Tohoku: Places to Explore


  • Akita

    In the scenic, faraway realm of Akita, the peaks of the Dewa Sanchi (Dewa Range), marked by Mt. Taihei, march off to the east, and the Sea of Japan lies at the edge of the fertile plains that...

  • Aomori

    Aomori's main event is its Nebuta Matsuri Festival,held August 2 to 7. People come to see illuminated floats of gigantic samurai figures paraded through the streets at night. Aomori's festival is...

  • Hiraizumi

    A culture of gold flourished in Hiraizumi in the late 11th and 12th centuries, when the Oshu Fujiwara family, a then-powerful clan, chose to move here. Massive temple-building projects were...

  • Hirosaki

    Hirosaki is one of northern Tohoku's most attractive cities. It's most famous for its sweet apples, and its only real cultural attraction is a small but photogenic reconstructed castle. The town...

  • Matsushima

    Matsushima and its bay are the most popular coastal resort destinations in Tohoku. Matsushima owes this distinction to an infatuation in Japan with oddly shaped rocks, which the bay has in...

  • Morioka

    Morioka is a busy commercial and industrial city ringed by mountains, but it's more of a travel hub than a destination to visit; for that reason, a one-day (or even half-day) stopover is usually...

  • Sendai

    Sendai is Tohoku's largest city, and its 1.3 million residents enjoy the big-city amenities coupled with the easygoing vibe of a small town. Devastated by World War II, Sendai has since become a...

  • Tazawa-ko and Kakunodate

    Japan’s deepest lake, Tazawa-ko (Lake Tazawa), and the traditional town of Kakunodate are good side-trips into Tohoku's wilder interior, approachable from either Morioka or the west-coast city...

  • Towada–Hachiman-tai National Park

  • Tsuruoka and Dewa-Sanzan

  • Yamadera

    If you'd like to see one of Japan's most revered—and scenic—temple complexes, come up here on an easy day trip from Sendai.

  • Yamagata

    Yamagata, or Mountain Terrain, is the capital of the prefecture of the same name (and the Sister City of Boulder, Colorado). It's a community of a quarter-million souls who enjoy one of the most...


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