Today I’m continuing my series on itinerary ideas for my potential trip to Japan and Korea later this year. In this post I’ll be looking at the Tohoku region of Japan. Tohoku is located in the northern part of the island of Honshu and is the part of Japan colored red in the map below. Back in 2017 I passed through this region of Japan as I made my way north to Hokkaido but didn’t stop to visit any part of it. For my possible 2019 journey I’d probably again find myself moving north from Kanto up to Hokkaido but if possible I’d like to take a few days and explore a little bit of Tohoku. Even if I end up only visiting one or two places I don’t want to skip over this part of Japan a second time.
The largest city in Tohoku has a few attractions within it but Sendai looks like it might be a good launchpad for day trips to other nearby parts of the region. Within Sendai it looks like the most notable thing to visit is the Zuihoden Mausoleum, which holds the remains of a powerful feudal lord who ruled the city. Some of the potential day trips from Sendai include Yamadera Temple and Matsushima Bay.
Like Sendai, the town of Aomori looks like it might be a good place to lodge while visiting nearby locales. Aomori is near the northern tip of Tohoku and if I stopped there it would be the last place I stayed in before continuing up to Hokkaido. Currently the two possible day trips from Aomori that have my attention are the castle town of Hirosaki and the Shimokita Peninsula, which is where the sacred mountain of Osorezan is located.
The town of Hiraizumi used to be Tohoku’s cultural and political capital until it was mostly destroyed in 1189. While Hiraizumi could potentially be a day trip from Sendai it might also be worthwhile for me to spend the night there since it’s further north along the path up to Hokkaido. The town has a few notable temples in it and from what I’ve read online it seems like Hiraizumi is a good place to explore by bicycle.