Sights and Attractions >>
Sports, Recreation and Nature >>
Moya Hills is an outdoor recreation complex which offers activities to suit every season.
During 'Green Season' visitors can enjoy tennis, rock wall climbing and 'Hills Thunder', a speedy go-kart style descent from the top of the mountain. Or you could just take in the beauty of your natural surroundings and the splendid view of Aomori from one of the highest points in the city.
In the winter, Moya Hills becomes draped in snow, attracting skiiers and snowboarders from all across the region. And log cabins and the camp site nearby mean that this is the perfect place to spend a day or two in Aomori.
Hakkōda is an area south of the city home to the Hakkōda mountain range and Mt. Hakkōda, one of the '100 Famous Japanese Mountains'. Hakkōda's attraction is threefold: onsens, the ropeway (cable car) and nature.
Of all the onsens in Hakkōda, the oldest and most well-known is Sukayu Onsen, which is famed for its 'sennin-buro', a huge bath said to hold 1000 people and made completely of Japanese cypress. Sukayu is also a ryokan, a type of Japanese inn, making overnight stays possible.
Nearby, visitors can ride Hakkōda Ropeway, which takes you for a 10-minute "walk in the air" over a distance of 2.5 km to the summit of Mt. Tamoyachidake, where the panoramic view of the mountains and Mutsu Bay is superb.
The Hakkōda area is also home to pristine wildlife and nature, and takes on a different face with each season. The beautiful colours of fresh foliage in spring, the deep greens of summer, the crisp, burnt autumn leaves and then a white, snow-covered landscape in winter mean you can visit Hakkōda four times throughout the year and each time experience a different scene. Undoubtedly the busiest season is winter, when many flock to the area for winter sports. The rugged mountainous terrain offers a challenging adventure even for experienced snowboarders and skiiers.
If Hakkoda is the place to be in winter, Asamushi comes to life in summer. Located on the Eastern side of Mutsu Bay, this onsen town is centred around the picturesque Sunset Beach. Here visitors can relax on the sand, play in the sea, try the local delicacy of hoya (sea pineapple) from one of the seaside shacks or take a boat across the water to Yu-no-Shima island.
Nearby, visitors will find Asamushi Aquarium. Open all year round, this aquarium is the biggest in the Tohoku area. Attractions include a 15 metre-long water tunnel, dolphin show and a 'Touch Tank' which allows visitors not only to see, but also to touch the marine life of Mutsu Bay.
Asamushi is most famous for its onsen, this association stretching back around 1,200 years. As well as various hotels and ryokan, there are 14 onsens in total, and visitors can take advantage of the 'Asamushi Yufuda' (1,500 yen), a pass which allows you to explore any 3 of the 14 baths. Combined with the sublime natural scenery, relaxing in the onsens of Asamushi is an unforgettable experience.
Aomori Kankō Apple Garden
Located near the foot of the Hakkōda mountains, Aomori Kankō Apple Garden offers visitors the chance to pick their own apples to take home and eat. With over 30 varieties to choose from, the picking season lasts from August to November. Other fruits such as cherries, nectarines and grapes are also available.
Gappo Park incorporates a beach facing out onto Mutsu Bay, grassy areas and even a small zoo. It is listed as one of 'Japan's Top 100 City Parks' and is known as a great spot for viewing sakura (cherry blossom trees) in the spring. A variety of events are held throughout the year here and visitors can also see stone monuments to famous Japanese poet, Takuboku Ishikawa.
Opened in December 2010 for the arrival of the Shinkansen in Aomori, A-FACTORY is the perfect place to sample contemporary Aomori cuisine. Located next to Warasse Nebuta Museum and only a minute's walk from Aomori Station, A-FACTORY houses various eateries, a local produce market and a small apple cider factory, all under one roof.
Culture, History and Art >>
Sannai Maruyama Ruins and Komakino Site
The discovery of the Sannai Maruyama Ruins in 1992 (when Aomori Prefecture began to make plans for a new baseball stadium) revolutionized existing theories on jōmon culture. At Sannai Maruyama, visitors can see a reconstructed jōmon village and enter dwellings like those the jōmon people would have inhabited thousands of years ago. The exhibition center, 'Jōmon Jiyūkan' also offers various child-friendly, hands-on experiences, including making jōmon pochettes and mini clay figures.
Nearby visitors can also view the Komakino Site, large stone circles from the jōmon period whose mysteries have yet to be uncovered.
Aomori Museum of Art
Aomori Museum of Art stands adjacent to the Sannai Maruyama Ruins and houses various permanent and temporary exhibitions from world-renowned artists. Its distinctive white structure was imagined by Japanese architect, Jun Aoki, and is just as much a work of art as the pieces it contains. Visitors can also witness one of Aomori's most famous symbols, the huge, white 'Aomori Dog' sculpture.
Warasse Nebuta Museum
Located next to Aomori Station and having opened in January 2011, Warasse Nebuta Museum is a modern celebration of Aomori City's Nebuta Festival. Through a variety of interactive exhibits and displays, visitors can learn about the history and experience the atmosphere of the Nebuta Festival all year round. The museum also houses 5 award winning floats from the previous festival which change every year, giving you a chance to see these stunning works of art up close.
Multi-function spaces for community use, as well as a restaurant are to be found here too.
Aomori-Hakodate Ferry Memorial Ship: Hakkoda Maru
- Aomori-Hakodate Ferry Memorial Ship: Hakkoda Maru homepage
- Aomori-Hakodate Ferry Memorial Ship: Hakkoda Maru access
These days the Seikan Tunnel connects Aomori Prefecture with Hakodate, Hokkaidō and allows transit by train, but before the tunnel opened, ships like the Hakkōda Maru were employed as 'train ferrys' to carry trains across the Tsugaru Strait. When this service stopped in 1988 the Hakkōda Maru was converted into Japan's first train ferry museum and became permanently moored in Aomori.
There is also a bar and restaurant located aboard the ship.
Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center ASPAM
Situated next to the city port and built in the shape of an A (to represent the first letter in Aomori), ASPAM is instantly recognisable as part of Aomori's skyline. Inside you'll find a tourist information desk, gift shops, restaurants, local crafts, an observation deck where you can look out across the city and a 360-degree panoramic cinema which is used to screen a superb educational video on the prefecture of Aomori.
Munakata Shikō Memorial Museum of Art
Munakata Shikō was a native of Aomori and world-famous woodblock printmaker. This museum houses his prints (including his great work, ‘Ten Great Disciples of Buddha’), Japanese-style paintings, calligraphy and oil paintings.
Mt. Hakkōda Snow March Memorial Museum
In January 1902, 210 Japanese soldiers of the 5th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion met with disaster while training in the snow on the Hakkōda mountains. The event became known as the Mt. Hakkōda Snow March Incident and this museum was opened in 2004 as a lasting monument to the soldiers who lost their lives.
Aomori Comtemporary Art Centre
Located within the lush, green mountain forests just outside the city, Aomori Comtemporary Art Centre is a quiet hub of artistic activity. Taking 'art' and 'nature' as constant themes, ACAC welcome various international artists to exhibit their work as part of an 'Artist in Residence' program. The facility itself, designed by Tadao Andō, incorporates tranquil planes of water into its structure and is a must see.
Seiryū-ji Shōwa Daibutsu
Seiryū-ji Temple was built in 1984 and is home to Japan's largest seated bronze daibutsu (giant statue of buddha) at over 20 metres tall. Surrounded by tranquil forest scenery, here visitors can also take part in morning Zen meditation or try shōjin ryōri, a type of simple, traditional Buddhist food.