The first thing that comes to mind is apples. Oh and skiing.
Truthfully, I wasn’t too sure why I always had the urge to visit Aomori. But, I am glad I did.
As usual, let’s start off with
Let’s see, we covered apples, apples, apples.
Apple pie, apple cider, apple cream, apple curry, you name it, Aomori’s got it.
Ginger manju, ginger flavoured oden, ginger flavoured pastry.
Well, some things are surprising but the taste may blow your taste buds away. Never judge a book by its cover.
Most of the activities at Aomori, are all available all year round with different foliage colours. Imma just chive into summer as I was completely sun burnt there in August.
Being up north between Hokkaido and Akita prefecture, one would think that its much cooler in times of summer.
It may be a little more windy up north but the sun rays still pierce through your skin like a sword. Let’s just say, never forget ’em sunscreens.
Nebuta Festival // Nebuta Museum
Who’s up for some festive dances and light?
Nebuta Festival is a popular and incredibly amazing experience here in Japan. Occuring once a year in August, the festival completely lights up the entire city. If you have not been to a matsuri (festival) here in Japan before, you have to check this one out. The festival was believed to have started among farmers and fishermen as a ritual event to ward off bad spirits and sleepiness (nemuri in Japanese) by the summer heat. Over time, the design and art work of such lanterns have evolved, each telling a story of its own.
Located at a 3 minutes walk away from Aomori station is the Nebuta Musuem Warasse, where you may indulge in the magnificence of these designs. Learning more about its history and story behind it all.
If you weren’t paying much attention before, let me repeat again, apples. As I travel mainly on foot, there are two easily accessible apple parks: Aomori Ringo no Sato (always call to check if they are open and make a reservation!) and Hirosaki Apple Park (make sure to go early as the last bus back to Hirosaki Station is really early in the afternoon). Wonder how many apples one can have till they are sick of apples (?)
I see those eyes going “Whaaa…? Onsen in summer? Is she mad?”
Yes, maybe, I’ll let you be the judge.
After a long walk and hike, trust me, you’d want that long soak to rest your legs and burn off those stress and tiredness away.
Hiking (Oirase Gorge)
And you thought I’d let hiking slip out of the equation.
One of the many gems in Aomori, I present you, Oirase Gorge.
From Lake Towado, get ready for some slimming holiday regime. I hiked 5 hours from Lake Towada, in the rain, while others drove in their cars, wondering why is this foreigner so weird.
To be fair, hiking in the rain sucks. But the water breeze from the many waterfalls along the way, just mhmh.
Until you get to the forth hour and go, “When will this end.” If it wasn’t raining, I wouldn’t mind the trail at all but the slippery muds got to my nerve and allergy rashes, and so we started hiking back on the side of the road very carefully for the remaining hour.
Sometimes. Discovering takes boldness. And a crazy amount of precaution.me again yo.
Meeting friendly amazing people
Not everyone is super nice in general. I have had my fair share of meeting not so friendly people while traveling and somehow in the inaka states of Japan, the people are rather different.
A cafe run by an enthusiastic photographer with a passion for music and jazz. That is my dream.
A guest house run by a family and an adorable doggo. My goal.
You never know who you will run into. The first step is always the hardest but meeting these people during these discovery journeys, just feels
Discovering a culture and place, also happens between exchanges of knowledge and funny wits. Who knows who may be a long term friend, ey?
A ton of transit times
Traveling in Aomori by foot takes a lot of transit times. The city center of Aomori has trains running every half hour. It’s quite a comparison to Tokyo or even Ibaraki.
Buses run around 2 times a day, limiting quite a bit of adventuring time. Planning not to miss the buses are highly advisable.
Mountain Views and Terrains
Aomori is surrounded by quite a number of mountain terrains. It’s gorgeous and if you are up for some hiking courses, be my guest.
Hakkoda Mountain has an accessible hiking trail from Sukayu Onsen. Lots of locals will be running their daily exercises up there and be soaking in the hot springs in the afternoon to rest and relax.
The scenic mountain views are breathtaking. It’s a nice feeling to be out of the bustling city and into a dreamy surrounding.
Lots of lakes too
So I did mention Lake Towada, but there’s also a few beautiful lakes around Aomori. One would be the infamous green lake, Aoike. Or even Lake Ogawara in Kamikita District. I never thought I would be a lake person but hey, always new things to discover here in Japan, ey (?)
One thing to note about Amori Castle is that the keep was moved from it’s original position. Henceforth, the keep is what is left here.
It may come as a shock to many especially having seen pictures online but the sight of the city and within the keep is pretty great.
Aomori, may seem like a huge prefecture. It can be overwhelming to cover all areas, but the journey is rewarding. Run through it.
It’s always a new adventure when its with you,