• aomori's photo
  • aomori's photo
  • aomori's photo

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AOMORI

Located in northernmost Honshu, Aomori Prefecture is more than four times the size of Tokyo. Facing the three coasts—the Sea of Japan, the Tsugaru Strait and the Pacific Ocean—and home to the World Natural Heritage site of Shirakami-sanchi, this prefecture boasts a wealth of nature. However, this same nature also brings severity to the lives of Aomori residents. Annual snowfall surpasses that of north-most Hokkaido Prefecture. Aomori people have lived with the harsh natural environment while growing agricultural products such as apples as well as fishing in the rough seas. They tend to be quiet, patient and mostly warm-hearted. Such weather fostered the Aomori’s love for drinking and hot springs.

Aomori has two distinct cultures and it is important to understand the difference. The Nambu culture in Western Aomori centers around Hachinohe, while the Tsugaru culture in Eastern Aomori centers around Hirosaki. The Tsugaru dialect and the Nambu dialect are quite different, and typical personalities also differ: Nambu people tend to be modest and restrained, while Tsugaru people tend to be the exact opposite and sociable. Even historians admit that combining such opposite regions into one prefecture is extremely rare. That’s why being aware of these differences makes it so interesting to travel in Aomori. Although even Japanese native speakers have trouble picking up the dialect, just sensing the differences in sound and rhythm will grant you some familiarity with the land of Aomori.

    • Spring 3°C–15°C
      Mutsu Bay scallops, sea urchin, cherry salmon, spring-harvested yams, Yokohama-machi rapeseed blossom fields
    • Summer 15°C–27°C
      Nebuta Festival, Oma tuna, Japanese common flying squid, Hirosaki pepper, Shirakami-sanchi
    • Autumn 18°C–2°C
      Apples, Hachinohe sembei-jiru soup, Hakkoda autumn leaves, Oirase Valley autumn leaves
    • Winter -5°C–5°C
      Cod, Fukaura snow carrots, Tsugaru ramen, jappa-jiru soup, Kuroishi Onsen, Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival
    • Shimokita Peninsula
      A peninsula protruding from the northeast of Aomori Prefecture. Famous for Mount Osore, one of Japan's three major sacred locations. Located at the tip of the peninsula is Omazaki, a fishing port famous for excellent tuna.
    • Aomori City
      Located almost in the center of Aomori Prefecture, Aomori city is home to Shin-Aomori Station, where shinkansen bullet trains arrive and depart, as well as Aomori Airport, and popular tourist spots, such as Aomori Nebuta, the Aomori Museum of Art and the Sannai-Maruyama site.
    • Oirase, Lake Towada
      This area is blessed with clear waters, such as Lake Towada and the Oirase Valley. There are many hot springs at the foot of Mount Hakkoda, such as Sukayu Onsen and Tsuta Onsen.
    • Hachinohe
      This port town on the Pacific Ocean coast is gradually recovering from the damages received in the Great East Japan Earthquake; the lively Sunday morning market, one of Japan’s leading morning markets, is back in business. It’s a great area to enjoy local dishes, including the Hasshoku Center, where you can dine on delicious seafood.
    • Tsugaru Peninsula
      A peninsula protruding from the northwest of Aomori Prefecture. Inhabited by humans since the ancient Jomon period, it has formed its own culture. Home to the Tsugaru dialect, as well as Tsugaru shamisen and Tsugaru-nuri lacquerware. Famous for the Goshogawara Nebuta Festival.
    • Hirosaki
      Retro buildings, such as European-style buildings and churches, line up along the district around Hirosaki Castle. The city is famous for producing Aomori's best apples, and there’s plenty of apple-based cuisine to enjoy in town, including apple pie and apple juice.
    • Shirakami-sanchi
      Located to the south-west of Hirosaki, Shirakami–sanchi was the first World Natural Heritage Site to be registered in Japan. Go a little further and you’ll hit the Sea of Japan. The Resort Shirakami sightseeing train is also very popular with magnificent scenery.
    • Car
      Aomori is more than four times larger than Tokyo. Traveling by car is recommended if there is plenty of time for the journey. Otherwise taking trains and buses is a better idea. The highway goes as far as the Aomori City area, almost in the center of the prefecture, but does not connect to the peninsulas.
    • Bus
      In addition to the Shuttle de Route Bus Nebutan-go that services the major attractions, buses also operate on the Shimokita and Tsugaru peninsulas. However, you should always confirm schedules in advance because services tend to be infrequent.
    • Train
      Shin-Aomori Station, where the Tohoku shinkansen bullet train line and the JR Ou Main line converge, is the main point of departure for rail travel. It is located next to (old) Aomori Station. The Hokkaido shinkansen bullet train line, which will connect Hokkaido and Aomori, is scheduled to open in March 2016. The reality of shinkansen travel from Aomori to Hakodate in Hokkaido is drawing closer.
    • Air
      ANA has 5 daily round-trip flights at Aomori Airport: Three to Osaka International (Itami) Airport and two to New Chitose Airport.
    • Aomori Airport is a 50-minute flight from New Chitose Airport.
    • Aomori Airport is a 105-minute flight from Osaka International (Itami) Airport.
  • Oirase Keiryu Mountain Stream
    Oirase Keiryu Mountain Stream

    Towada City

  • Shirakami-sanchi
    Shirakami-sanchi

    Nakatsugaru-gun

  • Oma tuna
    Oma tuna

    Shimokita-gun

  • Apples
    Apples

    Tsugaru area

  • Hot Springs (onsen)
    Hot Springs (onsen)

    Aomori City, Nishitsugaru-gun, Kuroishi City

  • Koginzashi embroidery
    Koginzashi embroidery

    Tsugaru area

  • Tsugaru shamisen
    Tsugaru shamisen

    Tsugaru area

  • Nebuta Festival
    Nebuta Festival

    Aomori City, Hirosaki City, Goshogawara City

  • Art tour
    Art tour

    Aomori City, Towada City

  • Aomori Airport
    Aomori Airport

    Aomori City