Aomori is the most northern prefecture on Japan’s main island of Honshu. The three biggest things it’s known for include festivals, apples and extreme snowfall in the wintertime. From Tokyo, it takes just under four hours by the recently new Hayabusa bullet train line.


Aomori is home to one of the rare bladesmiths remaining in Japan whose works take about one month to prepare. The swords range in price from $3,000 all the way up to $10,000. It’s nearly impossible to take them outside of Japan without considerable amounts of money and paperwork for licensing, but you can enjoy them for their intended artistic purpose.


Aomori towers over all other festivals in Japan with their brightly-colored, illuminated tachinebuta floats. Each float takes almost a year to make and requires about 60 people to move it. When they’re not busy being festive, the floats are stored on display in special buildings several stories high with moveable walkways and huge doors. The walkways of the exhibition hall serve as drawbridges that open up to allow the nebuta floats to pass through safely.


Foreigners living in Japan, particularly from Europe and North America, often miss the taste of fresh apple cider. Hirosaki Apple Park is home to well over a thousand apple trees with 65 different varieties of apples. You can pick apples to take home with you or have them made into fresh apple cider!


Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel is located near picturesque Lake Towada. The resort is home to natural streams and waterfalls with the hotel itself designed so that it fits in with the natural surroundings. Aomori Ringo Kitchen showcases the famous apples of the prefecture, which are naturally used in the dishes the hotel prepares.


You can enjoy open-air hot springs right next to an all-natural waterfall! Hot springs in Japan are usually segregated by gender and visitors are completely naked, but this may be the perfect place to try out Japan’s hot spring culture if you have concerns about being naked in front of others. The resort’s hot spring is usually mixed with men and women able to enter at the same time (there are some exceptions, so please confirm in advance), so you may wear a towel or other swimwear. A place like this would appear to be nestled worlds away from civilization, but the resort offers shuttle bus services from Shin-Aomori Station as well as the airport.


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By - grape Japan editorial staff.