21 days in Tohoku Itinerary

21 days in Tohoku Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Tohoku attractions planner

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Plan created by another user. Make it yours
Fly
1
Aomori
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Hachimantai
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Semboku
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Hiraizumi-cho
— 1 night
Drive
5
Matsushima-machi
— 3 nights
Drive
6
Yamagata
— 3 nights
Drive
7
Tsuruoka
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Aizuwakamatsu
— 2 nights
Drive

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2
nights
Aomori

Facing Mutsu Bay on the northernmost tip of Honshu, Aomori is a bustling regional capital known for its fresh seafood and modern architecture.
Start off your visit on the 17th (Tue): take in the natural beauty of Manjufukashi, admire the landmark architecture of Sannai-Maruyama Site, explore the world behind art at Aomori Museum of Art, then see the interesting displays at Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship Hakkodamaru, then admire the landmark architecture of Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse, and finally admire the striking features of Aomori Prefecture Tourist Centerl ASPAM. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the landmark architecture of Kuroishi Fire Brigade 3rd Minute Fire Station, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Hakkoda Mountains, indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, then make a trip to Aomori Bay Bridge, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hirota Shrine.

To see photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Aomori travel route planner.

Sapporo to Aomori is an approximately 4-hour flight. You can also take a train; or drive. In December, plan for daily highs up to 1°C, and evening lows to -2°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Hachimantai.

Things to do in Aomori

Museums · Parks · Nature · Historic Sites

Side Trips

2
nights
Hachimantai

On the 19th (Thu), make a trip to Hachimandaira Promenade Peak, make a trip to Mori no Ohashi Bridge, fly down the slopes at Appi Kogen Ski Resort, then indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Iwate Park (Koen). Here are some ideas for day two: fly down the slopes at Hachimantai Resort Shimokura Ski Area, take in the dramatic natural features at Mt. Iwate Yakehashiri Lava Flow, and then don't miss a visit to Rock-breaking Cherry Tree.

To see reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Hachimantai itinerary site.

Drive from Aomori to Hachimantai in 2 hours. In December, daily temperatures in Hachimantai can reach 4°C, while at night they dip to -1°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Semboku.

Things to do in Hachimantai

Parks · Outdoors · Winter Sports · Nature

Side Trip

3
nights
Semboku

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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Semboku: Yoichi (in Morioka), Koiwai Farm (in Shizukuishi-cho) and Akita (Akita Museum Of Art & Senshu Park). There's lots more to do: wander the streets of Samurai District, take an in-depth tour of Aoyagi Samurai Manor Museum, pause for some photo ops at Statue of Tatsuko, and admire the striking features of Ishiguro Samurai House.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read Semboku online road trip planner.

Getting from Hachimantai to Semboku by car takes about 1.5 hours. In December, plan for daily highs up to 3°C, and evening lows to 0°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Hiraizumi-cho.

Things to do in Semboku

Parks · Museums · Historic Sites · Nature

Side Trips

1
night
Hiraizumi-cho

On the 24th (Tue), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Motsu-ji Temple, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Takkoku no Iwaya, take an in-depth tour of Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage Center, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Chuson-ji Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Chuson-ji Konjiki-do, and finally see the interesting displays at Sankozo.

To see ratings and tourist information, read our Hiraizumi-cho trip itinerary tool.

Traveling by car from Semboku to Hiraizumi-cho takes 2 hours. December in Hiraizumi-cho sees daily highs of 4°C and lows of -1°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Matsushima-machi.

Things to do in Hiraizumi-cho

Historic Sites · Museums

3
nights
Matsushima-machi

Matsushima-machi has long enjoyed a reputation for its natural scenery: back in the 17th century, scholar Hayashi Gaho listed its bay as one of the Three Views of Japan.
Change things up with these side-trips from Matsushima-machi: Michi-no-Eki Jobonnosato (in Ishinomaki), Minamisanriku Sansan Market (in Minamisanriku-cho) and Osaki (Naruko Valley & Onsen Resorts). There's much more to do: take in the waterfront activity at Matsushima Bay, take in the spiritual surroundings of Zuiganji, snap pictures at Fukuurabashi Bridge, and make a trip to Godaido.

To see reviews, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read Matsushima-machi road trip planning site.

You can drive from Hiraizumi-cho to Matsushima-machi in 1.5 hours. In December, Matsushima-machi is a bit warmer than Hiraizumi-cho - with highs of 8°C and lows of 5°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to drive to Yamagata.

Things to do in Matsushima-machi

Historic Sites · Parks · Nature · Museums

Side Trips

3
nights
Yamagata

The town of Yamagata and its surrounding prefecture have a wealth of attractions, both man-made and natural.
Explore Yamagata's surroundings by going to Sendai (Banji Iwa & Akiu Fall), Uesugi Jinja Shrine (in Yonezawa) and Miyagi Zao Fox Village (in Shiroishi). Next up on the itinerary: fly down the slopes at Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort, walk around Kajo Park, step into the grandiose world of Yamagata castle, and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Risshaku-ji Temple.

To see reviews and tourist information, you can read our Yamagata trip itinerary maker.

You can drive from Matsushima-machi to Yamagata in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of train and bus. Prepare for slightly colder weather when traveling from Matsushima-machi in December: high temperatures in Yamagata hover around 4°C and lows are around 0°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Tsuruoka.

Things to do in Yamagata

Parks · Historic Sites · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

3
nights
Tsuruoka

Tsuruoka, famous for its scenic surroundings, attracts tourists due to its proximity to the Dewa Sanzan, sacred mountains revered by the Shugendo religion.
Explore Tsuruoka's surroundings by going to Mt. Gassan (in Shonai-machi), Kaneyama-machi (Ozeki Park & Kaneyama Townscape) and Sankyo Soko Storehouse (in Sakata). There's still lots to do: observe the fascinating underwater world at Tsuruoka City Kamo Aquarium, take in the dramatic natural features at Midagahara Wetlands, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ideha Shrine, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Mt.Haguro- Cedat Trees along the Approach.

Start your trip to Tsuruoka by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Drive from Yamagata to Tsuruoka in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In December, daily temperatures in Tsuruoka can reach 7°C, while at night they dip to 1°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Thu) early enough to go by car to Aizuwakamatsu.

Things to do in Tsuruoka

Parks · Historic Sites · Nature · Wildlife

Side Trips

2
nights
Aizuwakamatsu

Rich in culture and history, Aizuwakamatsu has retained much of its traditional character from its days as a feudal capital.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Aizuwakamatsu: Ouchijuku (in Shimogo-machi) and Kitashiobara-mura (Goshikinuma Lake & Gran Deco Snow Resort). There's lots more to do: explore the historical opulence of Tsuruga jo Castle, don't miss a visit to Nanokamachidori, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Bandaisan, and admire the landmark architecture of Aizu Old Samurai Residences.

To see reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Aizuwakamatsu attractions planning site.

Getting from Tsuruoka to Aizuwakamatsu by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. In January, plan for daily highs up to 3°C, and evening lows to -2°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive back home.

Things to do in Aizuwakamatsu

Parks · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Winter Sports

Side Trips

Tohoku travel guide

4.1
Sacred & Religious Sites · Landmarks · Historic Sites
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.