Nobuo Serizawa, JAPAN Forward

The buzz over whether a white object observed hovering in the skies over Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures on the morning of June 17 was a UFO (unidentified flying object) or not is still fresh in our minds. When news like this gets around, a certain facility in Fukushima gets bombarded with calls about its identity.

That would be the UFO Fureaikan (UFO Friendship Center) in Fukushima’s Iinomachi district, a museum dedicated to UFOs.

Thousands of UFO related materials, such as classified CIA documents containing records of UFO research, are archived at the museum. As one staff member succinctly relates, “The facility is the only one in Japan that has a collection of materials related to UFOs.”

Photo by Nobuo Serizawa | © JAPAN Forward

Encounter an Alien Street Guide

Traveling southeast from the center of Fukushima City on National Highway 114, the landscape gradually shifts from residential to a richly green region surrounded by mountains. After about 15 minutes on a 10-kilometer ride along a mountain road, I spot a slightly strange signboard that says “UFO-no-Sato”.

Next, after getting off the highway and driving up a hill, I encounter an “alien street guide”. Now, it is definitely getting peculiar. Set into the landscape as if it is a UFO that landed on the mountainside, an octagonal building enshrined on the grounds becomes visible just ahead.

The UFO Fureaikan is a public facility that opened its doors in 1992. Built by the town of Iinomachi with assistance from the “Furusato Sosei” fund, a regional development fund that granted 100 million yen to local governments throughout Japan in 1988, it became part of Fukushima when the towns merged In 2008. Today it is managed by the Iinomachi Promotion Corporation Ltd.

By - Ben K.