View Map

Overview

The deep north of Japan's main island of Honshu, known locally as Tohoku, offers a frequently dramatic landscape broken by a spine of snow-capped mountains and littered with ruined castles, mystical shrines, samurai towns and quaint villages. More than 260 islands pepper Matsushima Bay, one of Japan's top-rated panoramas, a view that inspired a famous haiku by the poet Matsuo Basho. In Hiraizumi lies the opulent Konjiki-do, or Golden Hall, a glittering remnant of the now unassuming town's glorious past as a rival to Kyoto. Nearby is the archetypal Tohoku town of Tono set in a lush valley known for its wealth of traditional folk tales; it's a ...

The deep north of Japan's main island of Honshu, known locally as Tohoku, offers a frequently dramatic landscape broken by a spine of snow-capped mountains and littered with ruined castles, mystical shrines, samurai towns and quaint villages. More than 260 islands pepper Matsushima Bay, one of Japan's top-rated panoramas, a view that inspired a famous haiku by the poet Matsuo Basho. In Hiraizumi lies the opulent Konjiki-do, or Golden Hall, a glittering remnant of the now unassuming town's glorious past as a rival to Kyoto. Nearby is the archetypal Tohoku town of Tono set in a lush valley known for its wealth of traditional folk tales; it's a lovely area to explore by bike. The 17th century military outpost of Kakunodate is the place to see traditional houses once occupied by the samurai and merchant classes and surrounded by hundreds of weeping cherry trees. Head down the Sea of Japan coast, past the sacred mountain Dewa-sanzan to the port of Niigata to board a ferry to Sado-ga-shima. This attractive island, once a place of exile, is best visited in August for its annual Earth Celebration music festival held in Ogi, the home base of internationally famous taiko drumming group Koto.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

view full overview

Simon Richmond for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Tōhoku region is a geographical area of Japan. Tōhoku is Japanese for "northeast," and the Tōhoku region occupies the northeastern portion of Honshū.
  • Language: Japanese
  • Currency: Yen
  • Research: Facts and Details | Tohoku
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Either April to May or late September to early November