Tanesashi Coast Promenade

A Visit to the Aomori Museum of Art

Towada-Hachimantai National Park

Lake Towada and Oirase Valley

Magnificient Lake Towada in winter (Photo: Jean Dacher) The Tohoku maiden on the shore of Lake Towada (Photo: Jean Dacher) Oirase Valley: small frozen waterfall in the background (Photo: Jean Dacher) Hiking with snowshoes near Tsuta Onsen (Photo: Jean Dacher) Winter Wonderland (Photo: Jean Dacher) Frozen waterfall—really wonderful the blueish colour (Photo: Jean Dacher) The […]

Visiting Lake Towada in Aomori and Akita

Along the shore of Lake Towada A sightseeing cruise heading across the lake The famous statue on the lake’s south side Lake Towada is the largest caldera lake on Japan’s main island of Honshu and one of Tohoku’s most beautiful scenic spots. The lake straddles the border of Aomori and Akita prefectures and is easily […]

Cycling in Teshima

One of the few mountains you will pass Cycling in Teshima near the museum Winding road past Teshima museum Winding road past Teshima’s art museum Cycling in Teshima Bicycles can be hired by guests at Takaymatsuya Island Time. The very phrase evokes images of relaxed slowness, where life moves to the lapping of the changing […]

Okumatsushima Jomon Village Museum

In front of the Okumatsushima Jomon Village Museum are recreated Jomon dwellings. Feel free to look inside! Look who’s fishing at the Okumatsushima Jomon Village Museum A dogu idol was used as a medium of healing and removing negativity from the body. A map of the area highlighting shell mounds. The Jomon civilization was known […]

Route 45 and the Sanriku Coast

The entrance of the Kabushima shrine Deep fried paradise The Hasshoku center in Hachinohe The airplane museum in Misawa A giant pot for cook offs Seagulls waiting for treats Route 45 is the main link that connects the coastal cities and towns of the Sanriku Coast. Sanriku, meaning 3 lands or territories, stretches from Miyagi […]

700km Michinoku Trail English Info

Beautiful scenery A boat that survived the 3.11 tsunami Hello friend Beautiful scenery (Photo: Anna Thomas) A massive project has been in the works since after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in Tohoku. Once finished, the Michinoku Shiokaze Trail (Michinoku Sea Breeze Trail) will stretch an uninterrupted 700km from Hachinohe, Aomori to Soma, Fukushima. […]

Awone Shirakami Jyuniko Resort

Log houses have six beds and are two stories. There is room to park your car at the log house for unloading or use the free 150 car parking lot. The restaurant serves tasty, wholesome Japanese cuisine. A view of the opposite log house from the porch of the log house I stayed at.  Children […]

Hotel Crown Palais, Aomori

The façade of Hotel Crown Palais, Aomori The ground floor lobby area Comfortable bedrooms Comfortable bedrooms Japanese breakfast Western breakfast Hotel Crown Palais in Aomori, with its comfortable rooms and super-friendly staff, is the perfect destination for visitors to Aomori. Getting to the hotel is easy: from the Aomori train station (just one stop from […]

Iroha Ryokan, Aomori City

The yukata (Japanese robe) provided for after bathing You've found it, so welcome! My room without futon My room with the futon laid out My first breakfast Small decorations give the ryokan a homelike touch The yukata (Japanese robe) provided for after bathing Most of the sights of Aomori City are either near the station or […]

Ishiba Ryokan, Hirosaki

Checking in? A welcome from some samurai mannequins My room You've found it! A view from across the road Welcome! Shoes get taken off at the entrance The alcove in my room overlooking the garden A view of the garden Checking in? A welcome from some samurai mannequins There can be few better places to […]

Mutsu Park Hotel

Welcome! Mutsu Park Hotel from outside The front desk and striking ceiling decoration Comfy couches in the lobby My cosy room My desk with standard business hotel accoutrements The view from my room Welcome! Mutsu Park Hotel from outside If you're heading to the Shimokita Peninsula to explore the rocky coastline, inland scenery or the […]

Route Inn Hirosaki Ekimae

The hotel from the station exit The view from my room My room My shower My desk The relaxation room The hotel from the station exit If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Hirosaki, you can choose to be near the station, near the sights, or somewhere in between. Route Inn falls squarely into […]

Yoboso Restaurant and Inn

Motoshige Sato preparing wasabi. Fresh uni (sea urchin) sushi.  Motoshige searing the top of the fish with a torch.  Spend the night in one of Yoboso's tatami rooms. Since 2011, these rooms have all been renovated.  Among Chef Sato's many talents, he also is skilled at cutting extremely intricate designs and pictures out of paper using only […]

American Day in Misawa

welcome to America land Fire safety to the kids Bon Jovi never sounded so good Venue: Sky Plaza When: Late Jun 2021 Whether one hails from the States and misses good ol' American burgers, or if one simply is curious as to how a day can be dedicated to American culture out in rural Japan, […]

Aomori A-Factory

The front entrance You can pick from scores of different locally produced drinks There’s a huge range of local food products to choose from More tempting goodies on display Class in a glass Juices, wines, liquors, oils, beers and vinegars Part of the fun is that you don’t know what you’ll find on the next […]

Dressing Up for Nebuta Matsuri

A float at Rasse Land before the parade. Larger than life kabuki face. A float being bagged before the rain. Bagged and lit from within. A fierce-looking devil trapped in plastic. A hopping break. A float at Rasse Land before the parade. (Photo: Helen A. Langford) It's all about the bells. They're just so shiny […]

Floats at Aomori’s Nebuta Wa Rasse Museum

So much detail (Photo: Kim B) The floats have to be seen to be believed (Photo: Kim B) It’s not easy being green (Photo: Kim B) Don’t mess with the dragon! (Photo: Kim B) Colorful, intricate floats (Photo: Kim B) The red building is the museum – very distinctive architecture! (Photo: Kim B) The Aomori […]

Four Great Tohoku Festivals

Summer fireworks are known as ‘hanabi’ Giant illuminated figures of the Nebuta Matsuri Huge compositions of lanterns at the Kanto Matsuri My last visit to Japan occurred in summer. Previously, I thought it was too hot to travel in summer, but strangely I was fine and even enjoyed the very warm and humid weather. Summer […]

Goshogawara’s Tachineputa Matsuri

A close up photo shows the amazing detail that goes into the designs of each float. Pulled and pushed between the floats, drummers in traditional garb provide background music for the festival. The floats are navigated down narrow streets lined with power lines. Arrive before dark and you can see the floats and their handlers […]

A Day at Hirosaki Castle Park

Hirosaki Castle in summertime Tatsumi Turret in Hirosaki Park area Hirosaki Castle Arboretum Area Takamaru-kun, the Hirosaki city mascot. Hirosaki Park will make you calm Rest for a while and enjoy your time on the bench. Notice Hirosaki Castle is closed annually for winter, from November 24th to March 31st. Latest on Hirosaki Castle Located […]

The History of Hirosaki Castle

Castle Keep Gatehouse Interior Castle Keep (Photo: Andy Checkley) Notice Hirosaki Castle is closed annually for winter, from November 24th to March 31st. Latest on Hirosaki Castle Hirosaki Castle served as the base for the Tsugaru Clan, for whom wise choices in whose side to take in the major battles ending the violent Sengoku Period […]

Hirosaki: Fujita Memorial Garden

House and upper garden Descent to the lower garden Lower garden House and upper garden (Photo: Andy Checkley) First owned by local businessman Fujita Kenichi (after whom it is now named), the Fujita Memorial Garden provides an interesting little diversion from the city’s main tourist sites. A ten minute walk from the main gate of […]

Hirosaki Park

Hirosaki Castle keep Hirosaki Park with Mt Iwaki in the background Close up of Mt Iwaki as seen from Hirosaki Park Hirosaki Castle keep Notice Hirosaki Castle is closed annually for winter, from November 24th to March 31st. Latest on Hirosaki Castle Hirosaki is a former castle town located in the western region of Aomori […]

Hirosaki: Sakura Season

Notice Hirosaki Castle is closed annually for winter, from November 24th to March 31st. Latest on Hirosaki Castle I’ll try to be concise – Hirosaki’s castle grounds are one of the finest places in the country for blossom viewing. Several thousand sakura cherry trees simultaneously greet spring, with breathtaking results. Tall somei-yoshino trees form tunnels […]

Hotokeguara, the Buddha Rock

Boardwalk along the ocean Aerial view of Hotokeguara Gate to the ocean Other worldly rock formations line the beach The triangular rock is said to resemble Buddha's face Rock formations right up to the ocean's borders Boardwalk along the ocean Drive into the heart of the mountains, find the wooden staircase descending the hill, it […]


The gate at the foot of the steps up to the shrine: note the gulls wheeling overhead, and don't pause under the gate There are interesting statues alongside the road from Same station towards the shrine Another of the roadside statues As you approach the island, the sound of the gulls becomes louder… …and louder […]

Memorial Ship Hakkoda-Maru

Entrance to Hakkoda-Maru museum View from the upper deck Old train tracks leading to Hakkoda-Maru Life on board Crabs Selling Aomori‘s famous red apples Built in 1964, the Hakkoda-Maru was a transport ship that carried trains from Aomori, in the north of Honshu Island, to Hakodate, in the south of Hokkaido. Hakkoda-Maru provided services from […]

Misawa Aviation and Science Museum

A replica Miss Veedol You can go inside this plane Inside a flight simulator Wow, science! Whatever you call this thing Jets and planes are parked behind the museum Notice Please note that the base is not open to the public except during special events. Latest on Misawa Air Base Paying homage to the adjacent […]

Munakata Shiko Art Museum, Aomori

A miniature pagoda in the tea garden in front of the museum The entrance from the street The pond in the garden Welcome! The entrance to the museum building The museum building The ornamental bridge over the garden pond Munakata Shiko was an Aomori-born artist best known for his woodblock prints, though he also painted […]

Visiting Oma: Japan’s Northernmost Point

"Fist wave punching Tuna" statue right at the most northern point of the Cape.  Oma harbor during the Blue Marine festival View of Hokkaido from the coast of Oma Local dance during the Blue Marine festival Life size model of Oma's tuna. Bigger than me, a 6ft , 200 lb. man! Ferry from Oma to Hakodate It […]

Ominato Nebuta

Japanese folklore comes alive My favorite float! Samurai, cyclops, demon samurai, what's not to love? The tail end of one of the float's processions. Taiko drums attached to the back of the float, with people dancing or just chatting behind.  Early Aug Japanese folklore comes alive Venue: Ominato When: Early Aug 2021 Walking through the […]


Lived a good life? Let's see you get across the bridge The weeping statue Welcome to hell… statues greeting visitors at the lakeside A welcoming committee at the temple gate The path to the main hall Seen from above, the lake and surrounding peaks are captivating I've been to a handful of truly unique places […]

Saisho-in temple, Hirosaki

Some temples have lion guardians; this one has rabbits A fierce-looking dragon will watch you purify your hands Bong the bell in the pagoda’s shadow A big memorial stone There are a number of distinctive buildings in the temple grounds The pagoda from beneath This is one tree, spreading out to provide some shade The […]

Sannai-Maruyama Historical Site

The site here features remains dating back to the Jomon era (Photo: Kim B) Structures like this were commonplace back in that time period (Photo: Kim B) What the inside of the buildings would have looked like – you’re allowed to head inside many of them (Photo: Kim B) It’s an interesting look into architecture […]

Sannai-Maruyama Site

Living and storage area The most iconic monument of the Sannai-Maruyama Site. Jomon dwelling. Large Jomon Meeting Hall Sannai-Maruyama mascot and yours truly Age old foundation and stones Living and storage area Japan is full of history. The outside world tends to focus on WWII or the samurai era, but history goes back, way back, […]

Seiryu-ji Temple, Aomori

The Daishido, the hall at the entrance A statue of the Bokeyoke Kannon, a deity who protects the elderly The Showa Daibutsu The entrance from the road The bridge leading to the main hall The Kaisando The Daishido, the hall at the entrance Though it may sometimes seem so, not all Japanese temples are old. […]

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