjoy fishing. There are also various camping grounds near the lakes and a bunch of walking or hiking trails where you can enjoy walking, jogging or riding a bicycle.
Speaking of hiking, you might consider climbing Mount Bandai which is an active volcano 1816m high. There are 6 different routes from different parts of the area and climbing season of this year officially opens on the 27th of May. Alternatively, you can also enjoy skiing on Mt. Bandai during winter.
The resort offers a range of different accommodations from big and luxury hotel to small, cozy and budget pensions. You can also find there some restaurants with local as well as international cuisine, and a couple of convenient stores.
In order to access Goshiki-numa and Urabandai Resort, first come to the Inawashiro Station which can be reached from Koriyama Station or Aizu-Wakamatsu Station by JR Ban-Estsusai line. Then take a local bus bound for Urabadai Kogen. The schedules for both weekdays and weekends are available in Japanese.
All-in-all, Urabandai is proper resort with a lot of facilities, activities and natural treasures offered. Despite that, it is not a very popular one and not that many tourists come there even during the Golden Week when Japanese have a holiday and tend to travel around. So what does it mean? It means you can have a calm walk, take a lot of nice pictures and fully enjoy the beauty of lakes and the volcano in peace and quiet!