Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/30 22:38
Good afternoon dear japanese travellers!
I am Matteo and I live in Italy. I am planning to go to the North of Japan, Tohoku region.

I already visited Japan. I will spend some days in Tokyo (because it is really fun) and later, I will have 10 days to spend in Tohoku.

Based on the major cities (as hub and base for the local tours), I would like to go to:

Yamagata: Yamadera and Zao Onsen will be included.

Sendai: Matsushima cruise is included.

Akita: Kakunodate and maybe Oga Pensinsula will be included.

Aomori: Hirosaki and Owani Onsens should be included.

I am asking because I am seriously in doubt. I can spend an average of 2 nights per city.
Can be enough?
Do you think that I can spend, for example, 2 nights in Akita and 3 in Sendai or viceversa?

Any tips about this itinerary? I am studying but believe me the region seems so interesting and full of things to see but, at the same time, is very difficult to understand which city has to be prioritized and what are the really important things to do or to visit.

Any help from you will be fantastic! Can't wait to come back to Japan!

Thanks guys and enojy Japan, if someone is just going now!

Matteo
by Matteo78roma  

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/31 11:19
Hi!

May I please ask what Season/Month you plan to do this trip?
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/31 11:54
I did a similar trip last year (although not quite as far-flung), and I spent most of my time in Sendai. But I just went to relax, not to do specific sightseeing, so I enjoyed spending time in the region's biggest city. Yamagata City is quite a small town and I ran out of things to do after one day. (It's also a very easy day trip from Sendai, especially if you have a rail pass.)

Fukushima City is even smaller and less interesting, unless you really like sake (even then, Yamagata is better). Maybe try to check out a sake brewery or two while you're there, since that's one of the major attractions of that region.
by Umami Dearest rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/31 14:46
I would try to not stay only in the bigger cities but to stay at least for half of yourtrip in smaller ones, just to explore an other type of Japan.

From your list also Hiraizumi seems to be missing. And I personally enjoyed Toni valley a lot as well as staying ( and relaxing) in onsen. I havenft been, but I hear that Ginzan onsen is specially nice. I went to Nyuto onsen and enjoyed that one with a day trip to the lake below and Kakunodate.

The time of f the year you go is important though.

And do you plan to use public transport or car?

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/31 19:20
Guys, thanks for the help and answers.

I will go from mid from 19 July to 04 August.

First 3-4 days I will stay in Tokyo because I like a lot!

The rest is not defined yet. I mean, I left you the major cities to give you an idea about region and plans but, of course, I would like to join also in some Onsen place (like Zao Onsen and someone else) and I am ready to follow your tips.

I will have only train (JP rail pass).

I am open to any suggestion, just to avoid to spend 2 nights in Yamagata (and you said that one night is really enough) and, for example stay one night in Aomori and maybe I need to stay more.
Maybe I will find also a festival in Aomori....2 of August!

Thanks for the help guys!!!!
by Matteo78roma rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/31 21:41
For Yamagata City, most of the attractions are listed on Wikivoyage if you want to judge for yourself:

https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Yamagata

It's a shame you will miss the Hanagasa Festival which is August 5-7. Yamagata City is nice, but whether you want to spend 1 or 2 days there depends on how much/what you want to do. You could theoritically visit Yamadera and Zao Onsen in 1 day and then move on, but if you take your time at Zao Onsen or you you plan to do other things in Yamagata or visit Tendo, Kaminoyama Onsen, Yonezawa, etc., it would be worth spending 2 nights in Yamagata City. Sakata is also nice and you could possibly visit on your way to Oga.

Yamagata Prefecture is one of my personal favorites in Japan. Two days is limited, but even just visiting Yamadera and Zao Onsen should definitely be memorable!
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/31 22:20
I don't know Sakata is sort of... out in the boonies and when I was trying to get to Yamagata from Tsuroka in '09 the fastest way between the two was paying out of pocket for the bus. However, if you like to hike and can either rent a car or do it on a week end, the Dewa Sanzan are fantastic. I've only visited Haguro-san because the others weren't open but I dream of going back and doing all 3. I liked Yonezawa. I loved Zao. The rotemboro there was fabulous.

I personally don't find Kakunodate that interesting out of sakura season which is why I asked. I agree with @LikeBlue and would check out Hiraizumi. Hiraizumi is another on my must go back to list.

I liked Towadako/Oirase and I have been regretting not going to the Towada art museum. I loved Osorezan but it is a pain to get to without a car. If I was coming from Aomori I would honestly look for a tour even if it was all in Japanese for convenience sakes.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/1/31 23:58
While there are limited train options for someone wanting to reach Sakata from Yamagata in the morning hours (so that there is time to enjoy it), enough are available to make it doable without paying extra for a bus. It's also possible to visit from Akita/Oga. I doubt the asker will choose that route, but it's worth mentioning. With maiko, Buddhist mummies, a historic district and famous garden, Sakata has a lot of interesting draws for such a small city. The bike rentals make visiting the sites convenient as well.

Certainly the Dewa Sanzan (and Tsuruoka City) are excellent, but it's definitely not possible by train from Yamagata in 1 day.
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 01:18
I recommend you to do a day trip to Geibikei early in the morning to take a boat tour and see the Geibikei Gorge. After that take a train and go to Hiraizumi to visit Chuzonji and Motsuji and walk around the town. It's doable if you start early from Sendai for example.
by Peter1986 rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 01:31
I loved the free (in '09) bike rental in Sakata and while super slow going, I thought the train from Akita to Sakata was quite scenic, especially when Chokai-san was visible. I just found there were extremely limited trains and if you missed the Limited Expresses the locals were quite slow going and still not overly frequent. The garden was pleasant, at the time I did a bunch of the now defunct Okuribito sights in town. I admit, I was more impressed with Zao, Yonezawa and the Haguro-san. The water I bought at the rest stop up Haguro-san was the most delicious water I've ever had. I definitely think Sakata has more to offer than Kakunodate outside of sakura season, but I expect that is not a popular opinion.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 01:37
Guys first of all thanks for the many posts.
Japan is a really best way to get friends quickly!!
I am starting to collect all your advises and put on a map.
Please any other advice is really appreciated!
I will keep you posted!
Seems a great trip but at the same time very difficult for finding the best!
Hope this discussion will help someone else!
The only thing is Akita. None mentioned this area. Is really useless to visit?
Thank you!!!!!
by Matteo78roma rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 06:29
you can also check this thread for inspiration:
https://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quereadisplay.html?0+158274
especially the google map that is linked.

(meantime it has been optimized by more than 50 different people with feedback from all kind of forums and platforms. so it should be pretty good by now, but it takes more time than you have (3 weeks). anyhow it might help to pick things out as additional attractions
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 07:34
The only thing is Akita. None mentioned this area. Is really useless to visit?
Actually Kakunodate and Nyuto onsen are both in Akita prefecture and I recommended those, although an other person thought that Kakunodate outside of cherry blossom period is not so worthwhile. I guess that's personal preferences.

https://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/part-4-day-15-day-21-a...

I am also a big fan of KiritanpoFhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiritanpo so Akita was a must.

And I missed out on the coast on the North West side because of lack of time. I do definitely think that there are also a lot of things to see. It's more about nature up there. Hachimantai, Lake Towada... all destinations I missed...

But yes, you need to draw a line somewhere. If you can come back to Japan, it might actually be better to focus just on 1 or 2 parts of Tohoku sightsee there throughly and then come back in a few years and explore further.

by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 08:19
I am also a big fan of KiritanpoFhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiritanpo so Akita was a must.

Do you think Kiritanpo can be eaten or is a suitable dish for summer? I will come to Akita during Kanto matsuri but I don't think it will be suitable food for the hot and humid Japanese summer.
by Peter1986 rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 08:31
Do you think Kiritanpo can be eaten or is a suitable dish for summer?
well, summer isn't the best time of the year for kiritanpo. I guess you can still find it though. Autumn would be much better. But I guess you are not going to reorganize your trip around the kiritanpo ;-)
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 12:44
I travelled Tokyo-Akita in mid March 2017. The landscape thru the snow county was just as Ifd read and seen in Japanese movies. Breathtakingly beautiful. The coast line journey (along Sea of Japan) was a mixed bag for me, tho many people rave about it.

I stopped at Kakunodate enroute for a couple of hours and then taking the train to Akita (for 2 nights). Effectively I had only one day in Akita to get over my jet lag . I then caught the first train out on the Resort Shirakami to another town.

I know Kakunodate is loved by many but I didnft find it interesting at all and couldnft wait to get out. Perhaps sakura time or summer is a better time for visiting. Many places were still closed (I knew that) but I expected the place to be more picturesque. I was happy to just walk thru the town
looking at the houses etc. but they were quite disappointing too.

I think you can visit Aomori in 1.5-2 full days and one night (arrive say morning, stay overnight, depart later in late afternoon). Itfs a very small town, not much to see and again, itfs a town that had seen better days before the arrival of the Shinkansen.

As someone has noted, refine your interests and places of interest and perhaps not do so much you miss out on the essence of the trip.
Ifm returning to Tohoku this March to visit other places but I know Ifd have to return yet again in a different season as I still want to visit places I canft travel to in winter.

Enjoy your trip
by AT (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Trip to Tohoku region, Yamagata, Sendai 2018/2/1 16:38
@ LikeBike and AT

Thanks for your suggestions. I think that in a sense you are right.....I can think to be focus on a part of Tohoku and then, return to visit another part.

I went to Japan already 3 times, I love this Country and then, definitely, I will return again and again.

This weekend I will work on an itinerary and I will keep you posted.

I think that my and our experience could be helpful to someone else going forward.

If you have any other tips....they are welcome!

Arigatou gozaimasu!!!!
by Matteo78roma rate this post as useful

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