Aomori Prefecture (青森県 Aomori-ken) is the northernmost prefecture on the island of Honshu, Japan.
Aomori is divided into three main regions, each with its own dialect.
|Tsugaru Peninsula |
On the west side of the prefecture, includes Aomori and Hirosaki. The haunt and home of writer Osamu Dazai. See Mt. Iwaki, rice paddy art, and Aomori's apple orchards.
|Shimokita Peninsula |
Axe-shaped peninsula in the northeast, featuring the dread mountain of Mt. Osore and the hot springs of Yagen Valley. Includes Ōma and Mutsu
Occupies the southeastern part of the prefecture, includes Hachinohe and Misawa.
- 1 Aomori — the capital
- 2 Hachinohe — scenic coastal areas
- 3 Hirosaki — the "Kyoto of the North", former capital of the Tsugaru clan
- 4 Itayanagi — home of the International Chapel, and a church service in English
- 5 Misawa — a beautiful city by the sea
- 6 Mutsu — the administrative hub of the Shimokita Peninsula
- 7 Tsuruta —
- 8 Goshogawara — home of the impressive Tachinebuta Festival
- 1 Lake Towada — beautiful caldera lake
- 2 Oirase Valley — famed for its scenic beauty
- 3 Shingo — small town featuring the final resting place of Christ as well as Aomori's pyramids
- 4 Shirakami-Sanchi — World Heritage Site for its undisturbed beech forests, famous for the Anmon-no-Taki Waterfall
Aomori has several varieties of the northern Tohoku dialect, considered quite a rural dialect by Japanese. The Tsugaru dialect (津軽弁 Tsugaru-ben) uses some different vocabulary, and can be difficult to understand even for speakers of other dialects within Aomori, let alone those who only understand Standard Japanese. The Nanbu dialect is not as extreme, and Shimokita dialect is something of a hybrid between the two.
Aomori (AOJ IATA) and Misawa (MSJ IATA) have domestic airports with flights from Tokyo.
Aomori is the northernmost terminus of the Shinkansen (bullet train). Local and express trains also run throughout the prefecture.
The second longest train tunnel in the world, the Seikan tunnel, runs between Aomori and the northern island of Hokkaido, connecting to Hakodate and onward to Sapporo.
JR and various local carriers offer numerous buses to, from, and throughout the prefecture.
Ferries in Aomori, Hachinohe and Ōma (at the tip of the Shimokita Peninsula) offer services to and from various destinations, including Hokkaido.
JR East, the Aoimori Railway, and the Tsugaru Railway serve most of the major towns, but some destinations will require a car. Municipal and private bus companies go to many of the popular tourist sites.
In spring, see the cherry blossom festival and fireworks in Kanagi and the rapeseed blossoms in Shimokita's Yokohama Town. In summer, see towering lanterns pulled through the streets at Goshogawara's Tachi-Nebuta festival, and elaborate expanding floats at Hachinohe's Sansha Taisai. See the rice art in Inakadate Village on the Tsugaru Peninsula. In the fall, see the maple leaves in Kuroishi. In the winter, see the "snow monsters" made by frozen trees in the Hakkoda mountains in Towada-Hachimantai National Park.
In August, rent a haneto costume and participate in Aomori's exciting Nebuta festival. In the fall, hike among the waterfalls and autumn foliage at Oirase Gorge in Towada-Hachimantai National Park. In the winter, there is excellent skiing and snowboarding in Ajigasawa and Mt. Hakkoda. In spring, picnic at Hirosaki Castle, one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing sites in Japan.
Besides the obvious seafood (especially scallops and Tuna), Aomori is famous for its apples.
Aomori has local sake (Denshu, Momokawa), wine (Shimokita Wine), and beer (Tawazako).