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Photo By: iStock/Sean Pavone
Largest City

Aomori Bay

Where bridge and boardwalk meet music and museums. The Aomori Bay area has food, culture and fun.

By Joshua Meyer

With the Aomori City harbor on one side and Tsugaru Peninsula on the other side, Aomori Bay is a nexus of Nebuta floats and shamisen music, towered over by one of the prefecture’s longest bridges.

Nebuta Museum Aomori

Photo by: Joshua Meyer All lit up.

Aomori is famous for its lantern-lit Nebuta Festival, which traditionally draws up to three million visitors annually. However, several prominent landmarks are within the city’s bayside area, including the triangle-shaped Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center, ASPM and the soaring Aomori Bay Bridge, designed to convey a similar “A for Aomori” appearance with its suspension cables.

Strolling along the boardwalk will take you right up next to the bridge, which has a windy lookout point and an open-air promenade accessible via stairs. From it, you’ll have an elevated view of the Hakkoda-Maru Memorial Ship, which once ferried passengers and trains across the bay to Hokkaido. It now serves as a museum, complete with intact railway cars in its lower hold.

Photo by: Joshua Meyer Hakkoda-Maru from a different perspective.

Waves from the bay lap up against the artificial “A-Beach,” short for Aomori Ekimae (“Station-Front”) Beach. The Nebuta Museum and A-Factory market bound the beach, both popular tourist spots where you can see parade floats from the festival on display and sip cider produced in-house with local Aomori apples.

Outside the museum, where the sand ends and the pavement begins, you’ll often find shamisen players drawing a small crowd among the various food vendors. The music offers a hint of history across the bay on the eastern coast of the Tsugaru Peninsula.

Tsugaru Peninsula

Photo by: iStock/ Moarave Aomori Central Pier

Aomori Bay is within Honshu’s northernmost gulf, making up part of the larger Mutsu Bay and offering a window to Hokkaido through the Tsugaru Strait. Among other things, the Tsugaru Peninsula is the birthplace of author Osamu Dazai, who immortalized the area in his travelogue Return to Tsugaru: Travels of a Purple Tramp.

The Tsugaru Peninsula also gave rise to the well-known tsugaru-shamisen (sometimes called tsugaru-jamisen) a genre of music, noted for its faster, more percussive style of playing. Another venue where you can hear this type of string music live is the Nebuta-no-Kuni Takakyu izakaya restaurant, east of Aomori station.

Fish from Aomori Bay once helped sustain the Jōmon people, whose ancient settlements can still be visited at archeological sites further inland in Tsugaru or at the head of the bay in Aomori’s Sannai-Maruyama Site. With so much history and culture surrounding it, Aomori Bay is a worthwhile stopover on any visit to Aomori Prefecture.

How To Get There


By train

Take the Hayabusa bullet train on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen line from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori station for approximately 3.5 hours. Transfer to a local or limited express train for Aomori station (5 minutes). The Aomori bayside area is a 1-minute walk from the station.

By bus

Take an overnight bus from Tokyo station Yaesu Exit Bus stop No. 3 to Aomori station Bus stop No. 8.

By car

Aomori Bay is about an 8.5-hour drive from Tokyo station.

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Aomori Ekimae
  • 1-1-24 Shimmachi, Aomori-shi, Aomori, 030-0801 Japan
  • ¥7,020 - ¥23,400
  • 4.04/5 (1,014 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Hotel Sunroute Aomori
  • 1-9-8 Shimmachi, Aomori-shi, Aomori, 030-0801 Japan
  • ¥7,000 - ¥18,000
  • 0.5 km
Hotel Mystays Aomori Station
  • 1-8-6 Shimmachi, Aomori-shi, Aomori, 030-0801 Japan
  • ¥6,147 - ¥45,360
  • 4.11/5 (6,094 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
APA Hotel Aomori-Ekimae
  • 1-11-2 Yasukata, Aomori-shi, Aomori, 030-0803 Japan
  • ¥7,100 - ¥33,400
  • 3.76/5 (778 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Hotel JAL City Aomori
  • 2-4-12 Yasukata, Aomori-shi, Aomori, 030-0803 Japan
  • ¥8,370 - ¥23,400
  • 4.38/5 (2,956 reviews)
  • 0.6 km

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