Largest City


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

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.

Mount Osore

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

Hakkoda Mountains

Powder snow and the bath of 1,000 bathers.

Hirosaki Castle

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

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.

Jodogahama Beach in Iwate.

Michinoku Coastal Trail

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

Shirakami-Sanchi in Aomori Prefecture

Shirakami Sanchi

Your dream hike awaits!


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

Tatehana Wharf Morning Market

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

Lake Towada

Lake Towada

Get ready to paddle in this big blue puddle!

Furukawa Fish Market

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

Oirase Stream

30 reasons to waterfall in love.

Sea Moss Near Kabuto Rock At Senjojiki

Senjojiki Beach

For wanderers and adventures, this rugged locale is vital.

Aomori city Nebuta festival giant float

Aomori City

How do you like them apples?

Other Destinations in Tohoku

Godzilla Rock Oga, Akita Japan


The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it. Watch out for Godzilla though.

To-no-hetsuri in Fukushima, Japan


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

Genbikei Gorge


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


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

Yamadera Temple in Yamagata is a good hiking and autumn spot in Japan.


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

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya, Japan city skyline, Aichi Prefecture


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

People eating and drinking in Yurakucho Tokyo Japan.


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.


Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.