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Getting Around


Surrounded by ocean on three sides, most of this large region at the northern half of the island of Honshu is made up of thickly-forested mountains. In Tohoku (literally - ’North East’) the landscape looks much as it has for centuries with snow-covered peaks, thick forest and rice paddies. It is where the traditional life of Japan is best preserved today.

Tohoku remains predominantly rural and its people reflect this in their plain speaking and down-to-earth manners although transport links are good with two major shinkansen routes - one from Tokyo to Niigata on the western coast while the east coast Tokyo-Hachinohe route travels via the major city of Sendai and on to the northern tip of the region.

The cities of Sakata and Tsuruoka on the Sea of Japan have been the main commercial centers of the Shonai region for centuries. The area boasts a number of interesting natural features including Mt. Chokai, Dewasanzan and the Mogami River, and other attractions including hot springs and excellent regional cuisine.

Matsushima in the bay around Sendai is regarded as one of the nation’s three greatest scenic areas. With its unparalleled views of more than 200 islands scattered across the bay, it hosts a constant stream of visitors throughout the year.

The city of Aizuwakamatsu, with Tsurugajo-jo at its centre was the prosperous seat of the Aizu clan during the Edo Period. The town of Hiraizumi, midway between Sendai and Morioka in the Iwate-Ken prefecture was founded about 900 years ago by the Fujiwara clan, the rulers of this region and has some fine temples and shrines while Sado-Shima (Sado Island) just off the coast of Niigata has a dramatic history of exile and forced labour to work the gold mines dioscovered during the Edo period. The scenery itself is equally dramatic.

At the northern tip of the region, the city of Aomori, which looks out over Mutsu Bay, is the prefectural capital and a city full of natural beauty that attracts many tourists. Here are 5000 year-old artifacts to discover, onsen to soak in, and some excellent local cuisine.




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