Six reasons why you need to ‘Go!Go!!Tohoku!!!’

By Go!Go!Tohoku!! (Staff) (from : Sendai) on Oct. 20, 2016

By Go!Go!Tohoku!! (Staff) (from : Sendai) on Oct. 20, 2016

Go!Go!!...Where???

For the many thousands of travellers who visit Japan every year, North-Eastern Japan (東北 Tohoku) is an unknown grey-area somewhere between the busy hub of Tokyo and powder-snow of Hokkaido. Less than 1% include a visit to Tohoku on their itinerary. Until now, Tohoku has truly been one of Japan's best-kept secrets - but Go!Go!!Tohoku!!! is here to fill in the blanks!

For those lucky enough to live in one of the six prefectures of Tohoku (Miyagi, Iwate, Aomori, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima), it is unimaginable that much of the world is unaware of the countless attractions to be found throughout this highly under-appreciated region. Whatever style of travel you choose, Tohoku has something for everyone -

Breath-taking nature offering a different beauty with each season;

Relaxing hot-springs to soothe your body and ease your mind;

Rich history and unique culture in each region;

The tastiest local food to more than satisfy all your senses;

and the friendliest, warmest people who will touch your heart and draw you back again and again!

The goal of Go!Go!!Tohoku!!! is to open the world's eyes to Tohoku as an exciting new travel destination. We want to show you Tohoku from a genuine and fresh perspective! All of the articles you can find on this website are written by young, travel-loving international students from all around the world, living and studying here in Tohoku. We have the ability to see Tohoku from both the savvy eyes of a local as well as an international visitor. From this unique standpoint, we can discover new places and sights that perhaps even Japanese locals don't appreciate as the different and exciting attractions that they are.

Here's just a taste of the discoveries we've made on the Go!Go!!Tohoku!!! journey so far:


1. Taste the ocean and cuddle a fox in Miyagi

Matsushima and Shiogama:

After cruising around the picturesque islands of Matsushima Bay (one of the 'Top 3 Scenic Views' of Japan), make your own fresh-as-fresh seafood rice-bowl at nearby Shiogama fish markets! Cheap, healthy and satisfying to fuel your walk around the streets and local shops (save some room for some fried oysters later!).

(Photo credit: Karen, Philippines)

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'Fox Village', Shiroishi

Be followed by families of adorable foxes as you wander the  forest enclosure of Shiroishi's 'Fox Village' – you can even cuddle one, if you like! Make some furry friends whilst enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings. A great destination for the cold winter months when their bright orange fur is at its fuzziest and contrasts against the pure white snow.

(Photo credit: Aoffy, Thailand)

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2. Noodle heaven and fishing with cucumbers in Iwate

The 'Three noodles of Morioka'

You actually can't leave Iwate until you've tried them all! Really. We won't let you!
Whilst the spicy miso taste of 'Jaja-men' will put a spring in your step and the sweet and tangy 'Reimen' soup (often served with fresh fruits like watermelon or Nashi-pear) will refresh your palate, the real star of the show is Wan-ko Soba! A fast-paced culinary challenge that will test even the strongest of appetites – how many bowls can YOU eat? (Our personal record is 100!)

(Photo credit: Piangrawee, Thailand)

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'Kappa fishing' in Tono

'Kappa' are mischievous creatures from Japanese folklore said to be found lurking in pond waters – apparently, in Tono city! Grab your fishing-rod and a crooked cucumber (their favourite snack) and head down to 'Kappabuchi' pond to try your luck at sighting one of the slippery little guys.

Pro tip: if you catch one, bow! It will bow back and lose the water from its head-cap (and no longer pose a threat?!).

Amateur tip: if you don't catch one, you'll still get an official 'Kappa fishing license' (and let's be honest, that's all we care about).

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3. Everday day is a festival in the paradise of Aomori

Hirosaki City

Apples, apples, apples! Aomori is a fruit-lover's heaven! But don't just come to eat – why not become a farmer yourself? Get to know the local people and culture through 'green tourism' in Hirosaki city. Not only does Hirosaki castle offer some of the most stunning scenery during Spring (seriously, think castle moats dyed pink with cherry-blossom petals!), in Summer the city comes to life with calls of 'Yaaa-ya-DON!' during the world-famous 'Neputa' festival.

 

Posted by Jess Hallams on Friday, 5 August 2016

Oirase Mountain Stream

The closest words to describe this serene and tranquil wonderland are 'paradise on earth'. Escape far away from the busy stresses of city-life as you stroll (or cycle - highly recommended) along a glorious 14km path of lush forest and majestic waterfalls. Extra points if you visit in Autumn when the deep green foliage transforms into a multi-coloured palette of bright reds and golds.


4. Get naked with Samurai and chill with the dragon-lady in Akita

Nyutou Onsen (hot-spring)

Hidden deep, deep in the forests of Mt. Nyutou, Nyutou onsen will take your hot-spring game to the next level! Bathe in milky white waters once frequented by Samurai as you shut-off from the rest of the world and find yourself at one with nature (or with some new friends if you're game to try the mixed bath)!

 

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Lake Tazawa

Catch it on a sunny day and enjoy nature's light-show as the waters of Lake Tazawa change with the sunlight at its varying depths (423m in some parts – the deepest lake in Japan)! The perfect place for a weekend chill and unwind...just don't drink the water! On the shore there is a gold statue to remind everyone of 'Tatsuko', the local girl who drank the water in hope of eternal beauty...and turned into a dragon. Awkward.


5. Be spirited away with snow-monsters in Yamagata

Mountains, mountains, mountains!
There's a reason why Yamagata is called Yama (mountain) gata! Hiking lovers - this is the prefecture for you!

Ski with Snow-monsters on Mt. Zao

Not to mention its top-grade snow-fields and fascinating 'snow-monsters' to keep the skiers and snowboarders happy in winter, Mt. Zao offers many natural delights all year round. Make your way to the top of the Miyagi side to catch a glimpse of the emerald-green 'Okama' crater lake, or ride the rope-way to the peak to watch a multi-coloured sunset over Yamagata. Romantic to say the least!

 

Conquer the three peaks of Dewa-sanzan:

Speaking of mountains – how about climbing three in one go? The three holy mountains of Dewa are waiting for you! Be rewarded with stunning views and mystical shrines at the peak of Haguro-san after conquering a casual climb up 2500 stone steps. Definitely worth the work-out.

(Photo credit: Jerfareza, Indonesia - see his travel blog for more great info and tips)

Take a trip through time in Ginzan-onsen

'Atmospheric' doesn't even begin to describe the feeling you get when wandering the streets of Ginzan onsen. Rumored to be inspiration for Studio Ghibli's 'Spirited Away', it is a true time-slip. Take a stroll along lines of beautiful old bathhouses before relaxing in the hot spring (bonus points if you dress in traditional 'hakama').

(Photo credit: Aoffy, Thailand)

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6. Choose your own adventure in Fukushima, the lucky island!

Outdoor Adventure

(Fuku=lucky, shima=island) Possibly the most misunderstood and underestimated place on the planet, there is almost too much nature to handle in Fukushima! You can truly make the most of every season here! In the Ura-bandai area alone, you can carve-up international-grade snow-fields overlooking stunning views of Mt. Bandai and Lake Inawashiro, hike around multi-coloured volcanic lakes in summer before canoeing across Lake Hibara (or paragliding, for the more adventurous). In the cooler months, compete with your friends to find the best places to marvel at cherry-blossoms in Spring or the Autumn leaves. Adventure awaits you in Fukushima – whenever you choose to chase it!

Haven of Japanese Culture (and food!!)

For the inside-adventure types, never fear! As the third-biggest prefecture in Japan, there is plenty of room for cultural activity in Fukushima as well. Personal highlights include the many exciting seasonal festivals, some of Japan's best castles, the charming Ouchi-juku village and a host of traditional crafts to try! And when you're done being cultured, reward yourself with some of the tastiest local foods, including Kitakata Ramen - one of the 'Top 3 Best Ramen' dishes in Japan!


The Go!Go!!Tohoku!!! project is only just beginning. There is so much more of Tohoku to discover! Please follow the journey to be inspired for your next travel destination – where will your Tohoku adventure take you?

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Recommend Tours

What might seem like common practice and everyday values to local Japanese people can be new and attractive treasures through the eyes of people from different countries and cultures! There are so many unknown and enticing treasures just waiting to be discovered in Tohoku – come and find them!