Aomori

Aomori City as seen from Aomori Bay

Aomori (青森), the capital of Aomori prefecture, Japan, is located on Mutsu Bay, at the northern tip of Honshu.

Get in

By air

Aomori's airport is served by Japan Airlines (JAL), ANA, FDA (Fuji Dream Airlines), and Korean Air. JAL flights arrive from Tokyo Haneda Airport, Nagoya Centrair Airport, Osaka Itami Airport, Sapporo Chitose Airport, and Fukuoka Airport. ANA flights arrive from Osaka Itami Airport and Sapporo Chitose Airport. FDA flights arrive from Nagoya Komaki Airport. Korean Air flights arrive from Seoul Incheon Airport. Buses connect the airport to the Aomori train station for ¥700. The bus ride lasts 35 minutes.

By train

Shin-Aomori station

From Tokyo, Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa (はやぶさ) and Hayate (はやて) trains run to Shin-Aomori station (新青森) on the way towards Hakodate in Hokkaido. From Shin-Aomori, regular trains shuttle passengers over to the more centrally-located Aomori station (青森). Ticketed passengers are permitted to shuttle between these two stations in the non-reserved car of any train, even if a limited express train heading towards Aomori departs first. Expect the total journey to take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, depending on the transfer and wait times at Shin-Aomori.

The regular one-way fare from Tokyo to Aomori is ¥17,350 on the Hayabusa - slightly cheaper for the Hayate - and so for foreign tourists the better deal for the round-trip is to purchase a JR East Rail Pass - Tohoku Area (¥19,000 for advance purchase), which can be used on any 5 days within a 14-day period.

If your travel plans include other parts of the country, the better option will be the national Japan Rail Pass. If you plans only include travel around Tohoku and Hokkaido, consider the JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, which is slightly cheaper than the national pass (¥26,000 for advance purchase) and covers travel from Tokyo to Aomori, Hakodate and Sapporo. It can be used on any 6 days within a 14-day period.

Note that the Green Car version of the national Japan Rail Pass is valid for Green Cars on the Hayate and Hayabusa, but any version of the pass will cover just the basic fare for the premium first class seating on the Hayabusa called "GranClass". Travelers using "GranClass" will be pampered with an all-leather seat resembling business class on an airplane, a personal on-call train attendant, meals and complimentary alcoholic beverages. Rail pass holders willing to partake in such an experience will have to fork over the limited express and GranClass fare (¥16,960 from Tokyo). Without a Rail Pass, "GranClass" costs ¥27,110 between Tokyo and Aomori.

By bus

Aomori, at the northernmost point of Honshu, is the terminating point for several highway buses.

From Tokyo Station, JR Bus Tohoku's La Foret service runs once per night, reaching Aomori in 9 1/2 hours at a cost of ¥9,000 each way on Fridays, Saturdays and the day before holidays, and ¥8,500 on all other days. Konan Bus' Tsugaru runs over the same route; their bus costs ¥7,500 each way, or ¥9,000 during peak travel periods.

From Ueno Station in Tokyo, Konan Bus runs discounted bus services to Aomori: a daytime service called Sky (¥5,000) and two night services called Panda (¥4,500; ¥5,000 during peak travel periods). These buses take longer to Aomori - about 11 hours each way - due to an additional stop made in Hirosaki.

Willer Express operates several buses from Tokyo Station, Tokyo Disneyland and Shinjuku to Aomori with prices starting from about ¥5,000. Bookings can be made online in English.

Four bus operators jointly run Blue City daytime buses between Sendai and Aomori (5 hours, ¥5,700). There are more runs during the summer months than the rest of the year.

By boat

Seikan Ferry and Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry operate ferry services from Aomori to the port of Hakodate with multiple departures daily. One way fares are cheapest on the Seikan Ferry, starting at ¥1540 for a carpet space. The Tsugaru Kaikyo one way fares start from ¥2220 for second class (carpet space), ¥4110 for first class and ¥4940 for special class. First and special classes are only offered on specific departures and offer better amenities, such as a room with bed. Travel time on all services is approximately 3 hours, 45 minutes. Note that during the summer months and high peak travel seasons, fares can be up to 20% higher on these services.

Cars and motorcycles can also be carried on some of these ferries.

Get around

Taxis are always available from the train station.

Buses: Go to the bus terminal outside the train station and tell the attendant at the city bus counter where you'd like to go. He or she will tell you which number bus stop to wait at, what time the bus will come, and where to get off. On city buses, you'll pay when you get off the bus.

The Nebutan-go shuttle bus runs clockwise and counter-clockwise circles stopping at both Aomori and Shin-Aomori Stations, the Prefectural Art Museum, and other tourist sites about once an hour during the morning and afternoon. 200 yen per ride; a one-day pass is 500 yen.

Anything in the downtown Shinmachi area is easily accessible by foot.

See

Town Center

One of the large floats of the Nebuta Festival

South West

Replica of a Jomon building at the Sannai-Maruyama site

Asamushi Onsen

A hot springs resort town on Mutsu bay with a large number of inns. At many of the inns and hotels, you can pay a small fee to use the bath even if you're not staying overnight.

Do

Buy

Regional specialties include Tsugaru-nuri lacquerware, kogin-zashi embroidery, sakiori weaving, and products made from hiba cypress wood.

Eat

Aomori's list of food specialties is extensive, but the headliners include apples, scallops, and garlic.

Drink

Local specialties are cidre (シドル, sparkling apple wine) and Denshu (田酒), Aomori's famous sake. Denshu is served in some izakaya and sushi restaurants. The main entertainment district is Honchō (本町). To get there, walk straight down Shinmachi "Amenity Street" for about 15 minutes. Once you cross Yanagi-machi Dōri (a big street with a median strip), you're in Honchō. However, there's plenty to drink in the city center:

Sleep

Numerous hotels dot Shinmachi, the main street that stretches out from the train station. These hotels generally increase in price the closer you get to the train station.


Connect

The city tourist information center is located next to the bus station on the left as you exit the train station; they have good brochures and maps in English. You can pick up the free Northern Tohoku Welcome Card here, which gets you discounts on transport and attractions.

Go next

Routes through Aomori

END  N  S  Hachinohe Tokyo
END  N  S  Hirosaki Akita
END  N  S  Misawa Morioka
END  N  S  Owani-Hirosaki Tokyo


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 21, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.