In the Tōhoku region near the north of Japan, one will find the snow-capped mountains of Hakkōda and the nearby city of Aomori. And, what makes Aomori so fascinating is its wide range of cultural and natural attractions. Nature lovers will have a blast exploring Lake Juniko, admire the cherry blossoms at Hirosaki Castle, and view the majestic gardens of Seibi-en. While culture vultures can visit the home of the famous novelist, Osamu Dazai, enjoy samisen music at Tsugaru Shamisen Hall, and learn about the area’s paleolithic past at Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site. Now, check out our comprehensive guide of things to do in Aomori, Japan - and plan your trip accordingly.
1. Explore the cobalt-blue waters of Juniko Twelve Lakes
Aomori boasts plenty of amazing natural attractions, one of which is Tsugaru Quasi-National Park Lake Juniko, or Twelve Lakes if you prefer. However, the name doesn’t quite tell the whole story because it consists of 33 lakes and ponds. So, what gives? Well, it’s because an individual can only see 12 of these lakes if they stand on the summit of Mount Okuzure. But the real reason tourists love visiting the Twelve Lakes is because of its stunning blue waters and many hiking, sightseeing, and mountain climbing opportunities. There are also camping grounds in the vicinity, which is ideal for those that want to spend more than a day here.
Juniko Twelve Lakes
Address: JR Juniko Station Grounds 33-1, Shita-Hamamatsu Matsukami Fukaura-machi Nishitsugaru, Aomori 038-2206, Japan
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Sometimes, there’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Japan than by train. But we all know how blazingly fast those Japanese bullet trains are so they’re not the ideal form of transportation for sightseeing. Fortunately, there’s another option known as Resort Shirakami, which is also dubbed the “Joyful Train” that’s designed for maximum enjoyment. Lucky travelers who take this line will get to view the stunning mountain range of the Shirakami Sanchi and the Tohoku coastline.
Address: Take the 10:20 Hayabusa service from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori, Japan
Opening hours: Refer to the JR East timetable before booking
Price: From 46 USD
3. Savour rich clams harvested from Lake Jusanko
If you’re heading to Lake Jusanko, then you should try out the area’s most famous treat, namely, Goshogawara Clam Ramen. So, what makes the clam ramen here so much better than in other regions of Japan? Well, the brackish water of the lake gives its clams a stronger taste than usual, and they also provide an exceptionally delicious taste when mixed with miso. These clams also offer good nutritional value since they have vitamin A and B12, but must be cooked and served in soup broth for the best results. You can taste this Lake Jusanko speciality at any of the shops in the area.
4. Learn about underground rail history at Seikan Tunnel Museum
We all know that Japan has played a vital role in pushing railway technology. After all, this is the country that boasts some of the most impressive bullet trains in the world. If you want to learn more, then a visit to Seikan Tunnel Museum is a must. It features a tunnel that’s embedded below the seabed of the Tsugaru Straits and an exhibition hall. The latter offers visitors an interactive tour that consists of music, models, and videos that explain how the tunnel was constructed and how it’s used.
Seikan Tunnel Museum
Address: 字三厩龍浜-99, 外ヶ浜町 Sotogahama, Higashitsugaru District, Aomori 030-1711, Japan
Website: Seikan Tunnel Museum
Opening hours: 8:40am - 5pm (daily)
Price: From 4 USD
5. Take a breezy jaunt around Cape Tappi
There are many scenic spots around Aomori, and one that will leave an impression is none other than Cape Tappi. The area is renowned for its strong winds that make their way through the nearby Tsugaru Channel, and that’s why it’s called Tappi, which means “as dragon flies.” Apart from the magnificent views of the peninsula, visitors can also check out the nearby lighthouse and stone monuments that honor famous figures such as Osamu Dazai and Shoin Yoshida.
Address: Minmayatatsuhama, Sotogahama, Higashitsugaru District, Aomori 030-1711, Japan
Opening hours: 9am - 4pm (daily)
6. Tour the stately writer's home at Osamu Dazai Memorial Museum
【お知らせです】 みなさま、こんにちは！ 全国から青森県へのご来県ありがとうございます。 お客様から多くご質問いただいている青森・津軽の祭りと期間限定の情報を少しお伝えします。 詳しいデータはリンク先でのご確認をお願いいたします。 ☆津...Posted by 太宰治記念館「斜陽館」 on Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Osamu Dazai was a prolific writer and novelist whose works enjoy enormous popularity in the literary world. He would often write in first person and express himself in both comedic and serious tones. Some of his famous novels include In Doke no Hana (A Clown Star), In Shayo (The Setting Sun), and Hashire Merosu (Meros, Run!) - to name a few. You’ll gain a greater appreciation of this writer once you visit his home in Kanagi, which is now a museum that showcases antique furniture, a comprehensive collection of his works, and various ornaments.
Osamu Dazai Memorial Museum
Address: Asahiyama-412-1 金木町 Goshogawara, Aomori 037-0202, Japan
Website: Osamu Dazai Memorial Museum
Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: From 5 USD
7. Appreciate live samisen music at Tsugaru Shamisen Hall
Enjoy the musical heritage of the region by visiting Tsugaru Shamisen Hall. And, if you love the sound of string instruments, then you’ll be in heaven since the focal point of the museum is the shamisen, which is a three-stringed instrument that’s played with a bachi. You’ll gain an appreciation for this traditional Japanese instrument and learn about its history inside the exhibition room. Furthermore, you can watch live performances and even reserve a lesson with a professional player at an additional fee.
Tsugaru Shamisen Hall
Address: Asahiyama-189-3 Kanagi, Goshogawara, Aomori 037-0202, Japan
Website: Tsugaru Shamisen Hall
Opening hours: 8:30am - 6pm (daily)
Price: From 5 USD
8. Munch on 'miracle apples' at Restaurant Yamazaki
Restaurant Yamazaki sounds like the quintessential Japanese restaurant, right? Well, not quite. This is a highly-regarded French restaurant that’s renowned for its beef dishes and scallops. It also features a cafe, catering service, and patisserie under the same roof. However, you’ll want to order their delicious miracle apple full course, which consists of amuse-bouche, seafood and miracle apple salad, miracle apple cold soup, scallops, pork, miracle apple dessert, and miracle apple-flavored black tea.
Address: 41 Oyakatamachi, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8191, Japan
Website: Restaurant Yamazaki
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11:30am - 8:30pm (closed on Mon)
9. Breathe in the crisp mountain air of Iwakiyama Shrine
There are thousands of shrines throughout Japan, but if you only have time to visit one, then you should consider Iwakiyama Shrine. The reason for this is due to its historical heritage and location, which is next to the picturesque Mount Iwaki. It was built about 1,200 years ago to honor a local deity, and constructed from Hiba that’s robust enough to withstand the region’s icy and windy climate. If you have some time to spare and are feeling energetic, then try out the hiking trail that goes up the mountain.
Address: 27 Terasawa, Hyakuzawa, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori, 036-1343, Japan
10. Celebrate cherry blossom season at Hirosaki Castle
Without a doubt, Japan is full of magnificent castles that are a testament to the country’s rich and fascinating history. But if you’re traveling to Aomori, then you should stop by Hirosaki Park, which is home to Hirosaki Castle Honmaru, the Budok shrine rest area, and a botanical garden. So, there’s much to see and do here! The well-preserved castle dates back to the Kansei period and houses many valuable assets that impress most tourists. Don’t forget to check out the cherry blossom trees, and flora and fauna that you’ll find in the park.
Address: 1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8356, Japan
Website: Hirosaki Park
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 3 USD
11. Admire the Western-style architecture of Aomori Bank Memorial Hall
【Memorial Hall of Aomori Bank (Former 59th National Bank)】 （Important Cultural Property） This was built in 1904 as the...Posted by Hirosaki Tourism and Convention Bureau on Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Banks don’t sound very exciting, right? After all, most modern banks are housed inside bland glass buildings that lack character. But that’s not the case for Aomori Bank Memorial Hall, which was formally a national bank founded in 1879. What makes it so interesting is its Western-style architecture that also boasts strong Renaissance influences. Therefore, the building looks distinctive and majestic and has undoubtedly become an important cultural landmark in the area.
Aomori Bank Memorial Hall
Address: 26 Motonaga-machi, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori 036-8169, Japan
12. Marvel at the rice paddy art of Inakadate Village
Every year, thousands of people are flocking to the village of Inakadate, in Japan’s northern Aomori Prefecture, to view...Posted by Visit MY Japan on Sunday, 4 June 2017
We all know that when you visit Tokyo, you’re bound to stumble across something cool and wacky given the city’s propensity for edgy culture, design, and fashion. However, Aomori Prefecture is no stranger to the weird and wonderful, since you’ll find eye-catching rice paddy art adorning the fields of Inakadate village. Innovative artists have been creating these stunning art pieces by planting purple and yellow rice plants since 1993. And, tourists have been visiting this area in droves to admire fields that showcase images such as that of the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
Address: 123-1 Nakatsuji Inakadate, Inakadate-mura Minamitsugaru-gun, Aomori-ken 038-1113, Japan
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 2 USD
There’s nothing better to soothe weary bodies and souls than with a visit to a traditional Japanese onsen. We tracked down this cozy establishment that’s surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery. This inn features four types of public baths that include hot spring and open-air baths. If you’re planning on spending the entire day or staying overnight, then you’ll be treated to a traditional Japanese breakfast and healthy grilled vegetarian dishes. Keep in mind that this onsen operates without electricity and cellphone reception is non-existent.
14. Stroll around the enchanting gardens of Seibi-en
When in Japan, every savvy tourist should consider visiting the country’s abundant and beautiful gardens. And when in Aomori, Seibi-en awaits those that want to admire the region’s famous gardens. Here, you’ll find Morimi-en that boasts the Bakugaku style and dates back to the Meiji era, the Japanese and Western Ornamental Garden Appreciation Hall, and the Gohoden Taisho 6 temple. Anime and Studio Ghibli fans will be pleased to know that these grounds appear in “The Borrower Arrietty” feature anime.
Address: Ishibayashi-1 Saruka, Hirakawa, Aomori 036-0242, Japan
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 2 - 4 USD
15. Enjoy the captivating float parade of Nebuta Matsuri
If you’re heading to Aomori during the summertime, then you should check out the Nebuta Matsuri. So, what exactly is the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri? Well, it’s a local float festival that commemorates heroic warrior figures of the region. These brightly colored and masterfully crafted floats truly come alive during the evenings since they’re illuminated. Young and old gather together in the streets and Aomori Heiwa Park to watch the float parades and enjoy the performances of dancers, kabuki actors, and taiko drummers.
Aomori Nebuta Matsuri
Address: National Route 4, Shinmachi Street, Kenchō Street and Aomori Heiwa Park, Aomori, Japan
16. Step back into olden times at Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site
Japan is an ancient country with a long and illustrious history. But its history doesn’t evolve strictly around warring states, shoguns, and samurais. Sadly, few people know about Japan’s Paleolithic age that’s chockful of interesting artifacts. That’s why it’s worth visiting the Sannai Maruyama Archaeological site that features excavated items such as accessories and sculptures that date back 10,000 years and discovered in 12 different ruins.
Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site
Address: Maruyama-305 Sannai, Aomori, 038-0031, Japan
Website: Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 7 - 9 USD
17. Visit the marine animals at Asamushi Aquarium
Animal and nature lovers are going to have a blast at Asamushi Aquarium. It overlooks Mutsu Bay and features about 11,000 animals making it the largest aquarium in the region. Here, you’ll find cold and warm water exhibits that consist of 45 tanks. These tanks house a wide variety of sea animals such as dolphins, penguins, seals, sea lions, and sea otters. Moreover, there’s a dolphin show pool, gift shop, and tropical rainforest exhibit on the premises.
Address: Babayama-1-25 Asamushi, Aomori, 039-3501, Japan
Website: Asamushi Aquarium
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 10 USD
18. Have a soak in the famous sulphur springs of Mount Hakkoda
The Hakkoda mountain range consists of sixteen mountains and various wetlands in the nearby area. It’s a popular destination during the winter period and attracts many skiers and snowboarders from around Japan. But if that’s not your thing, then you may want to try out something more relaxing like soaking into its sulfur springs. After all, there’s an onsen at the foot of the mountain that’s renowned for its therapeutic qualities.
Address: 1-12 Kansuizawa Arakawa Aomori-shi Aomori-ken 030-0188, Japan
19. Indulge in a luxurious spa day at Sukayu Onsen
You may want to relax and rejuvenate during your daily excursions around Aomori. One of the best places to do this is at Sokuyu Onsen that’s just a short drive from the city. Here, you’ll find a mixed bathing facility that has a dedicated schedule for female bathers. There’s also a small public bath known as Tamanoyu that’s ideal for couples and has similar soothing effects to that of a hot spring. Moreover, there’s a soba restaurant and a snack bar on site if you get hungry, and there’s the Hakkoda Hotel next door if you want to stay the night.
Address: 1 Nitta, Aomori 038-0001, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
Website: Sukayu Onsen
Opening hours: 7am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: 9 USD
20. Take a refreshing stroll around magnificent Lake Towada
One of Japan’s most beautiful natural attractions is none other than Lake Towada. It was formed by volcanic activity about 2,000 years ago and boasts deep blue waters and stunning foliage and trees along its periphery. There’s plenty of walking and hiking trails, which will immerse you in its natural beauty and allow you to view the lake and the boats that transverse its surface.
Address: 486 Yasumiya Towada-kohan Okuse Towada-shi Aomori-ken 018-5501, Japan
21. Dip your toes into the picturesque Oirase Stream
Oirase Stream flows over the Oirase Gorge and winds through the picturesque landscape made up of leafy trees. The area looks truly striking during the autumn months since it’s covered with orange, yellow, and red leaves. Furthermore, there are a plethora of walking and hiking trails along the length of the steam. A good place to begin a hike is from Nenokuchi and follow the trail that will take you over the stream’s waterfalls and eventually ends at Ishigedo.
Address: Tochikubo-183 Okuse, Towada, Aomori 034-0301, Japan
22. Make a pilgrimage to the supposed Tomb of Jesus Christ
This is one of those attractions that has gained a bit of fanfare in recent years. It’s easy to see why that is, given the claim that the tomb of Jesus Christ was discovered here in 1935. Now, most people, including the locals, don’t believe this is the case. But the burial mound with its towering crosses continues to fascinate visitors. Whether you’re a true believer or enjoy visiting offbeat locales, then check out the tomb and the accompanying Christ’s Village Museum.
Tomb of Jesus Christ
Address: 32-1 Herai, Shingo-mura, Sannohe-gun 039-1801, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
23. Browse the zany modern art of Towada Art Center
Art and anime enthusiasts should consider visiting the Towada Art Center when in Aomori. This ultra-modern museum was designed by Ryue Nishizawa and has become an important cultural hub in Towada. Here, visitors will find a collection of exclusively commissioned works and art from local and international artists. Some of these famous names include Jeong-Haw Choi, Yoko Ono, and Yoshitomo Nara. And, anime fans will be amazed by the collection consisting of about 100,000 anime body pillows.
Towada Art Center
Address: 10-9 Nishi-Nibancho, Towada-shi, Aomori, Japan
Website: Towada Art Center
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
24. Go bar-hopping in vibrant Hachinohe Yokocho
Miroku Yokocho is a "yatai-mura" ("food stall village") that was established in 2002 in the center of Hachinohe City in...Posted by JR-East U.S. on Thursday, 27 June 2019
Do you like to go out drinking when visiting new places? Well, you’re in luck because we’ve tracked down one of Aomori’s hottest drinking spots. If you’ve already visited the Kokubuncho nightlife district in Sendai, then you’ll feel right at home in Hachinohe Yokocho since it has a similar vibe. Hachinohe is a bustling port city that dates back to a bygone era and features plenty of tightly packed bars and narrow alleyways. Every bar has a unique theme and usually run by the owner that you can get to know and let them recommend a couple of drinks for the night.
Address: Japan, 〒031-0033 Aomori, Hachinohe, Muikamachi, 10
Website: Hachinohe Yokocho
Opening hours: 4pm - 4am (daily)
25. Select freshly caught seafood at Hasshoku Center
Hasshoku Center = Hachinohe Fish Market Enormous prawns!Posted by Kamila Piotrowska on Monday, 10 June 2019
It’s no secret that Japan is one of the leading countries when it comes to fresh seafood. And, it’s not only known for its wealth of excellent sushi restaurants but also for its massive markets that sell fresh fish and other items. One of the biggest markets in Japan is none other than Hasshoku Center, which houses approximately 60 shops that specialize in dried foods, fresh-caught fish, liquor, meat, produce, snacks, sweets, and souvenirs. If you get hungry during your shopping spree, then head over to Aji Yokocho for their delicious noodles, or Kuriya Stadium to munch on their fresh fish delicacies.
Address: Kansai-22-2 Kawaragi, Hachinohe, Aomori 039-1161, Japan
Website: Hasshoku Center
Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 9am - 6pm (closed on Wed)
26. Explore the rugged Seagull Island, Kabushima
How often have you managed to get close and personal with our avian friends? Moreover, how often have you been in close proximity to Black-tailed gulls? Well, if you haven’t had the pleasure to check out these lovely animals, then you should definitely head over to the Island of Kabushima. This tiny island is only 140 meters (460 feet) wide with an elevation of 18 meters (59 feet), and it even has a Shinto Shrine that seems very welcoming. However, the island serves as a nesting ground for the gulls, and that’s why it has been aptly nicknamed ‘Seagull Island.’
Island of Kabushima
Address: Same-56-2 Samemachi, Hachinohe, Aomori 031-0841, Japan
Website: Island of Kabushima
27. Get hands-on with aircraft at Misawa Aviation & Science Museum
Have you ever wondered about Japan’s aviation industry and technology prowess? If that’s the case, then this museum will answer some of your questions, or fill in any gaps if you’re already knowledgeable about these matters. There’s much to see and do here since there are exhibits of Japanese warplanes, a science museum, and even an experiment studio where you can fly paper planes and attend workshops. Don’t forget to bring the little ones along, as they’ll surely enjoy the unique anime-themed events that they’ll unlikely experience back home.
Misawa Aviation & Science Museum
Address: Kitayama-158 Misawa, Aomori 033-0022, Japan
Website: Misawa Aviation & Science Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 5 USD
28. Discover the mystical site of Osore-zan Bodai-ji Temple
Osore-zan Bodai-ji Temple may seem like a creepy or magical place depending on your outlook. After all, this temple perfectly encapsulates the concept of dualism in its construction. Its windmills remind one of hell while the sandy beach depicts paradise within the context of the Buddhist religion. Moreover, it attracts many worshippers who come here during autumn, but also in summer for the dinosaur festival.
Osore-zan Bodai-ji Temple
Address: Usoriyama-3-2 Tanabu, Mutsu, Aomori 035-0021, Japan
Website: Osore-zan Bodai-ji Temple
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)
29. Get spectacular coastal views atop Mount Kamabuse
There’s no better way to view the tranquil waters of Mutsu Bay and Ominato Bay than from high up. Luckily, the Osorezan Mountain Range is nearby and features Mount Kamabuse, which also has the mountain range’s highest peak. It’s approximately 878 meters (2,880 feet) above sea level, and you can reach the summit by taking one of its climbing paths. The summit has an observatory, which is the ideal spot to view the coast, Hokkaido during a clear day, and the neon lights of Mutsu City during the evenings.
Address: Mutsu, Aomori, Japan
30. Nosh on oma tuna delicacies on Honshu Island
Honshu Island is next to the Tsugaru Strait, which is known for its tasty Bluefin or Hon-maguro tuna that’s larger and heavier than ordinary tuna. And, for this reason, many fishermen specialize in Oma tuna fishing and try to catch some of the rarest and priciest tuna in Japan. The town of Oma is one of the best places to enjoy lunch specials and mouth-watering tuna bowls. What makes Oma tuna so delicious is that it’s extremely tender with just the right amount of fat.
Address: 17-377 Omadaira Oma Oma-machi, Aomori 039-4601
The magnificent world of Aomori Prefecture
Aomori has much to offer travelers, especially those who have visited other prefectures in Japan. For one, it’s a nature lover’s paradise given its picturesque mountain ranges, stunning lakes, and soothing sulfur springs. It’s also a great option for those seeking culinary surprises since there are many diverse and excellent eateries in the region. And for those that have an interest in the art, culture, and history of Japan, then Osamu Dazai Memorial Museum, Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site, and Towada Art Center are good choices.
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