The Tōhoku region (東北, literally, the northeast) occupies the eastern and northernmost part of Honshū, where Tōkyō, Kyōto, Ōsaka and Hiroshima are also located, the main destinations that recall Japan. This vast region consists of 6 prefectures: Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi and Fukushima.
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Tōhoku, a region still deeply unknown to foreign tourism, boasts, together with Hokkaidō, the most extreme nature scenes in Japan, among fairy-tale like landscapes covered with snow in winter and fresh summers full of green spaces!
Step into the mountains to discover ancient shrines in the forest, go in search of lighthouses along high cliffs on the Ocean, taste the rich rice of the northern regions and enjoy the tranquility of the cherry trees that bloom at the end of April. Tōhoku starts here, but it is much, much more!
When to visit Tohoku
The region of Tōhoku offers wonderful experiences in any season of the year, without any true downside. Let’s see in brief what you can expect in the different seasons:
Tōhoku is nicknamed yukiguni (雪 国, the snowy country) by Japanese people. Indeed, the western shore of the Sea of Japan is one of the world’s most snowy areas! So for those who like skiing, you will find fantastic slopes here, especially those of Ura-Bandai, Appi-Kōgen, Hachimantai, Shizukuishi, and many others.
In addition to winter sports, the long winter of the north offers some rare experiences, such as the Kamakura festival in Yokote, the Stube Train in Aomori, or admire the incredible snow monsters (樹 氷, juhyō, icy trees) that cover the snowy mountain tops.
Here spring comes with no hurry, but with it you will have the opportunity to admire the cherry trees in bloom in a period a bit different, which goes between the middle to the end of April. With the awakening of nature, this region also offers extremely genuine and high quality fruits, vegetables and earth products: in particular, the Aomori apples and the Yamagata cherries are famous.
In summer, the rice fields of koshihikari (a variety of rice that is very common in this area, but also in the south of Japan) explode in green, as do the vegetation made of cypress trees to the south and birch trees as you go north. Temperatures may be higher, but there is always some refreshment compared to big cities.
In this season it is possible to take part in hundreds of local festivals, among which the most famous are the famous Nebuta Matsuri of Aomori and the Kantō Matsuri of Akita.
The short fall of Tōhoku, which comes pretty soon after Summer, is tinged with incredible autumn colors immersed in the mountains. You can take a journey along the various local railways, such as the Akita Jūkan Railway, which passes slowly and unhurriedly between villages forgotten by modern times. Or, you can relax in one of the many spa towns that seem to come from a Studio Ghibli movie, like Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata.
How to reach an move around
Click here to read more about reaching Tohoku and moving in it.
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