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Both capital city and prefecture, Aomori is the northernmost point in Honshu island. Aomori has the feel of a pleasant fishing-town and seems a world away from the economic hotbeds of Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. That said there are plenty of attractions to keep the visitor entertained. The Nebuta Matsuri (right) held in the first week of August - one of the most flamboyant festivals in the Japanese calendar - is legendary and the Showa Daibutsu is Japan’s largest outdoor Buddha standing 21 m tall.

It is also the logical point of departure for Hokkaido to the north while to the south is the Towada Hachimantai National Park with some spectacular scenery and a haven for the outdoor enthusiast. The onsen at Tamagawa with its hot acidic waters are thought to be some of the best of the region.  The Lake Towada (picured left) area is considered best for natural scenic beauty. Frozen lava floes and and scenic mountain vistas become some of Japan’s finest ski slopes in season. The volcanic nature of the land has produced some of Japan’s most scenic lakes (Tazawa-ko is reputed to be Japan’s deepest) and highest mountains - with Iwate-san the tallest at 2,000 metres.

Goshogake Onsen and Toshichi Onsen are both popular as is Sukayu Onsen to the north with its bath having a 1,000 person capacity. Unlike much of Japan, here mixed bathing is considered acceptable.

The Shimokita Peninsula at the very north of the region is renowned for its natural unspoilt beauty. Take the ferry from Aomori to Wakinosawa to view the rugged coastline in its full glory.


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