Traditionally retains a reputation as a remote region with a harsh climate, today’s Tohoku offers the traveller some of the breathtaking scenery and its tourism became a major industry. In winter, the region of the western Japan Sea coast has some of the highest snowfall figures in the world, which also means great skiing and lots of hot springs to warm up in. Tohoku also has many castles and medieval residences, making it a good place to take in some history. It also serves as a good backup plan for cherry blossom viewing, since the trees blossom a few weeks later here than they do in other regions in Japan.
Akita Prefecture is situated in the northeastern part of the Japanese Honshu main island. The western side faces the Sea of Japan and has abundant flowing rivers, flatlands, and expanses of grain growing on fertile farmlands. High mountains, such as Mount Akita-Komagatake and Mount Hachimantai, surround the northern, southern and eastern sides. The inland areas are blanketed with heavy snowfalls in the winter. Akita City is the prefectural capital and is best used as a staging point for visits to Kakunodate, Lake Tazawa-ko or the Oga-hanto Peninsula.
Kakunodate is a small town with its well-preserved Samurai district and avenues of cherry trees. You can cover the main sights in a few hours or devote a lazy day to browsing around town. There are half a dozen Samurai houses open to the public along the main streets of the town.
Aomori Prefecture is situated on the northernmost tip of Honshu mainland facing Hokkaido, with Tsugaru Strait in between. 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.
The city of Aomori is located at the base of the Tsugaru-hanto Peninsula, and is the political, economic, and cultural center of the prefecture of which it is the capital. Aomori has a history as a port town, but is continuing to develop as a modern city.
Fukushima Prefecture, situated at the southern part of the Tohoku region about 200 kilometers from Tokyo, is the third largest prefecture in Japan. While being close to the nation’s capital, traditional Japanese culture still exists there. It is an industrial prefecture with the total value of goods shipped being the highest in the Hokkaido and Tohoku regions.
Iwate Prefecture, which boasts the largest land area among Japanese prefectures, is situated in the northeastern part of the Japanese main island, with its eastern side facing the Pacific Ocean. North of the coastline are cliffs eroded by the sea, and beach dunes. On the south is a saw-toothed coast with many inlets, revealing various contrastive scenery from the north to the south.
Miyagi Prefecture is situated in the northwestern part of Japan, facing the Pacific Ocean. With Sendai, the capital city, in the center, it is flanked to the south by the Abukuma-gawa River, and to the east, by the Kitagami-gawa River. On the coastal side, intricate shorelines twist to the north while warm beaches extend southward from Matsushima. Along the western inland is a stretch of stunning 1,000 meter-high mountains, the Zao range. Miyagi, with these elaborate geographical characteristics, has much to attract visitors. These include, but are not limited to, Matsushima, known as one of the three most beautiful sites in Japan, Zao with its rich natural environment, and the Minami Sanriku Kinkasan Quasi-National Park that leads to the saw-toothed Rikuchu-kaigan Coast.
Yamagata Prefecture is situated on the westernmost part of the Tohoku region, and has, since long ago, been an important marine transportation spot with developed routes on the Sea of Japan. Many cities in the prefecture, such as Yamagata, Shinjo, Tsuruoka and Yonezawa, have a long history, and naturally there are many historical temples, shrines and other sights to be found.