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

Resort Shirakami

Covered by the JR Pass, this picturesque train ride takes you on a journey through Japan’s most untouched prefectures.

Get a real-life glimpse into the world described in Oku no Hosomichi by the famous Japanese poet Matsuo Basho on the scenic Resort Shirakami trains. These extensive lines travel through the valleys and small villages of Japan’s northern Tohoku region, which is nearly overlooked by most tourists. 

Moreover, the affordability and convenience of the Japan Rail Pass make traveling around Tohoku by train arguably one of the most economical options for exploring the area. 

A scenic ride

Resort Shirakami

The Senjojiki Rock Seaside is just one of the sights you’ll see from the Resort Shirakami.

Connecting Akita and Aomori prefectures via a five-hour ride, the Resort Shirakami train is a breathtaking line that runs alongside both the Sea of Japan and the Shirakami Sanchi highlands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Although there are several scenic train lines in Tohoku, Resort Shirakami stands out not only for the panoramic views but also for its immersive cultural experiences. Brief explanations in both Japanese and English offer insight into the history of the breathtaking natural formations that characterize the area. 

One of the best parts of the ride is that the train slows down at picturesque stops for photo-ops. You can see jagged rock formations jutting out from the ocean in front of you from the wide windows. From the flooded rice paddies and neat rows of leafy vegetables, local farmers with patterned hats often rise from their work to give you a gentle wave. 

Resort Shirakami trains

Resort Shirakami

The KiHa 48 Buna.

Resort Shirakami operates three different trains: Buna, Aoike, and Kumagera. The Buna train is particularly recommended because it includes the Oraho counter, a special carriage that sells food, drinks, and souvenirs from the towns that line the route. 

The trains’ interior was designed with locally sourced Akita sugi (cedar) and Aomori hiba (cypress) trees. Even the color scheme of the seats pays homage to Tohoku’s many summer festivals. Passengers can catch a glimpse of a live traditional shamisen performance and listen to folktales told in Tsugaru-ben, a dialect native to western Aomori. Sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Things To Know

Japan Rail Pass

The JR Pass covers this train line, but seats must be reserved in advance. For those without a special pass, the fare is ¥5,040 between Akita and Aomori stations and takes about five hours.  Check out our JR Pass guide for more info!

Local attractions

Travelers wanting to explore Aomori’s Juniko Lakes, famous for its cobalt blue Aoike Pond (Map), should get off at Juniko Station and take the 15-minute bus ride from there. 

Taking the Resort Shirakami train is also recommended for those wanting to go to Hirosaki Castle’s famous cherry blossom festival in spring. 

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒038-2793 Aomori, Nishitsugaru-gun, Ajigasawa, Nagadairamachi, Azanishiiwakiyama, 鯵ヶ沢高原

By train

Resort Shirakami runs daily between Akita and Aomori stations.

Where To Stay

Rockwood Hotel & Spa
  • Nakuashirakamihoteruandorizo-To, Nishitsugaru-gun Ajigasawa-machi, Aomori, 038-2793 Japan
  • ¥19,250 - ¥44,000
  • 3.65/5 (442 reviews)
  • 0.0 km

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