Sightseeing in Aomori
Aomori Prefecture has a wealth of tourist attractions throughout the year, natural sites such as Lake Towada, Mount Hakkoda and the Shirakami Mountain Range (a World Heritage Site), ruins from the Jomon period such as those at the Sannai Maruyama Historical Site, and a variety of festivals, rich in local color.
Aomori, Hakkoda, Oirase, Lake Towada Area
ASPAM-The Prefectural Center for Local Products and Tourism (Aomori City)
ASPAM is a central facility for information on all aspects of tourism and local products in Aomori Prefecture. It is also the place to shop for souvinirs and other special products of Aomori. The observation lounge on the top floor offers a lovely view of Aomori City and the Mutsu Bay.
The Aomori Museum of Art(Aomori City)
This museum collection contains three out of four backdrops of the ballet Aleko painted by artist Marc Chagall. There are also woodblock prints by Shiko Munakata, works by Yoshitomo Nara, as well as several other native Aomori artists.
Jomon Period Sites including the Sannai Maruyama Historical Site (Aomori City)
The Sannai Maruyama site is known for the discovery of large settlements dating from the early to mid-Jomon era (approximately 4,000 to 5,500 years ago). The settlements have yielded many ruins of pit dwellings, large buildings with supporting pillars, and even graves. In Aomori Prefecture, there are many other historical sites dating back from the Jomon era, like the Korekawa Historical Site in Hachinohe City and the Kamegaoka Historical Site in Tsugaru City.
Aomori Nebuta Festival(August 2-7 in Aomori City)
Nebuta is a summer festival that is famous throughout Japan. About 20 Nebuta (giant human-shaped floats) are paraded down the streets to the stirring music of taiko drums, flutes, and haneto dancers shouting the traditional cry of "rassera".
Lake Towada (Towada City)
Lake Towada is a caldera lake 400 meters above sea level. Its deep blue water is enclosed by two peninsulas and is dotted by several small islands. Visitors to Lake Towada can enjoy the beautiful scenery here all through the year.
Oirase Gorge (Towada City)
Oirase Gorge, which flows from Lake Towada, is 14 kilometers in length and 200 meters deep. There are many waterfalls scattered about its path, offering ever-changing scenery for all to enjoy.
Mount Hakkoda(Aomori City)
Mount Hakkoda is 1,584.4 meters tall. Located in a volcanic belt, it is dotted with marshlands, swamps, and hot springs. The magnificant mountain scenery is truly a delight to all who visit the area.
Tsugaru Peninsula Area
Shayokan - Osamu Dazai Memorial Museum(Goshogawara City)
Osamu Dazai, author whose works include, Shayo （The Setting Sun）, Ningen Shikkaku （No Longer Human) and many others, was born in this house. Valuable items such as Dazai's handwritings and his favorite possessions like the cloak he used to wear are on display here.
Tsugaru-jamisen Gallery(Goshogawara City)
Tsugaru-jamisen is a type of shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument similar to a banjo). The Tsugaru-jamisen originated in the Tsugaru area of Aomori Prefecture. It is characterized by the intensity of its style, tune, and quick tempo. Players play by striking the strings very hard with the plectrum. There are also daily live performances of the Tsugaru-jamisen for visitors to enjoy.
Goshogawara Tachi-Neputa (August 4-8 in Goshogawara City)
Goshogawara Tachi-Neputa The Tachi-Neputa floats are each 22 meters high (equal to a 7-story building) and weigh around 16 metric tons. These floats are carried through the town of Goshogawara during the festival season. There are three enormous floats on display everyday at the Tachi-Neputa Gallery.
Cape Tappi(Sotogahama Town)
Cape Tappi is the northernmost point on the Tsugaru Peninsula. Weather conditions permitting, one can glimpse a fine view of the Tsugaru Straits and even Hokkaido. The strong winds that blow from the sea to the cape all year round are harnessed and used to generate electricty.
Seikan Tunnel Memorial Museum (Sotogahama Town)
This museum commemorates the completion of the world's longest undersea tunnel, the Seikan Tunnel, which links Honshu and Hokkaido by rail. Visitors can observe a part of the tunnel by taking a 9 minute cable car ride 140 meters under the sea.
Tsugaru Railway(TsugaruGoshogawara Station - TsugaruNakasato Station)
An important transportation means for the local community, it is also a popular tourist attraction known for its nostalgic atmosphere. The railway operates a special "Windchime Train" from July to August,a"Cricket Train" from September to October, and a "Heater Train" from November to March.
Hachinohe, Towada, Misawa Area
Tanesashi Beach(Hachinohe City)
Tanesashi Beach is famous for its broad rolling grass meadows. The lush turf stretches right to the water's edge where the turbulent waves of the Pacific Ocean crash against the craggy shore. Beach plants such as the Rugosa Rose bloom from spring to autumn.
Kabu Island(Hachinohe City)
Kabu Island is an important breeding ground for the black-tailed gulls which are classified as a National Protected Species. From March to August, the amazing sight of 30 thousand gulls flying around the island wildly can be seen.
Hachinohe Grand Festival (July31-August 4 in Hachinohe City)
The Hachinohe Grand Festival is another gorgeous float festival. Three floats from the Ogami, Shinra and Shinmeigu shrines as well as about 20 other extravagant floats are paraded through the streets. Visitors can enjoy the special additions made to the floats, such as those which expand and contract as well as figures which come alive through motion.
Misawa Aviation & Science Museum (Misawa City)
Focusing on science, the sky, and aviation, the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum has a replica aircraft of the Miss Veedol. In 1931, the Miss Veedol took off from Misawa's Sabishiro coast to complete the world's first nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean.
Shimokita Peninsula Area
Mount Osore (Mutsu City)
Mount Osore (Mount Fear), is a mountain with great spiritual significance in Japan. The desolate scenery and strong smell of sulfur conjures images of hell. Other worldly festivals in which blind mediums known as Itako perform rituals to communicate with the dead are held here every year in July and October.
Cape Shiriya (Higashidori Village)
Cape Shiriya is the most northeastern point in the Japanese mainland of Honshu. The horses of Cape Shiriya are known as, Kandachime (horses which stand through the cold), the name originating from the fact that they stand straight and still throughout the frigid winter. The sight of the grazing horses set against the lighthouse of the cape is a most impressive sight.
Hotokegaura Coastline(Sai Village)
This 2 kilometer long coastline offers a breathtaking view of fantastically shaped volcanic green tuff rocks. Many are as tall as 100 meters and have been shaped by rain, wind, and surf errosion. The tall standing rocks are reminiscent of a gathering of praying Buddha.
Cape Oma(Oma Town)
Cape Oma is the northernmost point on the main island of Japan, Honshu. The remote landscape of Hokkaido is visible from here, weather conditions permitting. This cape is also known for being an excellent spot for Tuna fishing.
Hirosaki, South Tsugaru, West coast area
Hirosaki Castle, Hirosaki Park(Hirosaki City)
Tsugaru, the feudal clan that unified the local region, built Hirosaki Castle. The castle keep, three turrets, and five gates all remain intact, a rarity in Japan. Today it is a park enjoyed by all, and is famous for the 2,600 cherry trees which bloom vibrantly in the spring.
Mount Iwaki and Apple Orchards (Hirosaki City)
Mount Iwaki known as the "Mount Fuji of Tsugaru" could be called the home of the heart for the residents of Tsugaru. Surrounding the mountain are apple orchards, where pale pink colored flowers bloom in spring and bright red apples grow in autumn. The view of the apple trees against the mountain is representative of the Tsugaru region.
Hirosaki Neputa Festival (August 1-7 in Hirosaki City)
About 70 Ogi-Neputa (fan-shaped floats), vividly painted with historical themes, are paraded down the streets of the castle town to the music of taiko drums, flutes, and the traditional cries of "yaayado" in this very elegant and emotional festival.
Shirakami Mountains(Nishimeya Village, Ajigasawa Town, Fukaura Town)
Home to a number of precious flora and fauna, including one of the world's largest beech forests, the Shirakami Mountain area is registered as a World Heritage Site. The 17,000 hectare area is the preservation site of an old-growth beech forest that has stood unchanged for 8,000 years.
Anmon Falls (Nishimeya Village)
Anmon Falls is a collection of triple waterfalls in the Shirakami Mountains World Heritage Site. The falls are known for the surrounding beech trees, and the perpetually clear water that flows through the area.
Lake Juni (Fukaura Town)
Lake Juni is actually a collection of 33 lakes and ponds nestled in a beech forest. Among them, the cobalt-blue water of Aoike (Blue Pond) and the surrounding fallen beech trees have particular mystical beauty.