Aomori

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Aomori - Top of Honshu Island

Aomori is a prefecture located at the northern honshu island, and is within the Tohoku region. There are many historical sites from Jomon period which dates back 4000 – 5500 years ago.

Nebuta festival is one of the famous attractions here in Aomori, one of the largest festivals in Tohoku region attracting over 3 million visitors.

Aomori is also famous for delicious food, especially apples. The region produces the most number of apples in Japan and you can enjoy large sweet apples that you have never experienced.

Hirosaki Castle

Hirosaki Castle - 弘前城

Hirosaki Castle is located in Hirosaki City which is approximately 2 hours away from Aomori station. Hirosaki Castle is not as large compared to other major castles but is the only remaining castle in the Tohoku Area that was built during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

The original structure was 5 stories but was burnt down due to lighting in 1627. The structure was rebuilt in 1810 and was transformed to 3 stories.

The castle exhibits historical materials from the period under Tsugaru clan rule.

Hirosaki Park

Hirosaki Park - 弘前公園

With 2,600 cherry trees, Hirosaki Park is one of Japan’s three major cherry blossom spots. Many visitor locally and from other prefectures gather here to enjoy the picnic under the cherry trees. The lighting of trees at night are spectacular and cannot be missed.

During the cherry blossom season, around end of April, the rowboat rental service becomes available (1,000 yen for 60mins as of January 2020). Every year due to popularity there is always a line of people waiting to get on. The boat is small and allows maximum of 3 people. The view of cherry blossoms from the boat are beautiful and it is a fun way to enjoy Hirosaki Park.

Hachinohe

Hachinohe - 八戸市

Hachinohe is a city located in the east coast of Aomori prefecture. It is the 2nd largest city in Aomori and has many places for visitors to enjoy.

Kabushima Shrine (蕪嶋神社) is one of the famous locations to visit, being a place to pray for relationships and matchmaking. This shinto shrine has been protected as a National Natural Monument of Japan since 1922.

Miroku Yokocho is the most popular spot with over 20 tiny bars located in small side street. You can enjoy Hachinohe-style ramen which is a simple yet delicious soy sauce flavoured ramen.

Visit Hachinohe official tourism site here

Nebuta Festival

Nebuta Festival - ねぶた祭

The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri is a Japanese summer fire festival that takes place in Aomori in August 2nd to 7th every year.

Nebuta refers to the float of lanterns based on kabuki or brave historical warriors. These lanterns can measure anywhere from 30cm by 30cm, which kids can carry, to large designs measuring 5 meters by 10 meters. They are made with bamboo or wooden frames and covered with brightly colored paper mache.

These nebutas, together with nebuta dancers called Haneto, drummers and flutists parade through the city of Aomori.

Nebuta Festival attracts over 3 million visitors every year and is recognized as one of the three largest festivals in the Tohoku region.

Shirakami Sanchi

Shirakami Sanchi - 白神山地

Shirakami Sanchi is located on the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures and is a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area includes the last virgin forest of Siebold’s beech which in the past covered most of northern area of Japan.

Hiking is popular in this area and Anmon falls is a must-see spot. Anmon falls are three beautiful waterfalls that are blended in with the different colors of nature, creating a breathtaking mystical atmosphere. The trail to Anmon Falls is closed from late November to late April due to winter season.

You will need to get on a bus from Hirosaki station and will take a bit over 2 hours to get to Shirakami Sanchi.

Aomori Prefectural Museum

Aomori Prefectural Museum - 青森県立郷土館

Located approximately 15 minutes walk from Aomori station, Aomori Prefectural Art Museum (Aomori Kenritsu Bijutsukan) has eight permanent exhibition rooms and one special exhibition hall. You can learn the historical archaeological sites and artifacts of Aomori Prefecture. The collection of artifacts from the Jomon Period (BC10,000-BC400) is a must see.

There is also an experience zone for children to encourage an interest in the history and culture of Aomori.

Aomori Museum of Art

Aomori Museum of Art - 青森県立美術館

The museum opened in 2006 and exhibits contemporary artwork of Aomori creative artists.

The museum’s iconic symbol “The Aomori Dog” by Yoshimoto Nara is a concrete statue of a dog which measures 8.5 meters height. Many visitors purchase the piggy bank that has a shape of The Aomori Dog as a souvenir. The museum displays over 120 works from drawings to three-dimensional works by Yoshitomo Nara.

Furukawa Fish Market

Furukawa Fish Market - 古川市場・青森魚菜センター

Furukawa Fish Market, also known as Aomori Gyosai Center, is a popular destination to experience fresh seafood in Aomori. In the market, you can enjoy Nokke-don which is a do-it-yourself rice bowl dish. Visitors can buy a bowl of rice, then choose the seafood toppings such as tuna sashimi, salmon sashimi, sea urchins, and many more and create your own donburi rice bowl dish.

The market is located very close to Aomori station and will only take 5 minute walk.

Seiryu-ji

Seiryu-ji - 青龍寺

Seiryu-ji is one of the few new temples founded in Japan, been only built in 1982. There are two beautiful buildings to see at Seiryu-ji: Showa Daibutsu and Pagoda.

The Showa Daibutsu measures 21 meters in height, and is Japan’s tallest seated bronze statue of Buddha and is taller than the famous Daibutsu of Nara.

Pagoda in Seiryu-ji measures 39 meters and is the tallest wooden pagoda in the Tohoku region.

Seiryu-ji is located approximately 1 hour by train from Aomori station.

Jogakura Ohashi Bridge

Jogakura Ohashi Bridge - 城ヶ倉大橋

Jogakura Ohashi Bridge connects Tsugaru and Nambu regions. It is the longest deck arch bridge in Japan, stretching for 360 meters.

The scenic view around Jogakura Bridge is fabulous with nature and view of Jogakura Keiryu streams. The best time to visit this area is in Autumn season, where you can enjoy the scene of mixed color of leaves creating beautiful foliage view.

It is accessible via train and will take approximately 1.5 hours from Aomori station.

Jogakura Onsen

Jogakura Onsen - 城ヶ倉温泉

The Jogakura Onsen is located within Jogakura Hotel and is a popular destination for visitors. This hot spring is an open air bath which allows you to enjoy the bath while in beautiful nature scene. It can be enjoyed throughout the year with each season having it’s own unique scenary.

The bath is all natural water and helps with nerve pains, muscle aches, joint pains and body coldness.

You can visit the Jogakura Hotel website here

Sannai Maruyama Site

Sannai Maruyama Site - 三内丸山遺跡

It is one of Japan’s largest historical sites from Jomon period, believed to be from 4000 to 5500 years ago. The site was discovered in 1992 while excavating the area for construction. The site features several pit-houses and stilt-houses.

These historical architecture are designated as a National Special Historical Site of Japan.

It is located 15 minute bus ride from Aomori station.