Tohoku region is the area of northern Japan contains 6 prefectures; Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima. There are lots of attractions that you can only encounter in northern part of Japan, such as nature, history and food. In this article, I will introduce some of the attractions.
About Tohoku Region
There are 6 prefectures in Tohoku region, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima. The weather is almost same as Hokkaido.
With the longest mountain range in Japan Ou Mountains (奥羽山脈) running in the middle from north to south of Tohoku region, numerous mountains and rivers with seasonal sceneries are in the region. Especially in the winter, many parts in the Tohoku areas get heavy snow, as some parts are specified as the “heavy snow area” (豪雪地帯 gousetsu chitai) by the government. You sure will be moved by the scenery of snow covered mountains.
Tohoku region has developed their own culture, such as Hiraizumi, the famous poet “Basho Matsuo” wrote about Tohoku region when he traveled around. There are lots of historic sights; shrines, temples, and castles, as it tells us the unique culture of Tohoku region.
Also, you cannot miss food when you try to understand the attractions of Tohoku region. Water flows in the rivers of Tohoku is very clean and delicious. The fruits developed with the water, local food, unique b-class (casual) gourmet will definitely make your trip memorable.
JR provides “JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass” for tourists from overseas, which lets you 6 days free ride in the Kando, Tohoku, and some part of Hokkaido region.
Enjoy the seasonal scenery of nature in Tohoku
There are so many nature sights in Tohoku region, such as Oirase Gorge, Lake Towada, beautiful Mount Iwate, Genbikei Gorge, Geibikei Gorge, and the famous Shirakami Sanchi which is registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The water of Oirase Gorge flows
The water of Oirase Gorge flows from Lake Towada in Aomori prefecture. The 14 km trail keeps you astonished.
Geibikei in Hiraizumi
Geibikei in Hiraizumi, Iwate prefecture is surrounded by quays on the both sides with different sceneries depending on the season. They offer a boat cruise to fully enjoy the beautiful gorge.
Shirakami Sanchi is a mountainous vast virgin forest straddles both Aomori and Akita prefectures. It is registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site with Yakushima.
Getting around the historical sights in Tohoku
The famous course is “4 temples pilgrimage” which Ennin (Jikaku Taishi) fouded in 9th Century and in 17th Century Basho Matsuo also visited. One of the temple Chuson-ji is also registered to UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4 Temples Pilgrimage “Shiji Kairo” in Tohoku
1. Risshaku-ji in Yamagata prefecture
Risshaku-ji also known as “Yamadera” in Yamagata prefecture. The view from the summit after 1,000 steps are so amazing that you will never forget.
2. Chuson-ji in Iwate prefecture
Chuson-ji has registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Being a treasury for Heian arts, they get numerous visitors through out the year. Especially the Golden Pavilion is a must-see.
3. Motsu-ji in Iwate prefecture
Motsu-ji is a UNESCO World Heritage sites together with Chuson-ji. They have one of the most famous and most beautiful Japanese garden.
4. Zuigan-ji in Miyagi prefecture
The last of 4 temples, Zuigan-ji, is located in Matsushima area, which is one of the “Three Great View of Japan”.
There are lots of sites; castles, castle ruins, and shrines, relating to famous warriors Kenshin Uesugi and Masamune Date.
Special Historical Site Sannai-Maruyama site in Aomori prefecture is one of the largest remains of the Early to the Middle Jomon period (approx. 5,500 to 4,000 years ago).
Fruits, local food and B-class gourmet
With abundant nature surrounded, there are lots of local food in Tohoku that you would not want to miss.
Cherries from Yamagata
Cherries from Yamagata and apples from Aomori.
Soba in Yamagata prefecture
Soba cocked with water from Mogami river. Lots of famous soba restaurants are located along the Soba roadway in Yamagata prefecture.
Cold ramen in Yamagata prefecture
Yamagata locals’ favorites, cold ramen and cold niku (meat) soba!
Kiritanpo in Akita prefecture
Kiritanpo along the irori in Akita prefecture
Lots of activities such as onsen and fruit picking
Because Tohoku region is surrounded by mountains, there are lots of hot springs.
Ginzan onsen in Yamagata prefecture
One of the most famous onsen district is Ginzan onsen, which leaves the atmosphere of Taisho period.
Strawberry picking in Fukushima prefecture
Enjoy the fresh fruit at the farm! Strawberry or cherry picking in Fukushima prefecture.
Trekking or rafting
Trekking or rafting in summer and skiing in winter.
There are far more attractions and I can not introduce everything. Visit Tohoku and experience yourself!
Thumbnail image is from Flickr