Located in the north part of Japan, Tohoku is not only abundant with fascinating nature, but also it has a wide range of places and facilities to experience. Here are some of the best family-friendly destinations in Tohoku for children and adults alike.
Hakkoda Ski Area in Spring – Aomori Prefecture
Hakkoda International Ski Resort is located near the base of the Hakkoda Ropeway in Aomori Prefecture. Skiing in one of Japan’s heaviest snowfall areas is a sight to behold! When you take the ropeway to the top of the mountain, you can see the magnificent nature and the beautiful snow monster all around. And with several courses with a long run distance of 7km, which can be enjoyed by both beginners and advanced skiers, it’s great for the whole family! The resort is open from the end of November to the beginning of May every year, making it the perfect place to enjoy the long season.
Ropeway Fare (standard ticket)
One Way: Adult ¥1,250, Child ¥450
Round Trip Adult: Adult ¥2,000, Child ¥700
Hachimantai Aspite Line – Iwate Prefecture
Straddling Iwate and Akita prefectures, Hachimantai is one of the most popular resorts in the Tohoku region all year round, offering an abundance of leisure activities including hot springs and skiing. One of the best ways to enjoy the area in spring is to take the Hachimantai Aspite Line snow corridor drive, which crosses Hachimantai from mid-April to mid-May. The snow walls on both sides of the road are more impressive than those of Tateyama Kurobe, and the scale is breathtaking. At the same time, the cherry blossoms in the nearby Hachimantai Sakura Park are at their best. The combination of snow and cherry blossom is a special experience that can only be had in Tohoku! Enjoy a spectacular drive through magnificent nature.
Opening period: around mid-April with no entrance fee
Lake Tazawa Canoeing – Akita Prefecture
Lake Tazawa in Akita is the deepest lake in Japan. The lake’s appeal lies in the emerald-green color of its water, which gives it a deep and mysterious atmosphere. The refraction of light creates a kaleidoscope of colors, and the colors visibly change depending on the depth. Here at Lake Tazawa, you can also experience cruising in a canoe or kayak. Let’s enjoy the unique blue color of Lake Tazawa by canoe or kayak while enjoying the scenery created by magnificent nature.
Activities & Prices
Canoeing & kayaking: starting from 3,600 yen
Shower climbing: 5,200 yen (half day tour)
JR Fruit Park Sendai Arahama – Miyagi Prefecture
Opened in 2021, JR Fruit Park Sendai Arahama is an interactive tourist farm where you can pick fruit all year round. In addition to strawberries and blueberries, you can also pick a variety of vegetables! There is also a café-restaurant where you can enjoy fruit-filled sweets and a marché where you can buy local products. Offering food, shopping, and even hands-on experiences, it’s a fun spot for kids and adults alike!
Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00, closed on Tuesdays (or the following weekday if Tuesday is a public holiday)
Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port – Sendai City
Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port is the largest outlet mall in Tohoku. Tohoku attraction isn’t just about nature, but you can also enjoy shopping! Here at Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port, you can also enjoy gourmet food at the food court, which is themed on a tour of tastes from all over Japan. The 50-meter-high Ferris wheel “Port Flower” is illuminated every day after sunset! You can see Sendai Port, the night view of Sendai City, and on a clear day, the Zao Mountain Range.
Shops: 10:00 – 20:00
Food Court: 10:30 – 20:00
Five-story Pagoda of Mt. Haguro – Yamagata Prefecture
Designated as a national treasure, the five-story pagoda of Mt. Haguro in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture, is a very attractive spot, towering over a mysterious space surrounded by trees. Nearby is a giant cedar tree, “Jijisugi,” which is 1,000 years old and has a circumference of 10 meters, reminding us of the majestic nature and history of the area. This is a power spot in Tohoku that attracts many worshippers and a recommended place to visit in Tohoku.
Akabeko Painting Experience – Fukushima Prefecture
Akabeko is a folk craft representing Aizu in Fukushima Prefecture. This craft also called “amulet cow” or “lucky cow” is a local toy that has been loved for many years as a talisman to ward off evil spirits and as a good luck charm. You can also experience painting the Akabeko yourself. In addition to purchasing them, why not make your own original Akabeko to take home with you? You can even give it as a gift to someone special!
Tarai Bune Experience – Niigata Prefecture
A recommended activity on Sado Island in Niigata is the tarai bune! It is a thrilling experience that cannot be experienced on an ordinary boat. And what’s more, this tarai bune was also featured in “Spirited Away”, a Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli film. Get on top of the big tub and enjoy a 10-minute ride on the sea! If you manage to steer the boat successfully, you can receive “tarai bune navigator license” for 200 yen, which will serve as a memento of your trip!