Aomori is the northernmost prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu, but is easily accessible by shinkansen from Tokyo - if you've got a JR rail pass you can take the Hayabusa shinkansen which will have you there in just a touch over three hours. What's there to do in this beautiful part of the country? Plenty! Here are five good reasons to add Aomori to your travel plans!
It's got some killer spots to check out those cherry blossoms
If you're headed to Tokyo, you might be worried that you'll miss peak cherry blossom season there, since they're forecast around late March to be in full bloom. Head north, however, and you buy yourself some time! Hirosaki Castle is one of the most famous spots in Aomori to check out those beautiful blooms, and this year's festival at Hirosaki Park runs from April 21st through until May 6th. Some other famous spots to see the cherry blossoms in all their glory in the prefecture include the Tsugaru Fujimi Lake Park, at the Kanagi Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Towada City Spring Festival.
The area hosts one of Japan's most interesting festivals
Japan has plenty of incredible festivals, but one of the best (and most colorful!) has to be Aomori's Nebuta Festival, held annually in August. The festival has incredible floats that are made to depict scenes from Japanese mythology and folklore - the work that goes into them has to be seen to be believed. This year's festival dates are from August 2nd until August 7th, but even if you can't make it there for the festival dates, you can check out the floats at the Nebuta Museum Warasse year round.
You can see architecture from long-gone eras
When Aomori Prefecture were scouting out areas to build a new baseball field in the 1990's, they probably didn't expect to stumble upon ruins that date back somewhere from 4000-5500 years ago. The Sannai Maruyama site has reconstructed these Jomon era dwellings, and the site itself is free to check out. If you're a history buff, this one might interest you!
You can enjoy (and pick for yourself!) some of the prefecture's fantastic fruit
Aomori is one of Japan's leading agricultural prefectures, and they're well known for their apples - producing the largest amount in all of Japan, in fact! There are spots throughout the prefecture where you can pick them for yourself - including the Hirosaki Apple Park and Aomori Ringo-no-Sato. If you check with the staff at your accommodation, they're likely to be able to guide you to some local fruit picking spots if you'd like to indulge.
In the winter months, they've got some awesome skiing and snowboarding spots
If you're into winter sports, Aomori has you covered there too. Whilst international visitors might be all about visiting the likes of Nagano or Hokkaido to get their fill of the white stuff, Aomori has plenty of spots to visit as well. This link from Snow Japan points you in the right direction with Aomori's offerings, but one of the most well known in country is Hakkoda.
If you are looking for ways to maximize the use of that JR rail pass and see some spots in Japan that not every tourist visits, you might want to think about Aomori as a potential destination.
Enjoy Japan, and Safe Travels!
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