Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Aomori
Population
1,475,635

Aomori City

How do you like them apples?

Though Aomori Prefecture’s most beautiful sights are found in its extensive natural environment, don’t underestimate its small but fierce capital city. Every summer the city explodes with the spirited sounds of the Nebuta Matsuri, one of the best festivals in Japan. Nebuta can be appreciated year-round in the Nebuta Warasse, just one of Aomori city’s stellar museums and galleries.

The summer Nebuta festival in Aomori city features giant floats parading through the street at nighttime.

The Nebuta float parade is one of Japan’s biggest summer festivals.

Nebuta is the city’s claim to fame, and every year from August 2-7 it draws audiences up to literally ten times the size of the local population. Recognized as one of the best festivals in Tohoku and all of Japan, it’s a solid week of frenzied parade fun.

Dazzling 30-foot floats, featuring everything from mythical gods to Star Wars characters, are marched through the streets on the backs of small armies of float bearers. They’re accompanied by taiko drummers, flutists, announcers with microphones, and teams of dancers known as haneto. The haneto dance and chant are extremely easy to pick up, and anyone is welcome to join in the festivities: just rent or buy the costume, and you can jump in front of the floats to your heart’s content.

Close to the station there’s the Nebuta Warasse, where floats from previous years are displayed. Visit the Furukawa Fish Market for lunch, where you can turn your dream sashimi donburi into reality, by purchasing a set of tickets and selecting your toppings fresh from the market vendors.

Furukawa Fish Market in Aomori city

Photo by: Joyce Wan Head to Furukawa market for a fresh fish lunch.

Aomori has Japan’s highest production of apples, so stop in at the tourist centre ASPAM or souvenir shop A-FACTORY to pick up some tasty apple-themed confections.

A 20-minute bus ride away, the Aomori Museum of Art is worth a visit for any contemporary art fan. Aomori Prefecture is the birthplace of Yoshitomo Nara, one of the leading artists of Japan’s pop art movement, and many of his works are on display in the museum—including a towering dog statue punnily named Aomori-Ken.

A short walk away from the museum lies the Sannai Maruyama Archaelogical Site, a well-preserved village from the ancient Jomon Period. Check out the informative museum and ongoing excavation site for rare insight into Japan’s early history.

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How To Get There

Address

Aomori, Aomori Prefecture, Japan

By train

The trip from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori on the Shinkansen Hayabusa takes 3 hours and costs ¥17,150. If coming from Hokkaido, the Shinkansen trip from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto takes 1 hour and costs ¥7,160. From there, you need to take the local train one stop to reach Aomori Station in the city centre.

By bus

Highway buses from Tokyo to Aomori take 11-12 hours, and can cost ¥5,000-9,500 for a one-way ride.

By boat

Aomori can be reached from Hakodate, Hokkaido, in 4 hours by ferry (¥1500-4000 one way).

Where To Stay

Richmond Hotel Aomori
  • Nagashima 1-6-6 Aomori-Shi, Aomori 030-0861
  • 8.8/10
  • 0.2 km
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Smile Hotel Aomori
  • Hon-cho 2-4-7 Aomori-Shi, Aomori 030-0802
  • 7.2/10
  • 0.4 km
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Hotel 2135
  • Hashimoto 2-13-5 Aomori-Shi, Aomori 030-0823
  • 7.7/10
  • 0.5 km
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Aomori Washington Hotel
  • Honcho 2-1-26 Aomori-Shi, Aomori 030-0802
  • 7.7/10
  • 0.6 km
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