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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 sulphurous hellscape of Osore-zan, 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.

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

Get ready to paddle in this big blue puddle!

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.

The miracle pine tree in Iwate remains a symbol of hope for those affected by the 2011 tsunami.

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.

Matsushima, Japan coastal landscape from Mt. Otakamori. Miyagi Prefecture

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.