A lively port city at Honshu’s northern tip, Aomori is famed for its spectacular Nebuta Matsuri festival. It’s home to an impressive museum dedicated to this annual celebration and an acclaimed modern art gallery, as well as one of Japan’s most interactive archaeological sites.
Things to do in Aomori
Seafood lovers shouldn’t miss the Furukawa Fish Market, which is packed with rows of fishmongers selling locally-caught produce. Its specialty is a make-your-own seafood donburi, with a ticketed system that allows you to select raw fish, shellfish or caviar from the vendor of your choice.
Can’t attend Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri in August? Why not visit the Nebuta Warasse, a museum dedicated to the history, traditions and spirit of this annual festival. See photos taken throughout its 300-year-long history and listen to the sounds of taiko drums being played during the celebrations, then admire the design of its specially-crafted floats.
Spend an afternoon exploring one of the best preserved Jomon Period villages in Japan at the Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Site. Wander through its reconstructed long houses and tower that sit atop the original excavations, then learn about its former residents and try on traditional clothing at the Jomon Jiyukan museum.
Adjacent lies the Aomori Museum of Art, home to galleries dug into the earth to replicate the trenches of Sannai Maruyama. It’s dedicated to modern art, with highlights including three immense paintings by Marc Chagall, woodblock prints by Munakata Shiko and an 8.5-metre-tall Aomori-Ken dog statue by Nara Yoshitomo.
Getting around Aomori
Aomori Airport lies 25 minutes’ drive south of the city centre, which is around four hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo. Buses travel throughout Aomori and taxis are readily available, while the downtown area is easily accessible on foot.