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

Aomori

The sprit of nature in the north

The northern tip of Tohoku, Aomori prefecture is the boundary between the known and unknown Japan.

From the pristine waters of Lake Towada to the last surviving virgin beech forest of Shirakami-Sanchi to the sulfurous hellscape of Mount Osore, people have long been drawn to Aomori prefecture’s other-worldly powers.

It’s a place where nature’s spirit is strongly felt.

Hot springs abound – an important source of restoration for those traveling north from the main island of Honshu to wild Hokkaido (which lies practically within touching distance across the Tsugaru strait). Rent a car if you can, it’s the best way to stumble upon Aomori’s therapeutic secrets.

Autumn Colors of Oirase River, located in Aomori Prefecture Japan

See the otherworldly autumn colors along Oirase River, Aomori.

Seasons are Aomori’s showcase. In spring, cherry blossom petal-filled moats around Hirosaki castle look like liquid bubblegum, while in autumn the valley between Towada and Oirase is a kaleidoscope of reds, golds and browns. During winter, you’ll spot wild snow monkeys bathing in the volcanic waters to warm up. In the summer, you can commune with the dead through blind mediums known as itako at the sacred Osorezan (Mount Osore) on the Shimokita Peninsula, also known as “Fear Mountain.”

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

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

The prefecture’s capital city is Aomori, a modern hub that offers convenient access to the rest of the region. Catch the famous Nebuta festival, one of Japan’s biggest, where giant floats are paraded through the streets along with dancing, drumming, drinking and other typical festival revelry. Aomori city is also a good place to hear tsugaru-jamisen, a virtuoso style of playing the three-stringed shamisen instrument. You can catch the ferry to Hakodate in Hokkaido from Aomori port (about 4 hours).

Aomori is famous for its apples, producing over half of the nation’s stock, and there are apple-related products everywhere across the prefecture. The apple juice is ridiculously good, and you might find it a challenge to stop yourself from scoffing a Kininaru Ringo whole baked apple pie in one go. Besides apples, Aomori has a few more local dishes instore, including horse meat!

If you haven’t had your fill of fresh food yet, wandering the backstreets and shorelines of Aomori’s capital city, Hachinohe is a must. The city offers local fare and some fun nightlife.

Places to visit

Aomori city Nebuta festival giant float

Aomori City

How do you like them apples?

Sea Moss Near Kabuto Rock At Senjojiki

Senjojiki Beach

For wanderers and adventures, this rugged locale is vital.


Oirase Stream

30 reasons to waterfall in love.

Furukawa Fish Market

A local culinary experience: Make your own “Nokke-don” with the freshest seafood in Northern Japan.


Lake Towada

Lake Towada

Get ready to paddle in this big blue puddle!

Tatehana Wharf Morning Market

Wake up early to catch freshly caught fish and local food and goods in Aomori's second-largest city.


Hirosaki Castle

Five ways to view cherry blossoms at northern Japan’s favorite sakura-viewing park.

Mount Osore

A bewitching natural underworld, hidden at the tip of Aomori.


Hachinohe

The doorway to Aomori. The city with a little bit of everything.

Shirakami-Sanchi in Aomori Prefecture

Shirakami Sanchi

Your dream hike awaits!


Hakkoda Mountains

Powder snow and the bath of 1,000 bathers.

Jodogahama Beach in Iwate.

Michinoku Coastal Trail

Hike alongside the Pacific Ocean and witness the beauty and scars of Tohoku.


Aomori Food composite

5 Famous Foods You’ll Find in Aomori

Food for the soul during the tough winter, from milky ramen to senbei soup.

Hachinoe Sansha Taisai - Floats (14)

Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival

When the streets turn into the ultimate Japanese variety show.


What are Tengu?

Nebuta Festival

Cool off in Aomori this summer and dance among giant floats at Japan’s most iconic festival.

Other Destinations in Tohoku

Lake Towada in Autumn, in Aomori and Akita, Japan

Akita

The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it.

To-no-hetsuri in Fukushima, Japan

Fukushima

Ignore the bad press or miss out on this boundless, breathtaking natural landscape.

Genbikei Gorge

Iwate

The local people say that Iwate is a place where you forge your own path. Take their advice and enjoy this re-emerging—and rewarding—destination.

Date Masamune in Sendai Miyagi Japan

Miyagi

With vibrant Sendai at its core, Miyagi makes the ideal base for exploring the remote corners of Tohoku.

Find poetic inspiration at Yamadera Mountain Temple in Yamagata

Yamagata

Winter is coming. But so is spring, summer and fall at this rewarding year-round destination.

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Aichi

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People eating and drinking in Yurakucho Tokyo Japan.

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