Route 1: Tohoku Samurai Culture and Castles
Experience the "way of the warrior" in Aizuwakamatsu, known as the "samurai city." Visit Aizuwakamatsu Castle, where samurai loyal to the shogun fought to the bitter end against the new Meiji government's army in 1868.
In Yonezawa you'll find the spiritual "power spot" of Uesugi Shrine, dedicated to one of the most powerful military commanders of the Warring States era, Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578).
At Shiroishi Castle, you can try on actual samurai armor. Standing at the inner citadel of Sendai Castle Ruins, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Sendai and the Pacific Ocean. The castle was originally built by Date Masamune (1567-1636), who was also known as the “One-Eyed Dragon."
Route 2: Tohoku Sanriku Coast and Marine Adventure
Ride a sight-seeing boat at Kesennuma and catch a breath-taking view of the impressive Kesennuma Oshima Bridge.
This route is full of waterfront adventure, whether it’s cruising between rugged cliffs on a small boat operated by local fishermen or walking along the clear, refreshing waters of the Oirase River.
Route 3: Tour of Tohoku Towns and Relaxing Time with Akita Inu
The Bank of Iwate Red Brick Building and other local features suffuse Morioka with a nostalgic atmosphere.
Kakunodate flourished as a castle town during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and is called the “Little Kyoto of Tohoku.”
Hirosaki is dotted with retro Western-style buildings and is home to Hirosaki Castle, where cherry blossoms bloom ever so beautifully.
Each of these cities has a distinctive atmosphere that makes them perfect for exploring by foot.
Route 4: Tour of Spectacular Tohoku Scenery Across All Four Seasons
Experience all four seasons along this route—cherry blossoms, fresh green leaves, autumn foliage, and snowy landscapes.
Walk along the marshlands of Hachimantai and the mountain valley streams of Oirase. A major highlight is the Hachinohe City section of the Michinoku Coastal Trail.
The trail along the Tanesashi Coast is a treasure trove of spectacular views. It features impressive coastal scenery that changes with each step, from rugged reefs to white sand and green pines.
Route 5: Tour of Tohoku Spiritual Culture and Natural World Heritage Sites
Tohoku is a region abundant in spiritual folk beliefs related to nature.
It includes the animism of the ancient Jomon people; the Aomori Nebuta Festival, whose motifs feature gods and buddhas like Fujin, the god of wind, and Raijin, the god of lightning and thunder; the ogre-like beings called namahage, who come as “visiting gods” on New Year’s Eve; and forms of mountain religion like those found at Dewa Sanzan and various mountain temples.
This route brings you into contact with Tohoku’s varied and interesting folk beliefs, which have lived on in different forms from ancient times down to the present.
Route 6: Tohoku Sunsets and Scenic Coastal Drives
This route goes south along the Japan Sea coast from Akita through Yamagata and on to Niigata.
Travelers can enjoy spectacular views of the ocean below on this route, which includes the Chokai Blue Line, a sightseeing mountain road that rises from sea level up to an elevation of 1,100 meters in a single stretch.
Soaking in a hot spring while watching the sunset over the Sea of Japan is a deeply relaxing and luxurious experience.
Route 7: Tohoku Traditional Craftsmanship and History
In the 400-year-old manufacturing town of Tsubame City, you can try fashioning your very own metal tumbler; in Murakami City, where it is said there are more than 100 ways to prepare salmon, you can try your hand at making salted salmon.
Travelers can visit Aizuwakamatsu’s Sazaedo Temple, a wooden structure with a double spiral structure that seems like an optical illusion, and admire the beauty of Matsushima's many islands, which are mentioned in the haiku of noted poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694).
This route allows you to experience Tohoku history and traditional craftsmanship firsthand.