The northern region of Honshu Island is known as Tohoku, an area that the Japanese equate with a slower, more traditional way of life. The tourist infrastructure is less developed here, but this is part of the area’s charm.
The northern region of Honshu Island is known as Tohoku, an area that the Japanese equate with a slower, more traditional way of life.
The tourist infrastructure is less developed here, but this is part of the area’s charm; fewer visitors mean it is easier to see life proceeding in rhythm with the seasons as it has for centuries past.
Amongst Tohoku’s highlights are the scenic splendour of Lakes Towada and Tazawa, the picturesque samurai town of Kakunodate and the hidden temples of Yamadera and Dewa Sanzen.
This area is known as ‘Snow Country’, and the long mountain winters are brightened by countless local festivals.
Much of the region is readily accessible by JR train, but car hire provides the freedom to reach the secluded hot spring resorts and traditional farming villages that make the area such a joy.
During the steamy summer months Tohoku plays host to a number of Japan’s most extravagant and spectacular festivals, offering a tremendous opportunity for the visitor to experience the true soul of the nation.
To a backdrop of traditional song, pounding taiko drumming, roaring bonfires and countless stalls serving local delicacies, the great summer festivals of Kanto in Akita, Nebuta in Aomori and Tanabata in Sendai play out to crowds of hundreds of thousands.
With smaller local events taking place throughout early August this is truly a magical time to visit this wonderful but often overlooked part of the country.
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