De flesta resenärer till Japan graviterar mot att besöka stora städer som Tokyo, Osaka eller Fukuoka, för bortsett från att vara internationella portar, inom sig själva erbjuder de redan så mycket att utforska. Jag hade exakt samma tanke när jag först åkte till Japan. I mitt sinne, som såg det ultramoderna stadslivet från första hand, representerade den avgörande japanska upplevelsen. Som man snart inser finns det emellertid så mycket mer till Japan än dessa konkreta underland.
Trampa bort från storstadens ljus och du hittar en värld som är noggrant i linje med naturen och är oerhört stolt över deras identitet och kultur. Tohoku -regionen i norra Japan är ett sådant exempel.
Tohoku ligger i den norra änden av Honshu, Japans största ö, och består av 6 prefekturer – Fukushima, Yamagata, Miyagi, Iwate, Akita och Aomori. Det är välsignat med många naturliga underverk som är imponerande när de förändras med årstiderna och kulturella traditioner som är någon annanstans ojämförliga.
Vi hade turen att bli inbjudna nyligen att kolla in Japans Tohoku -region. Det räcker med att säga, denna tropiska pojke lämnades i vördnad av det fantastiska landskapet, särskilt resande mitt på hösten! I den här artikeln kommer vi att fokusera på regionens nordligaste tips: Aomori och Akita prefekturer. Här är några av de bästa attraktionerna att kolla in!
Vad behandlas i den här guiden?
Towada-Hachimantai National Parkjogakura Ohashi Bridge
Hirosmaki Cityhirosaki slott
City of Woods-Noshirothe före detta Ryotei-Kaneyu
Oga Peninsula, Akitanamahage Museum
Nyudozaki Cape & Lighthouse
Hur man kommer till Aomori eller Akita Prefecture
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Om du ständigt söker möjligheter till skogsbad, bör den orörda Towada-Hachimantai nationalparken vara ovanpå din Japan-checklista. Detta bergsområde är mattor av frodiga skogar som korsas av slingrande floder och vandringsleder. Praktiskt taget har den två delar: den norra halvan runt Lake Towada mellan Aomori och Akita prefekturer och Hachimantai -området i Iwate. I det här inlägget sätter vi rampljuset på det förra.
Om du kommer från Aomori City finns det en JR-buss som går från Aomori-stationen till Lake Towada “Mizuumi-Go”. Alla intressanta platser som nämns nedan kan nås med denna rutt och går av på olika stationer.
Om du vill göra en resplan av de olika platserna i Towada-Hachimantai National Park, rekommenderar vi att du kontrollerar bussschemat för att avgöra hur mycket tid du kan spendera på varje plats. Avancerade inköp eller reservationer är enligt uppgift inte nödvändiga men uppmuntras. Observera att denna busslinje inte är i drift under vintern.
JR Bus Tohoku officiell webbplats
Jr buss aomori -ruttkarta
JR -bussschema – Aomori till Lake Towada (på japanska)
JOGAKURA OHASHI BRIDGE
Den längsta Deck Arch Bridge i Japan, det är ett måste inte bara för själva bron, utan särskilt för den underbara 360-graders utsikten över de omgivande Hakkoda-bergen. Det är särskilt fantastiskt på hösten när lövverket runt området förvandlas till ett livligt spektrum av röda och gula.
Så här kommer du dit: Du kan nå Jogakura Ohashi-bron genom att gå av vid Busstoppet Jogakura-Ensen. Bron kommer att vara ungefär 20 minuters promenad därifrån.
Bara några kilometer från Jogakura Ohashi Bridge är Hakkoda Ropeway, en populär semestermål för lokalbefolkningen. Besökare kan ta en pittoreska gondoltur upp till toppen av Mount Tamoyachidake för att få svepande utsikt över Hakkoda -bergen som det är en del av. From there, several trails are available for light walking where visitors can enjoy the unique alpine scenery. In winter, it is one of the best places to see the famed snow monsters—trees covered in thick snow that look like creatures on guard.
It is important to check their website ahead of time, however, as the ropeway can sometimes be out of service depending on the weather, among other things. There is a live indicator on their homepage whether the ropeway is in service or not.
How to get there: From Aomori Station, board the JR Bus bound for Lake Towada “Mizuumi-go”. get off at the Ropeway station bus stop.
More info: Hakkoda Ropeway official Website
Further down the road towards Lake Towada is the Oirase Gorge. A favorite subject for photography enthusiasts because of the many rapids and waterfalls along its stream, it offers scenic tableaus brimming with lush greenery that are sure to inspire creativity. On our check out there, we chanced upon a number of visitors setting up either their cameras or their canvases, aiming to capture that perfect frame. No worries, however, if you only wish to go for a refreshing stroll, as the trail is light and can accommodate the most casual traveler.
How to get there: From Aomori Station, board the JR Bus bound for Lake Towada “Mizuumi-go”. Alight at the Yakeyama bus stop.
Located in between Aomori and Akita Prefectures, Lake Towada is the largest crater lake in Honshu Island and is a terrific spot to cap off a day exploring the Towada-Hachimantai national Park. In autumn, the vivid colors of the surrounding forests are reflected clearly on the calm waters of the lake. If you wish to slow down, you may find a spot on its koyo-lined (red leaves) shores as you admire the stunning sight; or you may rent a boat to get yourself in the water and explore its many nooks and islets.
Tucked at the base of Mt. Iwaki in Aomori’s western region is the city of Hirosaki. For much of its history, it was a castle town ruled by Tsugaru clan. To get here from Aomori City as the jump-off point, there is an hourly train that leaves from Aomori station directly towards Hirosaki. exit at Hirosaki station and take one of the city buses.
This 400-year old castle has the only remaining castle keep in the Tohoku region that has not been rebuilt in modern times. It is considered one of Japan’s most treasured castles, hence, the continued efforts to preserve and reinforce its structures. Although its main keep is comparatively smaller compared to other Japanese castles we may be used to, it more than makes up for it with its expansive and superbly preserved castle grounds that is home to thousands of cherry trees that bloom spectacularly in the spring. It is, in fact, said to be one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots in all of Japan. Not to mention the lovely, unobstructed views it provides of nearby mount Iwaki!
For a fee, visitors may come inside the 3-storey keep where a museum details its history and significance; and outlines the current renovation work being done, which saw the castle needing to be moved, in its entirety, 70 meters from its original spot.
A certain sense of comfort and peace embraces you as you climb up the steps towards the Iwakiyama Shrine. maybe it’s the tall, brute cypress trees that envelops you and makes you feel protected, or the mystic quality offered by the fact that it sits at the foot of the fabled mount Iwaki. Whatever it is, it serves as a nice respite for the weary, or at its most superficial, provides a moment of relaxation amidst the stress of travelling. Don’t miss the “mini-onsen” (hot spring) near the shrine’s entrance where you can soak your feet for a little bit before you head back on your way.
Aomori Prefecture is Japan’s largest producer of apples, and the city of Hirosaki happens to be its biggest contributor. No wonder you see apples here everywhere you go—from apple-themed onsens, to the many local apple-based delights, to even their mailboxes!
So when in Hirosaki, you definitely have to have some of them apples. arrange for an apple-picking activity where you can bite into them fresh from the tree, or head to a specialty restaurant like Chez Moi, which boasts of an apple-inspired French menu that is only available during harvest season.
A collection of 33 small lakes and ponds located in the greater Shirakami-Sanchi area (a UNESCO world Heritage Site) is Lake Juniko. translated literally, “juniko” means “twelve lakes”. It is named such because only 12 of the 33 forms of water are visible when viewed from above.
You will find the entrance to the trail near the Kyororo forest Shop. It will take you around several of the lakes and ponds in the vicinity, including the popularly-known Aoike or “blue pond”. during our visit, the lakes’ waters were especially calm and mirror-like, vividly reflecting the surrounding foliage. I was quickly left speechless at the sight of them! With the autumn colors really jumping out as the sun illuminated the forest during the morning’s golden hour.
What is also admirable about Lake Juniko (officially, The Tsugaru Quasi-National Park Lake Juniko) is how well it has been preserved. So much so that you can actually drink the water from the spring that flows down the mountains. It was some of the purest, most refreshing water I have probably tasted!
How to get to Lake Juniko: From Aomori Station, you can make your way by train towards Juniko Station. From there, buses are available that takes you to the Oku-Juniko vehicle parking bus stop where the trail begins.
More info: Konan Bus route Map & Schedule–Lake Juniko
The City of woods — Noshiro
The former Ryotei-Kaneyu
Now used primarily as a tourism facility and conference hall, Kaneyu used to be a high-class restaurant or ryotei catering to businessmen and politicians. This multi-level structure uses natural Akita cedars prominently, exemplifying Noshiro’s (and Akita Prefecture’s) lumber tradition. The facility’s director, Mr. Tatsuhiko Kobayashi, showed us around and pointed to us many of the building’s design details, demonstrating the meticulousness of Japanese construction. most interesting are the hidden doors that lead to exits, which he mentioned were used by clients who wanted to be discreet.
The ryotei is also where geishas traditionally perform, and our hosts were generous enough to invite three of them to entertain us during our lunch in Kaneyu! Apparently, there remains only a handful of geishas still active in Akita Prefecture, which makes witnessing them perform for us even more special. It was a very memorable experience!
Since Kaneyu doesn’t function as a restaurant anymore, pre-arrangements are necessary if you wish to have a traditional meal in one of their rooms. For those who would like to simply look around the building, however, entrance is free. Do ask for a guide, though, so you won’t miss all the details that make this building impressive.
How to get to Noshiro City: Noshiro is accessible from either Aomori or Akita by train. getting off at Noshiro Station, Kaneyu is a short 10-minute walk towards the city center.
Oga Peninsula, Akita
Shooting out into the Sea of Japan from the western coast of Akita prefecture is the Oga Peninsula. It may be a small piece of land but its crumpled terrain is a treasure trove of breathtaking sights and unique cultural experiences.
While the city of Oga is easily accessible by rail, touring around the peninsula can be a bit of a challenge if you plan to do it using public transport. Bus stops aren’t always near tourist spots and schedules may be too irregular for a sensible itinerary. Thus, to make better use of your time in the area, travelling via chartered shuttles and taxis, (or automobile rentals, if you can) is recommended. We encourage visitors to make transportation arrangements beforehand. We’ve provided a link below to a transportation resource in Oga, as a starting point for you in planning your trip. Oganavi–Getting around Oga: https://oganavi.com/en/access_in_oga/
Almost synonymous to the Oga Peninsula itself, the Namahage is a character from traditional Japanese folklore around which, an annual custom in this part of Japan is celebrated. Every new Year, men dressed up like the Namahage, a demon-like creature, go through households reprehending children who are being lazy or behaving badly, encouraging them to be more hard-working and valuable to their families. A check out from the Namahage also signifies good fortune for the rest of the year.
The Namahage museum is a terrific place to learn and appreciate the many facets of this highly amusing yet meaningful custom. If you wish, you can transform yourself into a Namahage by putting on one of the traditional masks and the coat made of straw. You can also witness first-hand what happens when a Namahage check outs a household, by watching a re-enactment performance of the ritual.
I personally consider this museum check out one of the highlights of our trip to Tohoku as being given a chance to understand this deep-seated tradition felt like a welcome to this oft-considered mystical region. definitely recommended!
Nyudozaki Cape & Lighthouse
If you like sunsets as much as we do, then an afternoon stop at Nyudozaki Cape is a must when you check out the Oga Peninsula.
The grassy, rolling fields that continue into a cliff is picturesque in itself. walking towards the edge, however, I may have let out an audible gasp as the shore below came into view. The beach, scattered with black rocks that seem to disperse into the ocean, was incredibly cinematic!
What better way to complete your check out of the Oga Peninsula by taking a trip up mount Kanpuzan. An inactive volcano that is unique because of its rolling green fields, it offers a majestic 360-degree vista of the entire peninsula and its neighboring landscapes. Near the summit is a rotating observatory where visitors can enjoy unobstructed views of the surrounding scenery, while