Aomori Travel Recommendations

Aomori Prefecture, located in the northernmost part of Japan’s main island of Honshu, offers visitors a unique cultural and natural experience. Its capital city, Aomori, is located approximately 500 kilometers northeast of Tokyo and is accessible by train, bus, or airplane. This guide will provide an overview of the prefecture including how to get there, the best season to visit, and must-see places.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Aomori from Tokyo is by shinkansen, the bullet train. The ride takes approximately three and a half hours and costs around 18,000 yen one way. Alternatively, there are overnight buses that depart from Tokyo and arrive in Aomori in the morning. The bus ride takes approximately nine hours and costs around 10,000 yen. Aomori Airport also has flights from several major cities in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo.

Best Season to Visit

Aomori offers something unique to see and experience every season, making it a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit depends on your interests.

Spring (April to June) is the best time to see the cherry blossoms in Aomori. Hirosaki Castle, located in Hirosaki city, is famous for its cherry blossom festival, which takes place in late April to early May. Additionally, Mount Hakkoda, located in the south of Aomori prefecture, offers beautiful spring hikes.

Summer (July to September) is the time for festivals in Aomori. The Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori city, one of Japan’s three largest festivals, takes place in early August. The festival features huge illuminated floats depicting mythical creatures and historical figures. Additionally, the Aomori Nebuta museum, located in the heart of Aomori city, offers an immersive experience of the festival year-round.

Autumn (October to November) is when the leaves change colors, making it a great time to visit the Oirase Gorge, a beautiful nature trail that follows the Oirase River. The trail is approximately 14 kilometers long and offers picturesque views of waterfalls and autumn foliage.

Winter (December to March) is famous for Aomori’s heavy snowfall and skiing opportunities. Mount Hakkoda, Aomori’s premier ski resort, receives up to 10 meters of snowfall every winter, making it a destination for advanced skiers.

Must-See Places

Hirosaki Castle and Park

Hirosaki Castle and Park, located in Hirosaki city, is one of the most famous castles in Japan. The castle was built in 1611 and is surrounded by a large park that offers beautiful cherry blossom viewing in the spring and colorful foliage in the autumn.

Towada-Hachimantai National Park

Towada-Hachimantai National Park, located in the center of Aomori prefecture, is a beautiful natural area that encompasses the Towada Lake and Mount Hachimantai. The park offers several hiking trails, hot springs, and beautiful autumn foliage.

Osore Zan

Osore Zan is a sacred mountain which is considered one of the most revered spiritual sites in the country. Osore Zan is believed to be the gateway to the afterlife in Japanese folklore and is associated with the Buddhist concept of the underworld. The area features volcanic landscapes, sulfuric springs, and a lake known as Lake Usori, which is said to be inhabited by spirits. Many pilgrims visit Osore Zan to pray, pay respects to the deceased, and seek spiritual guidance. The eerie yet serene atmosphere of Osore Zan makes it a unique and mystical destination for those interested in spirituality and folklore.


Shirakami-Sanchi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Japan’s last remaining virgin beech forests. The area is located in the west of Aomori prefecture and offers beautiful hiking trails through the forest.

Hakkoda Mountains

The Hakkoda Mountains, located in the south of Aomori prefecture, offer advanced skiing opportunities in the winter and beautiful hiking trails in the summer. The area is famous for its heavy snowfall and the outdoor hot spring baths known as “rotenburo.”

Sannai Maruyama

Sannai Maruyama is an archaeological site known for its significance in understanding the Jomon period, a prehistoric era in Japan. The site consists of ruins of ancient settlements and burial mounds dating back to around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. Excavations have revealed a wealth of artifacts, including pottery, tools, and ritual items, providing valuable insights into the lifestyle and culture of the Jomon people. Sannaimaruyama offers visitors a chance to explore reconstructed dwellings and experience the history and heritage of this ancient civilization in a beautiful natural setting.

Cuisines you can enjoy in Aomori


Nokke-don is a type of donburi, which is a rice bowl dish with various toppings. Nokke-don’s toppings usually include fresh seafood such as salmon roe, sea urchin, tuna, squid, and more. The dish is typical in the Furukawa fish market in Aomori prefecture. The restaurant that is highly recommended for its nokke-don dish is Ou Gourmet Market. It offers a wide variety of fresh seafood toppings to choose from that are locally sourced in the market.

Hachinohe Senbei-Jiru

Hachinohe Senbei-Jiru is a hotpot dish that originated from Hachinohe city in Aomori prefecture. The soup base is made from mashed rice crackers combined with seafood such as squid, clams, and vegetables. It is highly recommended to eat this dish at Kokeshi, a restaurant located in Hachinohe city, which has been serving the dish for over two generations.

dou-ya, located in Hirosaki, is famous for its Chicken Nanban dish. The restaurant offers a unique twist of the traditional Chicken Nanban by adding soy sauce granules on top of the chicken.


Jappa-Jiru is a soup dish consisting of various seafood such as octopus, shrimp, and scallops mixed with Japanese mountain vegetables. The soup is thickened with wheat flour, making it a hearty and filling dish. The best place to try this dish is at Zuttouni in Aomori city, which is known for its homemade soup stock made from konbu seaweed and dried bonito.


Ika-Meshi is a rice dish made by stuffing squid with rice, vegetables, and seafood. The squid is then grilled or steamed until cooked. The best place to try this dish is at Fresh Market Aomori in Aomori city, which sources its squid from the fresh seafood from the harbor.


Hittsumi is a type of dumpling soup made from a mixture of flour, water, and grated vegetables such as daikon and carrot. The dumplings are boiled together with miso soup and vegetables. The recommended restaurant to try this dish is Waraku, located in Aomori city, which has a rich and flavorful Hittsumi soup

These are just some of the many delicious cuisines you can enjoy in Aomori prefecture. Each dish has its unique taste and flavor, and when paired with the local ingredients, they create a mouth-watering gastronomic experience.

Recommended Accommodations in Aomori

Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya

Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya is a luxurious hotel located in Aomori, providing a unique experience to visitors. Each room is fitted with comfortable beds, exceptional views of nature, and provides guests with an authentic experience by offering traditional tatami mat flooring, Japanese-style bedding, and a hot spring onsen.

Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel

The Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel is a luxurious hotel that offers guests a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Iwate. The hotel is situated in a location that provides easy access to the Oirase Gorge.

Hotel Grand Mer Sankaiso

Hotel Grand Mer Sankaiso is a luxurious hotel located close to Aomori’s seaport. This hotel is famous for its luxurious suites that offer splendid seaport views. Each room features Japanese-style bedding, balconies with spectacular views, and a vast array of amenities like a massage chair, flat-screen TVs, and coffee makers.

Art Hotel Color Aomori

Art Hotel Color Aomori is a renowned luxurious hotel located near the Aomori Museum of Art. The hotel boasts of the Japanese traditional touch with its tatami mat flooring and futon beds while having western amenities. Each room features a TV, refrigerator, garden views, and an attached private bathroom.

Aomori Kokusai Hotel

Aomori Kokusai Hotel is located in the Aomori City area, a few minutes away from the Aomori Bay Bridge. It features luxurious rooms that can accommodate multiple families. Each room features luxurious bedding, Nespresso coffee makers, private balconies with great views of the ocean, and 24-hour room service.

Hotel JAL City Aomori

Hotel JAL City Aomori is situated in the heart of the city, a few minutes’ walk from the Aomori train station. This hotel offers luxurious rooms featuring sophisticated designs that blend classical European motifs with Japanese touches. Each room features a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, and an attached bathroom that features elegant décor.

Hotel New Castle

Located near Aomori train station, Hotel New Castle offers luxurious rooms with an excellent view of the harbor. Each room is uniquely decorated, features flat-screen TVs, and comes with a comfortable king-sized bed. The hotel also boasts an on-site restaurant which serves some of the best Japanese cuisine in the city.

Towada Hotel

Towada Hotel is located in the Hirosaki City area, where guests can enjoy scenic views of Lake Towada. The hotel features luxurious rooms with breathtaking views of the lake and mountain scenery. Each room features traditional Japanese interiors, like tatami mats, futon beds, and Japanese-style seating areas.

Hotel Aomori

Located close to the Aomori train station, Hotel Aomori is a luxurious hotel that offers genuine Japanese hospitality. Guests can enjoy traditional Japanese-style rooms fitted with tatami mat flooring, futon beds, and an onsen that offers natural hot spring water. Each room features spectacular views of the city from windows.

Aomori Royal Hotel

Aomori Royal Hotel overlooks the city of Aomori and provides guests with premium amenities like a rooftop terrace, a hot tub, and an on-site restaurant that serves some of the best seafood dishes. Rooms feature private bathrooms with free toiletries, TVs, and refrigerators. The hotel is in close vicinity to the popular tourist spots in the city.

Hotel Sunroute Aomori

Hotel Sunroute Aomori is the only hotel located within walking distance of Shin-Aomori Shinkansen Station. The hotel offers luxurious accommodation with expansive views of Mount Hakkoda. Rooms feature cozy beds, flat-screen TVs, and private modern bathrooms. This hotel is perfect for those who are looking to travel comfortably within the city.


Aomori prefecture offers visitors a unique cultural and natural experience year-round. The best time to visit depends on your interests, but the prefecture offers something for everyone. Visiting Hirosaki Castle and Park, Towada-Hachimantai National Park, Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse, Shirakami-Sanchi, the Hakkoda Mountains, and the Aomori Museum of Art are must-see places that offer a glimpse into Aomori’s beauty and culture.

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