In this article, we’ll introduce our recommended winter sightseeing spots in Tohoku. The best time to enjoy snowy sceneries is from late December to February.
Oirase Mountain Stream – Aomori Prefecture
The Oirase Mountain Stream in Towada City, Aomori Prefecture is a natural monument and nationally recognized scenic spot. In winter, the waterfall turns to ice and icicles form, producing natural works of art. Guided tours are also held only in winter, so you can fully enjoy the silvery white scenery in the day or an illuminated scenery at night. This white winter wonderland of ice and snow is a must-see!
Appi Kogen Ski Resort – Iwate Prefecture
Appi Kogen Ski Resort in Hachimantai City, Iwate Prefecture is a very popular ski resort where you can enjoy top-class powdery snow. Offering 21 ski courses and vast slopes with a total skiable distance of 43.1km, Appi Kogen Ski Resort is the place to go to if you want to have a superb skiing experience. For those travelling with kids, you might also want to check out the resort’s Appi Snow Play Land, where kids can play in the snow.
Unosaki Beach – Akita Prefecture
Unosaki Beach is a spectacular spot known as Akita’s Salar de Uyuni. The shallow beach, where you can walk as far as 200 meters offshore during low tide, is a magnificent sight. It’s definitely a must-see when you come to the Tohoku Region. For the best photos, go around sunset on a windless day, or early in the morning. Capture a postcard-perfect shot at this attraction that’s currently trending on social media.
Zao Fox Village – Miyagi Prefecture
The Zao Fox Village is a sanctuary for foxes in Shiroishi City, Miyagi Prefecture. You’ll be greeted by more than 100 foxes at this one-of-a-kind spot. Located in a forest, the fox village lets you freely interact with the foxes. Walk around and a fox might follow you, while another might pull on your clothes! The cute foxes are sure to charm anyone. Don’t forget to check out the cute souvenirs too, while you’re there.
Bunka Yokocho and Iroha Yokocho – Sendai City
At the lively shopping arcade in central Sendai, go through a side street and you’ll find two neighboring clusters of Japanese izakaya pubs also known as “yokocho” or drinking alleys. Bunka Yokocho and Iroha Yokocho are off-the-beaten-path alleyways that exude a nostalgic retro-Japan atmosphere. While most of the pubs open in the evening, there are also shops here open for lunch and even cafes that offer sweets. These drinking alleys can be enjoyed not only by those who are looking to do some barhopping, but also those who don’t drink. Come and meet the locals or enjoy the good old Japanese atmosphere.
Saihoji Temple – Sendai City
Saihoji Temple is an 800-year-old temple located in a mountainous area about an hour’s drive from the Sendai city center. With large premises and an unusual hexagonal worship hall, the temple is a registered tangible cultural property. There’s also a tea room here where visitors can enjoy matcha green tea and Japanese sweets. In winter, the view of snow falling on the five-story pagoda is especially beautiful and gives off a distinctly Japanese atmosphere. Not far from the temple, there’s a long-established tofu shop that sells Jogi Tofu, a famous local dish. Be sure to give it a try while you’re there.
Ginzan Onsen – Yamagata Prefecture
Ginzan Onsen, immensely popular among both Japanese and foreign tourists, is a beautiful hot spring town. Every part of it is picturesque – even a simple stroll is sure to produce plenty of great photos. The town has slightly different charms every season, but the best scenery is definitely that in winter while snow is falling. It’s like entering Studio Ghibli’s fairy tale world – a magnificent sight that you won’t easily forget.
Hoshitouge Terraced Rice Field – Niigata Prefecture
The Hoshitouge Terraced Rice Field in the Matsudai district of Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture is a very popular tourist spot that has been selected as one of the 100 Most Beautiful Villages in Japan. It boasts as many as 200 rice terraces of various sizes spread out along the mountain slopes. In winter, the rice terraces get covered in thick snow and visitors can enjoy a fantastic winter landscape. Revel in the beautiful scenery found only in Japan.