The four largest cities for tourism in Tohoku

The four largest cities for tourism in Tohoku are here!

The Tohoku region of Japan is starting to attract attention from all over Japan as well.

The region is filled with great spots that are still relatively unknown.

Sendai

Population: about 1,090,000 (as of December 2019)

The largest city in the Tohoku region. Approx. 2 hours from Tokyo by shinkansen. Sendai is the largest city in Tohoku and is very conveniently located. When you take in the panoramic view of the city from where Sendai Castle once stood, you see why this beautiful green city is called the city of trees.

Sendai Pageant of Starlight (December)

It’s the most popular festival of lights in Tohoku.
The 160 zelkova trees lining Jozenji street are decorated with roughly 600,000 lights, creating a fantastical world.

Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port

The largest outlet mall in Tohoku. There are about 120 shops, including brand-name fashion shops, general stores, sporting goods shops, and stores with items for children.

Sendai Bar Hopping

A local guide will take you to three great restaurant/bars that a tourist generally would never discover, but are loved by the locals. Enjoy the good old izakaya culture of Japan. Have fun drinking with the locals.

Hirosaki

Hirosaki is located in the western part of Aomori prefecture. A historical area that once flourished as a castle town, this is a city full of famous spots and events known nationwide, such as the famous cherry blossom viewing around Hirosaki Castle and the Hirosaki Neputa Festival. It is now also well-known for growing more apples than any other municipality in all of Japan.

Hirosaki Castle (Hirosaki Park)

Built in 1611, it is one of the few castles considered valuable in Japan that has been preserved as it was to the present.

The entire area is stunningly beautiful, whether you are looking at the towers, bridges, or the moat. When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the pedals fall into the moat, forming a light pink carpet, called “Hanaikada” that is breathtaking to behold.

Hirosaki Apple Pie

If you visit Hirosaki, a virtual apple kingdom, you shouldn’t miss tasting them. There are about 45 original apple pies to be found at shops throughout the city. Enjoy sampling the tastes of the town.

Goshogawara – Ashino Park

Ashino Park is located in the Kanagimachi area of Goshogawara, north of Hirosaki, and is the birthplace of the author Osamu Dazai. This park was selected as one of the 100 best places to view cherry blossoms in all of Japan, along with Hirosaki Park. About 2,200 cedars and cherry trees spread out along the banks of Lake Ashino, and a Tsugaru Railway train passes through the park under a tunnel of cherry blossoms. Visitors are moved by this stunningly beautiful romantic scenery.

Morioka

Population: about 290,000 (as of November 2019)

Approx. 30 minutes north from Sendai station by shinkansen. The capital of Iwate pref. Morioka is filled with history and culture. A number of unusual Western-style buildings dating back to the Meiji Period still remain giving the city a charming retro atmosphere.

The Rock-splitting Cherry Tree (mid-April to late April)

This 360-year-old cherry tree has grown straight through an enormous granite boulder that measures 21 meters in circumference. When the cherries blossoms are in bloom this becomes a popular attraction, with many coming to see its rugged beauty. National Natural Monument.

Wanko Soba – one of the 3 Great Noodles of Iwate

Soba noodles are served in little bite-sized bowls by a server standing next to you when you eat Wanko Soba. If you are visiting Iwate, you’ve got to try it. It’s a lot of fun to see just how many bowls you can eat in this heated atmosphere with shouts of encouragement from the server.

Morioka Castle Ruins and the Site Park Area

This area is connected to Iwate’s famous poet, Takuboku Ishikawa. Soak in the unique atmosphere here, away from the hustle and the bustle of the city, and relax in this rich natural environment. Cherry trees bloom here in the spring, roses erupt into color in the summer, and the fall welcomes you with brightly colored leaves. Nearby you’ll find the historical Iwate Bank building, the Nakatsu River, which runs through the center of the city, cherry blossoms and rose gardens, the Sakurayama Shrine, a Japanese “power spot,” and the Morioka History and Culture Museum.

Hachimantai

Population: about 25,000 (as of November 2019)

Hachimantai is located to the north of Morioka. Those in the know, know Hachimantai is a Japanese mountain resort, known for its many natural sulfur hot springs nestled among the mountains, which are also popular among foreign visitors, the longest snow corridor in Japan, the Towada Hachimantai National Park, spectacular views of fall colors, and great powder skiing.

Dragon Eye (late May to early June)

Near the summit of Mt. Hachimantai, the snow melting on Kagami-numa Pond takes on the appearance of the eye of an immense dragon, and was thusly named. It’s a lot of fun to walk across the snow in the spring here, and it’s a great place to take photos.

Cherry Blossoms and the Snow Corridor (late April to early May)

Every year in late April the road opens to reveal a vast snow corridor rising on both sides of the road, the longest such corridor in all of Japan, and the views are overwhelming. The contrast between the blue sky and the white spring snow is beautiful. And during this same season, you enjoy gazing at cherry blossoms at the foot of the mountain.

Appi Kogen Ski Resort, Hachimantai Resort Ski Areas (December to March)

Known for their world-class powder snow, these ski resorts are now gaining popularity worldwide. Both are ski resorts that can be enjoyed by young and old alike, from beginners to the advanced. Recently, more tree run courses have been opened, as well as a CAT at skiing area where advanced skiers and snowboarders can go out on ungroomed slopes.