TOHOKU EASTERN JAPAN 東北 the prefecture

The Tohoku region is an area that consists of Aomori Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture, Akita Prefecture,
Yamagata Prefecture, Fukushima Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture.
It occupies about 30 percent of the area of Honshu Island.
It is well known for its countryside, mountains, lakes, hot springs, high quality rice and rough winters.

青森 AOMORI

The northernmost region of Tohoku and of Honshu, the prefectures stunning natural beauty, cultural attractions remain unspoiled by mass tourism, where traditional industries still thrive.

Tokyo Station Shinkansen 3:20 hrs Shin-Aomori Station Local Train 10 mins Aomori Station on foot 5 min

Nokke-don (Furukawa Market)

Best Season

Nokke-don (or Katte-don) is a Japanese dish with rice and seafood. You can make your own Nokke-don by your choice of sushi fish from selection of The Furukawa Fish Market. Make your own culinary masterpiece at the Furukawa Fish Market!

Bus 1 hrs

Sukayu Hot Spring

Best Season

Just one hour by bus from Aomori Station, the Sukayu Hot-spring is a unique hot spring you can’t miss!
Not only famous for its sulfuric waters, but also known for its "1,000-person bath," a large mixed gender public bath; Suyaku Hot Springs is one of Japan's most atmospheric and traditional indoor baths.

on foot 5 min Aomori Station Local Train 10 min Shin-Aomori Station Local Train 30 min Hirosaki Station Bus 15 min

Hirosaki Castle

Best Season

With picture perfect scenery between late April to the beginning of May, over 2500 cherry trees are planted on the castle grounds, ideal for a picnic.
During the evening and night, the castle’s cherry blossom trees are illuminated to cast a wonderful pink glow over the surrounding area, perfect for late night strolls.

Bus 15 min Hirosaki Station Local Train 30 min Shin-Aomori Station Shinkansen 3:20 hrs Tokyo Station

MUST SEE SIGHT Rice Paddy art

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Using a rice paddy as the canvas, the villagers cultivate and use different varieties of rice to create giant pictures in the rice fields.
The striking murals have garnered media interest around the world; in 2015, there were more than 340,000 visitors at the village to appreciate the beauty of the paddy fields.

青森 AOMORI

Cherry blossoms in the spring, beaches in the summer, colorful foliage in fall, skiing and snowboarding in winter— any season is the right season to enjoy Iwate!

Tokyo Station Shinkansen 2:20 hrs

Wanko Soba (Morioka Station)

 

Wanko Soba is one of Japan’s traditional soba noodle experiences. When visiting Morioka or Hanamaki station you can find special restaurants dedicated to this cultural experience.
A sever presents bite-sized servings of Soba noodles into your bowl until you tell them to stop. The average number of servings for females is 50 bowls and 70 bowls for males! How many bowls can you eat?

Local Train40min Hanamaki Station Shuttle bus 30min Hiraizumi Station Rental cycle 2hrs

Hiraizumi

 

Hiraizumi was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage in 2011. The whole town is full of temples established by the Fujiwara clan, rulers of northern Japan during the Heian Period (794 – 1185). Explore the beauty of Hiraizumi’s most famous temples: Chuson-ji Temple, the most famous temple, renowned for its Golden Hall and Motsu-ji Temple known for its beautiful Heian-era Pure Land Garden.

Rental cycle 2hrs Hiraizumi Station Local Train 10 min Ichinoseki Station Local Train 35 min

Geibikei Gorge

Best Season

Geibikei Gorge’s namesake "Geibi" means "lion’s nose," named for the rock that it resembles, by the entrance of the gorge.
A boatman operates the boat with only a long pole, guiding passengers along the beautiful river and sings folk songs.

Local Train 35 min Ichinoseki Station Shinkansen 2:20 hrs Tokyo Station

MUST SEE SIGHT Corridor of Snow

Only in

The grand snow corridor is Hachimantai's symbol of winter’s transition to spring. Experience the beauty of both winter and spring on the Aspite Line, driving through the corridor of snow which that lead to cherry blossoms in bloom at the base of Hachimantai. Only open from late April to the early May: experience both winter and spring at the same time.

秋田 AKITA

Akita's main attraction is its many varied facets of nature's beauty, traditional festivities, and unique events throughout the year. Akita is also known as a rice-farming region with famous Japanese Sake culture.

Tokyo Station Shinkansen 3:00 hrs Tazawako Station on foot 5 min

Lake Tazawa

Best Season

Lake Tazawa is Japan's deepest lake, famous for the golden statue of the beautiful woman, Tatsuko. Legend says that Tatsuko wished for eternal beauty and the lake transformed her into a dragon to guard it.

Bus 40 min

Nyuto Hot Spring

Best Season

Nyuto Hot-spring is made of 7 types of onsen, some of which are traditional and rustic. With a history of over 300 years, Tsurunoyu is Nyuto Onsen's oldest and most famous inn. You can buy an onsen-hopping passport which give you access to all 7 onsens to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Bus 40 min Tazawako Station Sinkansen 20 min Kakunodate Station on foot 5 min

Kakunodate

Best Season

Kakunodate is a historic castle town, known as "Little Kyoto" in Northern Japan. You can enjoy a stroll around the samurai districts, beautiful during every season. During the cherry blossom season, you can see the pink cherry blossoms with the black samurai homes harmoniously contrasting colors. This small town is perfect for sightseeing, surrounded with scenery that changes drastically with each season.

Sinkansen 3:20 hrs Tokyo Station

MUST SEE SIGHT Kanto Festival

Only in

Pole lanterns dance in the beginning of August every year in the Tohoku Region. Displaying a graceful balance of strength and control, the performers hold up to 46 lanterns on their poles. The night parade is the main attraction and a must see in the summer.

宮城 MIYAGI

Experience the diverse traditional culture and local culinary delights rooted in Miyagi. Sendai is a modern city of more than a million people, which offers excellent shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Tokyo Station Sinkansen 100 min

Beef(Sendai Station)

 

Sendai is blessed with delicious local foods, Sendai Beef being the best-known ingredient among locals. Charcoal-grilled beef and tail soup and rice bring flavors that tell a story of Sendai’s flavors.

Local Train 40 min Matsushima Station on foot 5 min

Matsushima

Best Season

Matsushima is famous as one of Japan's Three Scenic Wonders, featuring a bay with over 260 islets. The area is within easy reach of the city, taking only around 40 minutes from Sendai Station on the Senseki Line. In addition to embarking on a scenic boat cruise, you may enjoy hot springs with a splendid view of the bay.

Local Train 100 min

Naruko Hot Spring

Best Season

Naruko Hot Springs are famous for the legend of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who was a warrior in the 12th century and Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North) written by famous poet Matsuo Basho. There are many ryokans established over 100 years ago, offering delightful and natural hot springs that have enchanted innumerable amounts guests for generations.

Local Train 50 min Furukawa Station Shinkansen 2:20 hrs Tokyo Station

MUST SEE SIGHTTanabata Festival

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The Tanabata festival in Sendai held in August, where you can see gorgeous decorations made with Japanese paper craft lit up in various parts of the city; locals wear traditional colorful Yukata (Traditional summer garbs) and walk around. The most important tradition is writing wishes down and hanging them from tree branches in hopes that they come true.

山形 YAMAGATA

Yamagata Prefecture, facing the Sea of Japan has distinct seasonal features filled with majestic nature. With a diverse and strong sake culture, Yamagata is a paradise for sake lovers

Tokyo Station Sinkansen 2:45 hrs Sakurambo-Higashine Station on foot around the station

Cherry Picking

Best Season

Yamagata is abundant with fruits— especially cherries, producing 70 percent of the cherries in Japan. Even the local station's namesake includes the word for Cherry, “Sakuranbo” Higashine Station. Cherry farms across this station offer visitors opportunity to go cherry picking. Enjoy fruit picking from early June to July with huge "Sato Nishiki" brand cherries.

Local Train 20 min Ohishida Station Bus 40 min

Ginzan Hot Spring

Best Season

Ginzan Hot-spring has a history spanning more than 500 years. With buildings monumentalizing the architecture and spirit of the Taisho Era, visitors will feel like they have stepped into a magical fairytale world when they wander down the streets.

Bus 40 min Ohishida Station Shinkansen 30 min Yamagata Station Local Train 20 min Yamadera Station on foot Walk around Yamadera

Yamadera

Best Season

Yamadera, which means "mountain temple" in Japanese, is located in the mountains of Yamagata City. In order to access to the main hall Okunoin, you need climb over 1000 steps; it takes approximately 30 minutes to ascend to the top! Although it sounds difficult, the view is quite spectacular. Visit Yamadera on a clear day for a breathtaking view.

Local Train 70 min Sendai Station Shinkansen 2:00 hrs Tokyo Station

MUST SEE SIGHTHanagasa Festival

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The Hanagasa Matsuri Flower Hat Festival is one of big four festivals of Tohoku. It is held annually from beginning of August, nightly over three days. The parade begins at 18:00 and concludes at 21:30.

福島 FUKUSHIMA

The third biggest prefecture in Japan and just about 90 minutes from Tokyo by Shinkansen, this area is a mixture of modern and traditional, culture and nature.

Tokyo Station Sinkansen 70 min Koriyama Station Local Train 60 min Aizuwakamatsu Station Bus 10 min

Tsuruga Castle

Best Season

Rich in history and culture, Tsuruga Castle was built in 1384. It is the symbol of Aizuwakamatsu as one of the last standing strongholds of samurai loyal to the Tokugawa shogunate. Tsuruga Castle is surrounded by a lovely garden park that is designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty. Boasting blossoming flowers all year, the best season to go is when the flowers are in full bloom in mid-April.

Bus 15 min

Higashiyama Hot Spring

 

Higashiyama Hot Spring is one of the Japan's best Open-air baths. Easily accessible, it only takes about 20 minutes from Aizuwakamatsu Station. There are many big ryokans (Japanese-style hotels) here and the open-air baths offers a scenic view of the Aizu mountain.

Bus 20 min Aizuwakamatsu Station Local Train 43 min Yunokami hot spring Station Bus 20 min

Ouchijuku

Best Season

Have you ever seen traditional thatched-roofs buildings in Japan? If you haven’t this is the place to see them! Fukushima's Ouchijuku is famous for traditional buildings which were part of a small post station during Japan's Edo period. You can see the numerous traditional thatched-roofs buildings from the Edo Period that line its main street here.

Bus 20 min Yunokami hot spring Station Local Train 43 min Aizu Wakamatsu Station Local Train 60 min Koriyama Station Shikansen 70 min Tokyo Station

MUST SEE SIGHTThe Miharu Takizakura

Only in

This is a must-visit spot if you are in Fukushima during mid-April. This tree is over 1000 years old and is considered to be one of most beautiful cherry trees in Japan. The effect of blossoms cascading down from the tree's branches has earned it its name, Takizakura, literally meaning waterfall cherry tree.