Population: 1,335 million
photo by Christopher Liang
Located in the Tohoku region between the Hakkoda Mountain Range and Mutsu bay, Aomori is one of the country’s most beautiful prefectures. The prefecture came into existence in 1871 and its capital city is Aomori.
- AOMORI CITY
- The town of Aomori was established on April 1st, 1898.
Since the Edo period, Aomori has been the main point for trade and transportation between the Japanese mainland of Honshu and Hokkaido Island.
Most of its attractions are recent buildings including the Wa Rasse, a must-see cultural and arts center, A-Factory a place consisting of apple-based workshops alongside a market and restaurants selling Aomori-produced food, which you can sample and Aomori Bay Bridge, beautiful when lit up at night.
The city is also home to some superb museums and galleries that can be reached by public bus from Aomori station, taxi or rental car.
- WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE
- One of the Aomori’s main attraction is the Aomori Showa Daibutsu, also know as the Big Buddha, the tallest seated Buddha in Japan.
Other attractions include:
Located in Nanbu town, this temple houses the oldest Buddha ashes in Japan. In addition it has the largest three-story pagoda in Japan and a thousand-year-old cedar tree.
Hirosaki Castle - a castle in Hirosaki known for its gardens of cherries.
Mutsu Bay - Wild horses can be seen at Cape Shiriya and Shipwreck Beach.
Juniko Lakes - Located near Fukaura Town, the name means “twelve lakes” despite the fact that there are 33. One unique characteristic is the lakes' brilliant colors; one in particular, Aoike Lake, is a rich blue color.
Mount Osore - one of three mountains in Japan that is dedicated to Buddha. The Japanese believe the souls of the dead reside here, and during the summer and autumn festivals many Japanese and tourists travel to this mountain.
Hakkoda Mountains - the Hakkōda Mountains in Aomori provide excellent hiking in the warmer seasons.
Aomori Prefecture boasts a variety of festivals throughout the year offering a unique look into northern Japan. Spring is the cherry blossom festival and is celebrated throughout Japan by gathering together to view the blooming cherry blossoms. Summer and Autumn hold many distinct festivals with bright lights, floats, dancing and music. Winter is centered on snow festivals where one can view ice sculptures and enjoy Japanese cuisine inside an ice hut.
One of the most noticeable festival is Aomori Nebuta Festival held each year from August 2 to 7 in Aomori City.
The festival attracts the most tourists of any of the country's festivals, and is counted among the three largest festivals in the Tōhoku region.
- GETTING THERE
- By plane
Aomori Airport is about a 35 minute drive from the city centre, with a bus service available. The airport is served by Japan Airlines, JAL with daily flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo.
You may also get there by train, Aomori station being the main station of the city and the connecting point between main line trains and trains for Aomori-Hakodate section.
- CLIMATE/ TEMPERATURE
- Aomori prefecture’s climate is cool for the most part. It has four distinct seasons with an average temperature of 10 °C. The lowest recorded temperature during the winter is -9.3 °C, and the highest recorded temperature during the summer is 33.1 °C.
Aomori and its surrounding area are renowned for heavy snowfall, the heaviest among all Japanese cities, and, in fact, among the heaviest in the world.
In summer, a cool wind called Yamase often blows from the east, which sometimes results in abnormally cool weather and poor harvests. Additionally, thick fogs are often observed in mountainous areas in the summer. Due to this fog, flights to Aomori Airport are often cancelled.
- WHAT TO WEAR
- During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. Winter boots are a must due to heavy snowfalls.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket should keep you warm.
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