12 days in Tohoku Itinerary

12 days in Tohoku Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Tohoku travel route builder

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Make it your trip
+2
Drive to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Fly to Hakodate Airport, Drive to Towada
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Towada
— 3 nights
Train
2
Semboku
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Hiraizumi-cho
— 1 night
Drive
4
Tsuruoka
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Oga
— 2 nights
+2
Drive to Akita Airport, Fly to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Drive to Washington DC

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Towada

— 3 nights
Tucked away among the foothills of the Hakkoda mountain range, Towada tourism revolves around its eponymous lake and the surrounding national park.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Towada Shrine and Aomori Museum of Art. Escape the urban bustle at Tsutanonana Swamp and Oirase River. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Towada: Aomori (Jogakura Stream, Jogakura Bridge, &more). There's much more to do: explore the activities along Itomuka no Irie, pause for some photo ops at Statue of Maidens, admire the sheer force of Choshi Otaki Waterfall, and head outdoors with Tsuta Numa.

To see traveler tips, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Towada planning tool.

Washington DC, USA to Towada is an approximately 27-hour combination of car and flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Washington DC to Towada is 14 hours. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Washington DC in October: highs in Towada hover around 60°F, while lows dip to 55°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) early enough to catch the train to Semboku.

Things to do in Towada

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Spas

Side Trips

Semboku

— 2 nights
Established in 2005 by the merging of several towns and villages, Semboku boasts an Old Japan atmosphere, punctuated by traditional onsen resorts, old samurai houses, and weeping cherry trees.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Sat): visit Samurai District, admire the landmark architecture of Ishiguro Samurai House, contemplate the long history of Tennei-ji Temple, admire the verdant scenery at Dakigaeri Valley, then take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Akita Komagatake, and finally soak in some Japanese tradition at Nyuto Onsenkyo. On the next day, wander the streets of Kakunodate, get engrossed in the history at Aoyagi Samurai Manor Museum, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Gozanoishi Shrine.

To find ratings, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, go to the Semboku route builder site.

Traveling by train from Towada to Semboku takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Towada in October since evenings lows in Semboku dip to 49°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Hiraizumi-cho.

Things to do in Semboku

Neighborhoods · Historic Sites · Parks · Nature

Hiraizumi-cho

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Mon): explore the galleries of Sankozo, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Chuson-ji Temple, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Motsu-ji Temple, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Takkoku no Iwaya, then get engrossed in the history at Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage Center, and finally explore the different monuments and memorials at Tomb of Yoshitsune’s Wife and a Daughter.

To see more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Hiraizumi-cho online vacation planner.

You can drive from Semboku to Hiraizumi-cho in 2 hours. In October, daily temperatures in Hiraizumi-cho can reach 64°F, while at night they dip to 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Tsuruoka.

Things to do in Hiraizumi-cho

Historic Sites · Museums

Tsuruoka

— 2 nights
Tsuruoka, famous for its scenic surroundings, attracts tourists due to its proximity to the Dewa Sanzan, sacred mountains revered by the Shugendo religion.
On the 18th (Tue), contemplate the long history of Hagurosan Five-Story Pagoda, appreciate the extensive heritage of Mt.Haguro- Cedat Trees along the Approach, steep yourself in history at Mt.Haguro- Dewasanzan Sanjin Gosaiden, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ideha Shrine, then take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Haguro, and finally steep yourself in history at Tsuruoka Roman Catholic Church. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the long history of Tamugimata Layered Housing, take in the spiritual surroundings of Yudonosan Shrine, take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Gassan, then take in the dramatic natural features at Midagahara Wetlands, and finally don't miss a visit to Heishindo-Former Kazama Family Residence.

To see maps, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Tsuruoka attractions planning tool.

Getting from Hiraizumi-cho to Tsuruoka by car takes about 3.5 hours. Expect a daytime high around 65°F in October, and nighttime lows around 53°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Oga.

Things to do in Tsuruoka

Historic Sites · Parks · Nature

Side Trip

Oga

— 2 nights
Oga is a city located in Akita Prefecture, Japan.As of May 2015, the city has an estimated population of 29,318, and a population density of 122 persons per km2. Start off your visit on the 20th (Thu): get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Oga Aquarium Gao, get engrossed in the history at Ogashinzan Traditional Museum, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Shinzan Shrine, then take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Kampu, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Nanohana Road.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Oga using our trip planner.

You can drive from Tsuruoka to Oga in 3 hours. October in Oga sees daily highs of 62°F and lows of 49°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Oga

Parks · Historic Sites · Museums · Nature

Side Trip

Tohoku travel guide

4.1
Sacred & Religious Sites · Landmarks · Bodies of Water
Long a poor rural area known for its harsh climate, Tohoku remained off the tourist radar for most of modern Japanese history. Today, tourism in Tohoku remains refreshingly subdued, offering the chance to discover some of the country's finest natural scenery without the crowds. The area encompasses many scenic hot springs, developed ski areas, picturesque lakes, and historic castles and former samurai residences. Tohoku also serves as an ideal spot for that quintessential Japanese activity, the cherry blossom viewing: the trees bloom later here than elsewhere in the country, making the region a great alternative if you arrive a bit late in the season.