Cities in Tohoku
Aomori is Japan’s northernmost capital city on Honshu, Japan’s main island. Often referred to as one of Japan’s hidden gems, the majority of traffic going through Aomori has been as a means to get to Hokkaido. The city and region has plenty to offer, including the colorful festivals which attract millions of visitors each year. True to it’s namesake (Aomori translates to “Blue Forest”) the mountainous regions that surround the area often provide for scenic and unforgettable experiences for all.
Akita is best known for it’s glistening snow, breathtaking hot spring locales, and top notch sake (Japanese wine). Surrounded by the sea and mountains, it’s not hard to see why it’s a popular destination for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A great getaway to get in touch with nature, and also tap into the culture and arts the country has to offer.
Much like any city in Japan, Akita is also home to wide-scale festivals such as the Akita Kanto Matsuri, and Yokote Kamakura festival.
The largest city in the northeast region of Japan, Sendai is a popular base for those looking to explore this side of the country. Nicknamed the “City of Trees”, Sendai is home to the Tanabata Festival that takes place in summer, and also perhaps most well-known to being home to gyutan (ox tongue).
Another coastal city surrounded by mountains, you’ll find that accessing trekking routes and hot spring bed towns are a cinch from Sendai.
Getting Around Tohoku
Rail is the most popular method of public transportation in most areas of Japan, the same applies to the Tohoku region. With the Tohoku Shinkansen acting as the main conduit out of Tokyo, major urban areas sport local private lines.
While rural locations have rail services, they are often less efficient and frequent. Surely something to take note of for anyone planning a trip on the road less travelled!
Smart Cards and Commuter Passes
As the majority of railways in Tohoku are operated by JR East, smart passes are typically accepted on any JR operated lines.
While a handful of other private card providers operate in the region, a single card can often be used between trains & buses. It’s fairly easy to purchase a card at a ticket machine at any major train station, and can be topped up at any point.
More rural locations still rely on single-use ticket stubs, so it is wise to have ample loose change on hand.