THE VILLAGE OF FOUR SEASONS
Situated on the outskirts of Fukushima City, in a picturesque setting surrounded by forest and fields and with the majestic silhouette of Mount Azuma-kofuji towering in the distance, is Shiki no Sato, or as it is also known, The Village of Four Seasons. The park, which was created in 1995 by Fukushima City, encompasses eight hectares of lawns and gardens, providing a peaceful environment in which one can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The Village of Four Seasons' original purpose was to be a form of support for local agricultural producers. Even now, one of the ongoing attractions at the park is the fruit and vegetable market which occurs daily from spring through autumn, where local farmers can set up stalls in the "Farmers Market" for a mere fee of 500 yen. Enticing passersby with fresh pear and peach segments, the farmers do a roaring business selling fresh fruit, crisp vegetables and pickles at market prices.
In addition to the market, Shiki no Sato also features the Asahi Beer Hall which enjoys great popularity over the summer months, when it is overflowing with merrymakers enjoying the fine weather in beautiful surroundings with a good barbecue and cold beer. Such is demand during this period that, in order to secure a table, patrons must book well in advance.
Also a big drawcard is the Village of Four Seasons' home-made ice cream, said by many to be the best in town. The flavours sold at the ice cream shop have a seasonal theme - while non-fruit flavours like vanilla, chocolate and sesame are produced year round, other flavours such as peach, sweet potato and lavender are available only in summer, grape, pumpkin and blueberry in autumn, fuji apple and mandarin in winter and strawberry in spring. The ice creams are made with fresh, and where possible, locally produced ingredients.
Local craftsmen can be seen at work in the Craft House, which features masters in glass blowing and kokeshi doll making. Three glass blowers use the building as their base, with their works, including colourful glasses, vases, ornaments and stained glass hangings, on sale at the Craft House's shop. The craftsmen can be seen in action every day except Monday, attracting crowds of observers as they deftly create one masterpiece after another. For a fee of 3000 yen, it is even possible to try glass blowing under a professional's guidance. The facility also offers classes on glass etching and kokeshi painting, both of which can be enjoyed at a cost of 1000 yen.
The Village of Four Seasons is an ideal venue for large events, with an annual event being the seasonal festivals. The Spring Festival, which is held over the Children's Day holiday weekend, features appearances by popular chil
dren's cartoon characters and koi nobori (the traditional Children's Day practice of flying flags in the shape of carp). The Summer and Winter Festivals are also aimed at children, whereas the Autumn Festival revolves around food, with a variety of stalls set up within the park selling all manner of food. Other main events held at the park have included Fukushima TV's Fukushima Big Fair, a festival held over three days to promote local products, and Fukushima Prefecture's New Zealand Fair held in August 1997, both events managing to draw crowds in the tens of thousands.
Situated a short distance away from other popular attractions
in Fukushima such as the Minka-en and Mizubayashi park, the
Village of Four Seasons is easily accessible by both car and bus,
located only 30 minutes from JR Fukushima Station's West exit just
off Highway 115. For more information about upcoming events, or for
enquiries about holding an event at the park, contact details are:
phone 024-593-0101 and fax 024-593-0104.