Families Return to Japan's Fukushima No-Go Zone in Tamura

PHOTO: Kimiko Koyama, 69, was evacuated from Fukushima three years agoIssei Kato/Reuters
Kimiko Koyama, 69, who evacuated from the Miyakoji area of Tamura three years ago, dusts off her house after she returned to her home with her husband Toshio, 76, in Tamura, Fukushima prefecture, April 1, 2014.

Japanese families returned to their abandoned homes today for the first time in three years, after officials allowed residents to move back into a small district around the Fukushima plant.

Kimiko Koyama, 69, dusted off her house as teachers redecorated playrooms and volunteers removed ice and snow from a playground in Tamura, trying to turn the ghost town back into a neighborhood.

Japan's Nuclear Exclusion Zone Showed Few Signs of Life

The decision allowed more than 357 people in 112 houses across 12 miles to move back into the former no-go zone after the government determined radiation levels are safe enough for habitation.

Temporary visits to the zone were previously allowed.

But many evacuees are wary of returning, still uncertain of the radiation’s effect.

Is Japan's Fukushima Power Plant Still a Threat?

More than 100,000 people were displaced by the 2011 nuclear disaster after an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, spewing radioactive materials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PHOTO: A security guard holds a flag, which reads Please Stop!, as he stand by a steel gate at the border near FukushimaIssei Kato/Reuters
A security guard holds a flag, which reads "Please Stop!", as he stand by a steel gate at the border near Fukushima

PHOTO: Toddlers play at a nursery school in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, April 1, 2014Kyodo News/AP Photo
Toddlers play at a nursery school in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, April 1, 2014

PHOTO: Toshio Koyama, 76, was evacuated from Fukushima three years agoIssei Kato/Reuters
Toshio Koyama, 76, was evacuated from Fukushima three years ago