Japan has plenty of worthy spots for a traveler to head to. Every prefecture has something unique to offer, whether that’s a fascinating shrine or temple, some delicious regional cuisine, incredible nature or even a fun theme park! One prefecture that isn’t as well-known as some of the others, perhaps, is Aomori Prefecture. Located at the northernmost tip of Honshu Island, the region is probably best known for its apple production (they’re Japan’s leading producer of apples!) and for great skiing in the wintertime. There are so many fantastic sights to explore outside those two things, though! If you’re after somewhere different to head to, here are several reasons why Aomori should be on your radar.
1. They’re home to one of Japan’s best festivals
Japan has loads of fantastic festivals year round, but one of the most revered has to be the Aomori Nebuta Festival. Held annually in early August, the festival showcases a range of floats with giant lanterns on them, many of which depict various Japanese folk tales and mythical legends.
If you can’t be in Aomori in time for the Nebuta Festival, never fear – a great way to experience what the festival is like is through the Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse (ねぶたの家ワ・ラッセ). The museum is open year round and shows off a number of the floats that you’d get to see at the festival itself.
2. There is history by the bucketload
If you’re a history buff, there’s a spot in Aomori that you’ll find absolutely fascinating – and that’s the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins (三内丸山遺跡). The ruins here were only found in the early 1990’s when the local council was surveying potential locations for a new baseball field. They found artifacts from the Jomon (縄文) era at the site (dating back to 14,000 – 300 BCE!) and ended up recreating what the area would have looked like back then instead of proceeding with the sporting venue. You’re able to see many different dwellings and other pieces of history at Sannai-Maruyama, and it’s only a short distance from the heart of Aomori City. Best of all, admission is completely free.
3. You can enjoy a tasty foodie scene
One thing that impressed me about Aomori was the quality of the food. A place that I really enjoyed was Galetteria Da Sasino, which is tucked away on the second floor of the A-Factory building. The A-Factory premises showcases a bunch of delicious Aomori-based eats and drinks (including plenty of locally produced cider!), and Galetteria Da Sasino operates on a similar ideology. They make French style galettes that display the best of Aomori’s produce, including a smoked chicken tenderloin galette topped with apple slices, and even a lasagna galette. Oishii!
- Aomori Prefecture is easily accessible from Tokyo via the Hayabusa Shinkansen. Travel time from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori Station is just over three hours.
- Alternatively, Japan Airlines (JAL) fly from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Aomori Airport, with a flight time of one hour and 15 minutes.
Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse
- Website: http://www.nebuta.jp/warasse/foreign/english.html
- Address: 1-1-1 Yasukata, Aomori, Aomori Prefecture 030-0803
- Prices: Adult admission to the museum is 600 yen, high school students are 450 yen, and elementary aged students are 250 yen.
- Hours: The museum is open 7 days a week from 9am until 6pm. They do close over the New Year’s Period and for a couple of days in August to change out the floats on display.
- Website: http://sannaimaruyama.pref.aomori.jp/english/
- Address: 305 Sannai Maruyama, Aomori, Aomori Prefecture, 038-0031
- Prices: Admission is free.
A Factory Aomori (where you can find Galetteria Da Sasino)
- Website: https://www.en-aomori.com/shopping-017.html
- Address: 1-4-2 Yanakawa, Aomori, Aomori Prefecture, 038-0012