You will find timeless real Japan in the Tohoku region, which truly represents beautiful Japanese spirit that remains from the ancient time.
Even if you’ve already known Japan, you will be touched by the traditional Japanese culture blended in Tohoku tradition.
This video shows how travelers can interact with local people and real beauty of Tohoku culture.
We all want to eat our favorite fish and seafood lined up at fish markets with our favorite recipes, but there is no way we can eat all of them. Our long-awaited dream comes true with "Nokkedon Bowl". Order a bowl of rice, and choose your favorite seafood to put on the rice as you walk around the fish market.
Some people may prefer exciting, joyful hot spring villages, but here in Tohoku, we recommend you visit relaxing hot spring villages surrounded by nature. In Kuroishi City, located close to Hirosaki City, there are streets that preserve the good old scenery from over 270 years ago. Nostalgic things add something special to your trip. Whether it be a modern style inn with convenience or a traditional inn that’s surrounded by nature, you will not be disappointed with their hospitality.
Nebuta Festival consists of two main features; a massive parade of "Nebuta Dashi Floats" that have Kabuki and legendary heroes designed on them, and energetic dancers called "Haneto" who lead the floats. The origin of the festival comes from the old local tradition where people prayed against evils and wished for rich harvests in autumn. Now, it is a festival that attracts even foreign tourists, some of whom go there just to dance. Dancing and ringing bells in Yukata is very Japanese, but the festival goes crazy like a dance festival. It is a unique summer festival where the performers and the audience come together. Don’t just look! Join the fun!
Iwaigawa River flows from Mt. Kurikoma, a mountain that goes over Iwate, Akita, and Miyagi, to Ichinoseki city in Iwate prefecture. The dynamic scenery of Genbikei was made little by little as the rocks were eroded by the clear stream that flew through them. Some rocks look like a dinosaur lying down, and a rapid stream flows alongside calm deep water. The scenery keeps changing in Genbikei and the great nature surrounds its rigorous landscape. "Genbi" means solemn and beautiful, and Genbikei won’t let you down with its name.
Aquamarine Fukushima is located along the coastal area, and its glass exterior shines like a mirror that reflects the ocean. The biggest feature of the aquarium is their large fish tank that takes up two stories of the aquarium and replicates the ocean of Fukushima where the Japan current and the Oyashio current meet in the Pacific Ocean. You can feel like you are walking in the middle of the ocean if you walk through the triangular tunnel that goes through the center of the fish tank. They also have exhibitions that introduce the mystery of life forms from not only sea but forests and rivers.
"Kokeshi" is a type of wooden dolls that have been made mainly in hot springs in the Tohoku region since the Edo period. They have different designs in each region, but they share the same circular head and cylindrical body. The shape of Naruko Kokeshi dolls and the face of a young girl drawn with simple lines are very adorable. Naruko Kokeshi dolls are "reminiscent and cute" if we say it the Japanese way, and that is exactly what’s appealing about them. You can try painting a Kokeshi doll in some ateliers.
A famous Japanese poet put down his brush in front of this beautiful scenery. The beauty of Matsushima has always been adored by people all over Japan. It is not the beautiful scenery of islands floating on the calm ocean that people adore. It was also the beauty of spirits that have been accumulated over the years that people adore. In a way, Matsushima symbolizes Japanese people’s concept of beauty. "Zuiganji Temple", a national treasure of Japan, has just been renovated and is getting a lot of attention. We recommend you visit Matsushima and fully enjoy its beautiful scenery that represents Japan.
"Gyutan (grilled beef tongue)" was invented in Sendai 70 years ago by a cook who wanted to come up with something new that could be as good as Yakitori (grilled chicken). Until then, beef tongue was not a major ingredient in Japan, but it became popular in the form of a meal set that consisted of grilled beef tongue, boiled rice and barley, and oxtail soup. Just like that, "Gyutan" was invented in Sendai. Today, there are more than 100 Gyutan restaurants in Sendai, and people visit them casually. Why don’t you find your favorite Gyutan restaurant that you can visit casually?
Located only about an hour away from the central part of Sendai city, you have access to the refreshing nature of Sendai. Known as one of the three waterfalls of Japan, Akiu Otaki falls from 55 meters above the ground with the width of 6 meters, and people visit there to enjoy its vigorous view. However, you should enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature that changes its expression in each season. Fresh greens in spring, burning red and orange in autumn, and white and silver in winter; what kind of colors would you want to see?
If you visit Yamagata in autumn, you will see a lot of parties with huge hot pots on riverbeds. The hot pot is called "Imoni", and it contains beef, tofu, vegetables, and more than anything, fresh taros. People in Yamagata make their Imoni with soy sauce, and eat it outside with their friends. Although "Imonikai" parties are usually privately held, they would welcome you warmly. If you want to make friends in Yamagata, you should communicate with people at Imoni parties!
Ogres are antiheroes that appear in children’s stories and legends. They are also known as a symbol of fear to people. "Namahage", a local tradition of Oga Hanto, have terrifying faces, but they are messengers from god that exorcize the evil and fix people’s dull behavior and discord. Namahage is now a popular icon of sightseeing in Tohoku. The sight of Namahage swinging their hatchets is frightening even for grownups, but they also have an adorable side as well. They go around each house in Oga on New Year’s Eve, but you can also see them dancing vigorously next to a huge fire at "Namahage Sedo Festival", which is held in mid-February every year.
When you travel in Japan, looking for souvenirs to take home is part of the fun. Why don’t you make your own souvenirs and give them to your friends and family? At Tsugaru Traditional Craft Centre, they introduce seven ateliers where they make folk crafts and food that are all closely connected to the Tsugaru region in Aomori prefecture. You can take a look around, buy their products, and even try making your own folk crafts. We recommend you try their Tsugaru style painting activity where you can make your own key holders, straps and chopsticks. Let important people in your life know how much you think of them by giving them souvenirs handmade by you.