The Winter Wonderland For Amazing Travel Experiences
Tohoku is the area in northern Honshu island that covers 7 prefectures; Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima, and Niigata. The area is blessed with a variety of winter attractions, thanks to its cold climate, amazing crafting experiences, and delicious foods!
How To Get To Tohoku
Before we move to what to do in Tohoku, let’s take a look at how to access the area. Thanks to the great technology of Japan, you just need to ride a shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Ueno station, and voila! You will be there in Tohoku in about an hour!
There is a variety of Tohoku shinkansen. If you are going to Niigata Prefecture, you will need to ride Joetsu Shinkansen, while it will be Hayabusa Shinkansen to Aomori Prefecture and Yamabiko, Hayabusa, Komachi to Miyagi Prefecture. So please be careful to choose which shinkansen you should ride on.
Snowshoeing in Echigo Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture
Visiting Tohoku in winter will not be complete without enjoying the snow! If skiing and snowboarding are two major winter sports that most travelers know, how if challenge yourself to adventurous snowshoeing?
Snowshoeing is an excellent low-impact aerobic exercise for walking over the snow. You will need to wear special shoes with a large footprint that spreads your weight and allows you to walk over the snow.
With this activity, those who are not good at strenuous activities such as skiing and snowboarding can enjoy the snow!
We rent the equipment needed at the Snow Country Tourist Office Echigo Yuzawa Onsen and experience snowshoeing at 8,800 yen/person.
About Snow Country Tourist Office Echigo Yuzawa Onsen
|Address||2431-1 Yuzawa, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata 〒949-6101|
Travel back in time to the Edo era in Ouchijuku Town, Fukushima Prefecture
Ouchijuku town was an important post-town in the Edo period and still stands just like when it still prospered. The traditional thatched-roof houses (which is protected now) with no wires above the ground, allow visitors to enjoy the original of its marvelous scenery. The main street is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants.
The town looks amazing with snow that covers the whole village white, but it also looks great in beautiful green during summer!
|Address||Ouchi, Shimogo, Minamiaizu District, Fukushima 〒969-5207|
|Opening Hour||09:00~16:00 (may differ to each shop)|
Get Closer to Japan’s Foxes at Miyagi Zao Fox Village, Miyagi Prefecture
Foxes are popular creatures in Japanese folktales. Miyagi Zao Fox Village is a well-known fox-themed zoo that takes care of hundreds of foxes, allowing visitors to get closer to these cute animals as they can walk around the entire area freely.
You will need to pay an admission fee of 1,000 yen (over the junior high school) and have a chance to feed the foxes! However, be sure to instructions from the staff on how to feed foxes.
About Zao Fox Village
|Address||11-3 Kawarago, Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture 〒989-0733|
|Opening hour||09:00-16:00 (winter)
09:00 – 17:00 (summer)
Strawberry Picking at La Fraise, Miyagi Prefecture
The cold climate in Tohoku forced vegetables and fruits to produce more sweetness, which makes Tohoku’s strawberry is extremely sweet and delicious. That’s why strawberry picking is one of the recommended activities when traveling to the Tohoku area.
La Fraise is a spacious strawberry farm in Natori city in Miyagi Prefecture that offers all-you-can-eat strawberries you picked for 30 minutes with a price of 2,000 yen/person. Have them in Japanese way by dipping it into condensed milk!
About La Fraise
|Address||3-5 Hattan,Takadatekawakami, Natori-shi, Miyagi Prefecture 〒981-1243|
|Opening hour||10:00 – 15:00
(Close on Wednesday and Thursday)
|Inquiry||Inquire to the shop|
Spring Valley Izumi Kogen Ski Resort, Miyagi Prefecture
Spring Valley Izumi Kogen is one of the popular ski resorts that offer a lot of snow activities besides the major winter sports; skiing and snowboarding. The resort is located at the northern slopes of Mt. Izumigatake in the northern Miyagi Prefecture, has easy access from Sendai city with approximately 40 mins ride by car.
Snow Adventure Kingdom area is a popular spot in the resort as it is family-friendly where kids and adults can play together with the snow. It features thrilling snow tubing, fun sledding, a snow escalator, and more.
This time we tried sledding! Sledding is very interesting and highly recommended not only for those with kids but also for those who are a beginner in winter sports as well as those who want to challenge different snow activities. There are 3 kinds of sleds you can choose from with the admission fee of 1,200 yen for both adults and kids (no limit of round trips).
Take the board and enjoy the sleds!
About Spring Valley Izumi Kogen Ski Resort
|Address||14-2 Takeyama, Fukuoka, Izumi-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture〒981-3225|
|Opening hour||10:00~20:00 on weekends and holidays from the end of December to the end of March (open in New Year)|
|Website||https://www.springvalley.co.jp/ (in Japanese)|
Sasa Dango and Soba Making Experience at Daigenta Kobo
Sasa Dango is a popular Niigata Prefecture’s signature confectionary. It appears in dark green glutinous rice cake that is filled with sweet red bean paste, wrapped with bamboo leaves and has a fragrant mugwort aroma. We experience the Sasa Dango and soba at Daigenta Kobo, allowing visitors to experience various Niigata specialties. The sasa dango experience is available at a price of 4,400 yen/pot (4 people) and can make for approximately 20 pcs (the same price applies for less than 4 people).
Niigata is also known for its delicious soba! There in Daigenta Kobo, you can experience soba-making using the local buckwheat flour. The soba-making experience is available at a price of 4,400 yen/pot for 4 people (the same price applies for less than 4 people).
About Daigenta Kobo
|Address||6399-1 Tsuchidaru, Yuzawa-cho, , Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata Prefecture 〒 949-6103|
|Opening hour||09:00 – 16:00
(Close on Wednesday)
Copperware Craft at Tsubame City Industrial Material Museum, Niigata Prefecture
Tsubame City Industrial Material Museum exhibits works from craftsmen in the Edo era and Western-style metal tableware with an admission fee of 400 yen per adult.
Visitors also can experience metalworking such as making a spoon (400 yen), titanium coloring (700 yen), or experience cup tsuchime hammering 2,200 yen) and bringing it home!
*Tsuchime means “hammered”
This time we had a chance to do the cup tsuchime hammering! We used a hammer to add the tsuchime pattern to the surface of a copper cup.
About Tsubame City Industrial Material Museum
|Address||4330-1 Omagari,Tsubame-shi, Niigata Prefecture 〒 959-1263|
|Opening hour||09:00 – 16:30
(Close on Monday and New Year)
Aizu Lacquerware Craft, Fukushima Prefecture
Aizu Lacquerware is an origin of the Aizu region in Fukushima Prefecture. Suzuzen in Fukushima Prefecture allows visitors not only to see the process of making the lacquerware in the gallery but also has a workshop where visitors can design their own lacquered products, such as bowls or trays, and bring it home!
The workshop is available starts from 2 people (1,900 yen/person) with the time required about 1 hour.
|Address||1-3-28 Chuo, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima Prefecture 〒965-0037|
|Opening hour||09:00 – 17:30|
Washi (Japanese Paper Craft) at Adachigahara Furusato Village, Fukushima Prefecture
Adachigahara Furusato Village is an open-air theme park with reconstructed samurai and farmhouses, a washi house to experience washi craft, an indoor playground “Genki Kids Park Nihonmatsu”, and a gift shop.
At the Adachigahara Furusato Village, you can make a Japanese paper craft with your original patterns and colors, also make various washi products for souvenirs.
About Adachigahara Furusato Village
|Address||4-100 Adachigahara, Nihommatsu, Fukushima Prefecture〒964-0938|
|Opening hour||09:00 – 17:00|
Kokeshi Painting at Zao Kokeshi Museum, Miyagi Prefecture
Kokeshi is a traditional Japanese wooden doll that appears without arms and legs. Zao Kokeshi Museum that is established in 1984, is a home for more than 5,500 collections of kokeshi (which is the largest in Japan!) that exhibit traditional kokeshi, the process of making the dolls, and kokeshi painting workshop!
Each region in Japan has its unique characteristics of kokeshi in shapes or facial features. You can see kokeshi from the entire Tohoku region displayed in the Zao Kokeshi Museum. Additionally, you may be able to see the kokeshi artisan at work!
The admission fee to the museum is 300 yen/adults with 850 yen/person to join the painting experience. Please check the website for further information about the admission fee price and painting reservation.
About Zao Kokeshi Museum
|Address||36-135 Togattaonsen Shinchinishiurayama, Zao-gun, Katta-gun, Miyagi Prefecture 〒989-0916|
|Opening hour||09:00 – 17:00
(Close on New Year holiday)
Muslim Friendly Restaurants in Tohoku
Tohoku is working hard to provide diversified foods, from halal/Muslim-friendly to vegan meals to welcome people from domestic and international visitors to enjoy Tohoku at ease.
Dashirou -NIBO- Ramen (Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture)
Dashirou -NIBO- Ramen is a famous ramen shop in Sendai city that offers ramen with delicious dashi. They offer halal ramen in three flavors; soy sauce, salt, miso, halal chicken bowl, and halal chicken spring roll. If you come from a Southeast Asian country, you will notice that they offer sambal (chili paste) too!
About Dashirou -NIBO- Ramen
|Address||TK Building 1F, 2-2-11 Ichibancho、Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture 〒980-0811|
|Opening hour||11:00 – 21:00|
Route 227’s Cafe (Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture)
About Route 227’s Cafe
|Address||3-1-1 Kokubuncho, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture 〒 980-0803|
|Opening hour||11:00 – 23:00|
Yuzusawanochaya (Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture)
Yuzusawanochaya is a homey Japanese restaurant that brings customers to Japan in the old days with the atmosphere of wooden floor, irori (traditional Japanese sunken hearth that is used as a home heater and for cooking foods), and more! The set meals come from 770 yen to 1,650 yen, while course meals are available for 1,980 yen to 2,750 yen.
|Address||2-8 Yokozuka-Aza, Arai, Fukushima-shi, Fukushima Prefecture 〒960-2156|
|Opening hour||11:00 – 21:00 (Close on Wednesday)|
Symphony Restaurant at The Westin Sendai (Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture)
The Westin Sendai is a popular hotel that represents Tohoku, where the Symphony Restaurant on the 26th floor of the hotel offers splendid vegan meals using abundant local foods!
The restaurant was holding an event recently that presented “SENDAI TRADITIONAL Vegan Lunch with Traditional Sendai’s Vegetables”.
About Symphony Restaurant
|Address||1-9-1 Ichibancho, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture 〒980-0811|
Serenity Restaurant and Cafe, Hotel Metropolitan Sendai (Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture)
Serenity Restaurant is a halal-certified restaurant that offers halal lunch and dinner in two kinds of halal course meal; 3,600 yen course and 6,000 yen course which comes in 5 delicious dishes. Besides lunch and dinner, you can enjoy halal breakfast for only 2,400 yen, which comes in 4 dishes and 1 drink.
You will need to place a reservation at least two days in advance for both lunch-dinner and breakfast meals.
About Serenity Restaurant and Cafe
|Address||1-1-1, Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture (Hotel Metropolitan Sendai 2F) 〒980-8477|
|Opening hour||6:30 – 21:30|