A Guide to Aomori on Foot
Apples. The first thought of where they are best known for would be Aomori Prefecture here in Japan. Located up north in the Tohoku region, far from the landscape of urban living, lies a scenic city overlaying a mountainous landscape.
The first impression upon the kanji characters making up Aomori (青森) from a Chinese perspective is – green forest. Much to my surprise, a name fitting for a prefecture bound by such.
In Aomori, traveling by foot can be very time consuming as public transportation or access to certain attraction spots are limited. However, there are still many attraction spots to visit on foot easily during your visit here.
Other than apples, Aomori is also famous for their Nebuta Festival in August which attracts huge crowds of people every year. If you are traveling outside of the Nebuta Festival period, fret not, there is museum located walking distance away from Aomori Station dedicated to Nebuta.
Feast your eyes on these brightly colored, expressive, gigantic size lanterns. Learn on the history of the festival and experience the festival virtually through video.
Another museum that Aomori is famous for is the Aomori Museum of Art.
Showa Great Buddha
An hour away by train from Aomori station lies Showa Great Buddha statue. On your way to the Buddha statue, you will pass by the beautiful Seiryuji Temple.
Lake Towada and Oirase Gorge
Take a day trip down to Lake Towada by bus from Aomori or Shin-Aomori station. The bus schedules are limited per day so do plan carefully beforehand. The lake area is huge and provides a fresh windy breeze during the summer seasons.
Spend a night by Towada if a day trip is too tight a time frame for your itinerary.
If you are up for it, hike down from Nenokuchi bus stop to Oirase Gorge, which consists of many scenic waterfalls.
Short of time? No problem! The first few waterfalls from Nenokuchi bus stop are the main ones not to miss out on, so I do recommend covering those first, and then hop on the bus to return to Lake Towada or Towada town for the night.
There are quite a number of ryokans (Japanese Traditional Guest House) available in Aomori, especially en route to Lake Towada.
Sukayu Onsen, to name a few, is one of Aomori’s top attraction guest bath houses.
Hirosaki Castle & Apple Picking
Last but not least, Hirosaki Castle which is accessible from Aomori or Shin-Aomori Station. From Hirosaki station, you can either take the bus for ¥100 to the castle grounds or walk 30 minutes (signages available on route) to the castle. The bus schedule ends pretty early in the day, so it’s better to account for a nice walking exercise as plan B. Check out the Taishō Roman Tea Room during you visit at the castle grounds.
A 30 minute walk away is the Hirosaki Apple Park. The farm is also accessible by bus from Hirosaki Castle (the same ¥100 bus). Entrance is free.
Other than Hirosaki Apple Park, there are also a lot of apple picking farms available in Aomori. Another farm that is easily accessible from Aomori station (30 minutes away) is Aomori Ringo no Sato (青森観光りんご園まるせん川村). Make sure to call beforehand to see if they are open, especially during the holidays!
Happy apple picking 😀