Aomori is surrounded by the great outdoors, sandwiched between the Hakkoda Mountain Range and Mutsu Bay. It is also home to the Nebuta festival and the remains of a 5,500 year old settlement at the Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site.
From ancient times, Aomori City has been the focal point for trade and transportation between the Japanese mainland of Honshu and Hokkaido Island. Its development largely rests upon these factors. The city celebrated its 100th year anniversary of being inaugurated as a city in April 1st, 1998.
City Government is instigating a comprehensive development plan with the slogan “Aomori City – where radiant individuals create a thriving metropolis amongst breath-taking surroundings”.
Aomori Prefecture, located at the northernmost end of Honshu, faces Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Straits in the north and is bounded by the two prefectures of Akita and Iwate in the south and by the Pacific Ocean in the east, thus being surrounded by the sea in 3 directions. Aomori has a lot of ruins of ancient times as represented by Sannai-Maruyama Ruins full of romantic dreams of older ages and abundant natural environments such as Shirakami Mountains designated as World Heritage, Lake Towada National Park, etc. forming a unique climate of this region. A World Heritage Site, containing the world’s largest virgin forest of beech trees. Reminders of ancient times still abound.
Climate and vegetation
Aomori Prefecture, which is surrounded by the sea on 3 sides and split into two parts by the Ou Mountains, has 2 different climates clearly distinct from each other on the Japan Sea side and the Pacific Ocean side. This prefecture is under strong influences of the monsoon from northwest during the winter and of the westerlies (“yamase” by local name) during the summer. This brings about heavy snowfall on the Japan Sea side in winter, and about one half of the annual precipitation is registered in this season with little sunshine, while on the Pacific Ocean side the climate is opposite to that on the Japan Sea side, the temperature is low and there is little sunshine during the summer period of June to August under the influence of “yamase”. The Ou Mountains that run from north to south divide the prefecture, thus forming very different climates in the east and the west—lots of snow on the Sea of Japan side and low temperatures even in the summer on the Pacific Ocean side.
Aomori Prefecture of Japan is located in the Tohoku Region. The capital is the city of Aomori. Aomori Prefecture has a total surface area of approximately 9,600 km2 which is the 8th largest in Japan. At the central part of the prefecture stretch the Hakkouda Mountains about 1,500 meters high, from which spread the Sanbongihara Plains to the east and the Tsugaru Plains to the west. The Oirase River, having its origin in the Lake Towada, flows from west to east through the Sanbongihara Plains, while the Iwaki River originated in the Shirakami Mountains passes through the Tsugaru Plains from south to north into Lake Jusan. Aomori Prefecture is also characterized by a lot of mountains, abundant forests and hot springs.
Men and history
In the Edo period, this region was divided into two feudal domains (“han”) or Morioka Han governed by Nambu clan whose castle was located in Morioka and Hirosaki Han of Tsugaru clan settled in Hirosaki, and the current Aomori Prefecture was formed in the 4th year of Meiji (1971) by combining those two “han” as a result of the abolition of clans and establishment of prefectures by the Meiji government.
Prominent figures born in Aomori include NITOBE Inazo famous as a thinker with international mind of the Meiji era, MUNAKATA Shiko, world-famous woodblock artist, and novelists & writers such as ISHIZAKA Yojiro, KASAI Zenzo, DAZAI Osamu, AKITA Ujaku, TERAYAMA Shuji, TAKAGI Akimitsu, etc.
Culture and festivals
A lot of festivals are being celebrated throughout the year in Aomori Prefecture. Aomori Nebuta, Hirosaki Nebuta and Grand Festival of Hachinohe Sansha colouring the short summer are the major festivals representative of Aomori Prefecture, liberating and exploding all at once people’s energies accumulated during the long and cold winter time. Moreover, there are also such events as Hachinohe Enburi, a folk art of farmers for praying for good harvest of “5 cereals”, Iwakisan Oyamamairi or pilgrimage to Mount Iwaki for offering pleasure of and thanks for the good harvest to the sacred mountain colouring the autumn of Tsugaru, Grand Festival of Osorezan in which an “itako” (blind sorceress) calls dead souls (practice of spiritism) and transmits messages of the dead.
The main industries of Aomori Prefecture are those of primary sector centering on agriculture and fishery. Apple is one of the 2 major staples representing the prefecture together with rice and registers the largest production volume in Japan. There are about 80 fishing ports with Hachinohe port at the top, which is counted as one of the leading fishing ports and marks one of the best catches in Japan. In the coastal industrial zone centering on Hachinohe City, the production of processed marine products, steel, paper pulp, etc. is actively promoted while the municipal government of Aomori City has plans for inviting pollution-free promising industries of advanced technologies such as electronics, biotechnology, etc. for a bright future of this region.
One-point tourist guide
Aomori Nebuta Festival and Lake Towada National Park are by far the two major tourist attractions of Aomori Prefecture. The Aomori Nebuta Festival is famous all over the world as a fire festival representative of Japan, while the Lake Towada is known for a lovely statue of maidens and the Hakkouda Mountains provide tourists with the pleasure of enjoying natural beauty of all seasons. Other excellent tourist attractions representing Aomori Prefecture include two quasi-national parts of Tsugaru and Shimokita, World Heritage Shirakami Mountains, Sannai-Maruyama Ruins, the largest ruins in Japan of a colony of Jomon era, etc.
By Air: About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Tokyo to Aomori City, capital city of Aomori Prefecture, about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Osaka (Itami to Aomori Airport), about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Nagoya and about 2 hours from Fukuoka. (By train of Japan Railways). 1h 10 min from Haneda to Aomori Airport, and 35 min from the airport to Aomori Station by bus. About 5 hours from Tokyo and about 2 hours from Hakodate.
There are 2 airports, Aomori Airport and Misawa Airport, offering 2 regular international services to Seoul and Khabarovsk together with expanding regular domestic services, to support the progress of high-speed traffic systems in this region.
By Rail: 3h 20 min from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori Station by JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line.
Aomori Central and Local Tourist Information Centers:
Aomori Prefectural Government 1-1-1 Nagashima, Aomori-shi, Aomori 030-8570 Japan TEL: 017-722-1111
Aomori Prefectural Government Website: http://www.pref.aomori.lg.jp/foreigners/index.html
Aomori Prefectural Government Tourist Information Guide: http://www.aptinet.jp/english/guidesite-en/index.html
Northern Tohoku Three Prefectures (AOMORI, IWATE & AKITA) Tourism Division: http://www.northern-tohoku.gr.jp/english/index.htm
Aomori Tourist Information Center (ASPM) (in Asupamu, Also called Aptinet (ASPAM) Tourist center) 1-1-40 Yasukata, Aomori City, Aomori 030-0803 Aptinet (ASPAM) 1F TEL: 017-734-2500
Aomori Green Tourism Aomori Tanaka Educational Academy 12-1,Kanda,Yokouchi, Aomori City, Aomori, 030-0132 JAPAN International Exchange Center, Aomori Chuo Gakuin University Aomori Tanaka Educational Academy Deployment project of International Green Tourism Corporative members for connecting Aomori Prefecture and Asia. TEL: +81-17-728-0121 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Shirakami-Sanchi Visitor Center in Nishimeya-mura in Aomori Prefecture 61-1 Aza Kanda, Oaza Tashiro, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture 036-1411
Cultural Tourism Promotion Division, Department of Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Labor 1-1-1 Nagashima, Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture 030-8570
Representative stationed in Ajigasawa from the Natural Resources and Conservation Division of the Department of Environment and Public Affairs of Aomori Prefecture 25-2 Oaza Kome-machi, Ajigasawa-machi, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture 038-2754 Goshogawara Public Health Center Ajigasawa Branch
Fisheries, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Division, and Planning and Finance Division, Ajigasawa-machi 209-2 Oaza Hon-cho, Ajigasawa-machi, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture 038-2753
Tourism Division and Planning Division, Fukaura-machi 84-2 Aza Nawashirozawa, Oaza Fukaura, Fukaura-machi, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture 038-2324
Tourism Division, Iwasaki-mura 51-7 Aza Matsubara, Oaza Iwasaki, Iwasaki-mura, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture 038-2202
Planning and Tourism Division, Nishimeya-mura 144 Aza Inamoto, Oaza Tashiro, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture 036-1411
Aomori Airport Information Center Aomori Airport Terminal Bldg. 1F 1-5 Aza Kotani, Oaza Otani, Aomori City, Aomori 030-0155
Aomori City Toursim Information Exchange Center 1-1-25 Shin-machi, Aomori City, Aomori 030-0801
Hirosaki City Tourist Information Center JR Hirosaki Station, 1 Omote-machi, Hirosaki City, Aomori 036-8096
Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center 2-1 Shimoshirogane-machi, Hirosaki City, Aomori 036-8588
Hachinohe Tourist Plaza JR Hachinohe Station, Higashi-guchi-eki Bldg. 2F 1-1 Aza Tateda, Oaza Shiriuchi-machi, Hachinohe City, Aomori 039-1101
Towadako Information Center 486 Aza Towada-kohan-yasumiya, Oaza Okuse, Towada City, Aomori 018-5501
Mutsu-Shimokita Tourist Center (Masakari Plaza)
Shirakami Mountains of Aomori Prefecture – World Heritage Region Natural Resources and Conservation Division, Department of Environment and Public Affairs, Aomori Prefecture 1-1-1 Nagashima, Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture 030-8570
Shirakami-Sanchi Visitor Center 61-1 Aza Kanda, Oaza Tashiro, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture Tel: 0172-85-2810
Shirakami-Sanchi – UNESCO World Heritage Centre: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/663
The Shirakami Mountains Preservation Society: http://preserve.shirakami.gr.jp/english.html
Sannai-Maruyama site: http://sannaimaruyama.pref.aomori.jp/english/index.html
Aomori Museum of Art: http://www.aomori-museum.jp/en/index.html