Located in the northeast of Honshu, Tohoku is the largest island of Japan, including 6 Prefectures: Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima. The Japanese are very proud of this land because it is not only scenic but also well preserves the traditional culture and customs that existed for a long time. It is also the combination of a colorful world of nature with many dazzling summer festivals.
1. Hirosaki Castle
Hirosaki Castle was built on a hilltop of Hirosaki, Japan in the 17th century (1611). It is known as one of the most beautiful castles in Japan with fortified walls and the colorful surrounding areas. Completed in 1611 but the Hirosaki Castle was destroyed by fire in 1627. Then, a 3-storey blockhouse was rebuilt to be the main fortress with moats, watchtowers and military bases.
However, what attracts many tourists to visit this place is not necessarily due to the architecture of the castle but the surrounding gardens with more than 25,000 cherry trees. Hirosaki Castle will have a romantic appearance in Cherry blossom season.
Located half an hour outside of Sendai, Matsushima is regarded as one of the 3 most beautiful bays in Japan, along with the Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture and Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture. Matsushima is about 40 square kilometers in the north-east coast of Japan, near Sendai, the capital of Miyagi. The whole area is a complex of over 200 islands and islets, sometimes just an outcropping rock, which makes Matsushima three most scenic views for centuries.
3. Lake Towada
Situated on the border between Akita and Aomori district, Lake Towada is more than 46 km in circumference. It is formed by two large and deep holes which are the result of volcanic eruptions. Although Towada is not the largest lake in Japan, many tourists are excited by its stunning views with the blue water as a centered impression of the painting and abundant surrounding primeval forests.
Kakunodate is considered as “sub Kyoto in Tohoku” with the history of 380 years. The city was built by the lord Yoshikatsu Ashina in 1620. It is an ideal place to build a castle town surrounded by mountains and rivers. Today, you can easily walk around the small historic city seeing many houses and stores characterized the Samurai architecture. In Spring, you can also admire more than 400 cherry trees blooming along the Samurai streets.
5. Yamadera temple
Yamadera Temple was built in the year 860 and is one of the most sacred places in Tohoku. Situated on a steep cliff, the temple is called Yamadera which means “mountain temple”. You’ll have to climb 800 stone steps to reach its summit. Standing from the main hall of the temple, you can admire the magnificent scenery full of mountains and surrounding villages. Around the temple there are dozens of shops and restaurants catering for tourists visiting the temple. There is also a hub for visitors crossing the bridge along the road from the station to the temple.
Centuries have passed but Aizu still preserved almost intact landscapes and customs. On the streets of Wakamatsu and Kitakata, visitors still can see the old warehouses, sake cellars and shops selling items of traditional crafts. Thanks to the abundant pure water from the streams in the region, Aizu is the place where produces delicious food and famous drinks including rice, buckwheat and sake. In the south of Aizu, there are still many villages with thatched roofs. The friendly people, hospitality and simplicity of this place will give visitors a sense of nostalgia for the era of the ancient land of cherry blossoms.
In Japanese, Onsen means hot springs. Hot spring is considered a tradition in Japan and is a very natural way to relax and effectively improve human health both physically and mentally. Especially when coming Tohoku, one of the places that have the most popular hot springs, you should not miss this opportunity. Hot springs in Tohoku also have a high concentration of minerals than others so that they not only have many beautiful colors, such as white milk, yellow, blue, green, but also better for the health of travelers.
8. Zao Ski Resort & Okama Lake
Zao is one of the most beautiful ski resorts in Japan. Especially, there is a lake formed from a volcanic crater called Okama which means a pot used to cook rice in Japan. This lake has varied colors depending on time and weather. The lake is 1700m altitude above the sea level and you can easily walk around it to admire the surrounding landscape.
9. Chusonji Temple
Chusonji Temple was built in the year 850 and is a very large temple. In which used to have more than 40 temples and 300 monasteries. Many works in Chusonji had been burned in fires. There still exists 17 buildings, including the main hall and surrounding buildings.
10. Sannai Maruyama Site
Sannai Maruyama site is one of the palces that are not to be missed when coming to Aomori city. It is one of the relics of the Jomon community with the largest scale in Japan dating back about 4,000 to 5500 years. Articles about the excavation and re-creation of the old houses are on display to the public. The Nebuta Festival is held annually in August and it attracts many visitors from all over the world.