Exploring Aomori: A Hidden Gem in Japan
Aomori, located at the northern tip of the main Honshu Island in Japan, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Known for its natural beauty, delicious food, welcoming locals, and historical sites, Aomori offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or a foodie, there are numerous things to do in Aomori to keep you busy.
Getting to Aomori
Aomori is easily accessible from the capital city of Tokyo, making it a convenient destination for travelers. You can reach Aomori by taking the JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo, which will get you to the main city of Aomori in just over three hours. Another option is to fly to one of the two Aomori airports, Misawa or Aomori, which have domestic routes connecting Aomori to major cities like Sapporo, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, and Tokyo.
Things to Do in Aomori
1. Explore Aomori City
Aomori City, the capital of Aomori Prefecture, is a port town with a rich history. While it may no longer be the main departure point to Hokkaido, it still offers plenty of attractions for visitors. One of the highlights is the annual Nebuta Matsuri summer festival, known for its spectacular floats and vibrant atmosphere. You can also visit the Sannai-Maruyama site, an archaeological site that provides insights into the region’s ancient past.
2. Discover Natural Landscapes
Aomori is blessed with breathtaking natural landscapes that are worth exploring. One of the must-visit destinations is Towada, famous for its caldera lake and stunning autumn colors. Take a stroll along the lake’s shore or hike through the surrounding forests to fully immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. For those seeking a more remote experience, Shimokita Hanto offers a rugged peninsula with Fear Mountain, perfect for adventurous souls.
3. Immerse in History at Hirosaki
Hirosaki, a former castle town in Northern Tohoku, is a historical gem in Aomori. The Hirosaki Castle, with its majestic cherry blossom trees, is a sight to behold during spring. Explore the castle grounds and take a leisurely walk through the surrounding park. Don’t miss the Hirosaki Neputa festival, where giant lantern floats parade through the streets, showcasing traditional art and culture.
4. Indulge in Local Delicacies
Aomori is known for its delectable food, and no visit is complete without trying the local specialties. Aomori apples are famous throughout Japan, and you can taste their crisp and juicy goodness in various forms, from whole apples to apple pies and desserts. Another must-try dish is Ichigo-ni, a rich soup with sea urchin and abalone, which originated from the beach cooking traditions of local fishermen.
5. Experience Traditional Crafts
Aomori is home to traditional crafts that showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage. Tsugaru lacquerware, characterized by its robustness and elegant appearance, is a testament to the craftsmanship of the local artisans. From tableware to smartphone cases, these lacquerware pieces are not only beautiful but also practical. Another traditional craft to explore is Tsugaru painted kites, depicting brave warriors and heroic figures from Japanese history.
Where to Stay in Aomori
When visiting Aomori, you’ll find a range of accommodation options to suit your preferences. Daiwa Roynet Hotel Aomori, a 4-star luxury hotel, offers comfortable rooms with city views and amenities such as a fitness center and a restaurant. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious stay or a cozy ryokan experience, Aomori has something to cater to every traveler’s needs.
Aomori, with its natural beauty, rich history, and delicious cuisine, is a hidden gem in Japan waiting to be discovered. From exploring the vibrant city of Aomori to immersing in nature’s wonders at Towada and experiencing the cultural heritage of Hirosaki, there is no shortage of things to do and see. So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to Aomori, where beauty and adventure await at every turn.
Additional Information: Aomori is also known for its colorful festivals, including the Aomori Nebuta, Hirosaki Neputa, and Goshogawara Tachineputa. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness these lively celebrations showcasing impressive floats and traditional art forms.