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Tohoku or Hokkaido for 4 nights spring 2020 2019/10/30 21:37
Short version:
Tohoku or Hokkaido or both for 4 nights in spring 2020? I won't be able to drive so I will be traveling by JR Pass. I'm more interested in nature and small cities rather than temples and castles. I will not doing any rigorous hiking or climbing. Just taking strolls around nature, parks, and cities.

Detailed version:
I'm going to be traveling to Japan for my 4th time in April-May 2020. I'd like to know what you'd recommend for 4 nights in either Tohoku or Hokkaido or if it's possible split 2 nights in both regions (doesn't seem realistic though). I'm going to be traveling with the JR Pass only. I won't be able to drive.

I'm more interested in nature, parks, gardens, and walking around smaller cities. I won't be hiking, climbing or anything like that, just strolling through parks and gardens. I'm not as interested in temples and castles. I'll go visit a temple if it's a MUST SEE but I've been all over Japan already and seen several temples in Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura, etc. I'd rather walk around cities and small towns with nature nearby.

From my own research Hokkaido may seem like the easier region to travel by public transportation/JR Pass because buses and trains in Tohoku don't run as frequent?
by okmarzo  

Re: Tohoku or Hokkaido for 4 nights spring 2020 2019/10/31 12:43

4 days ? I would just spend in Tohoku area.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku or Hokkaido for 4 nights spring 2020 2019/10/31 20:08
Both Tohoku and Hokkaido are huge and I've traveled around both extensively. In general, I've found that Tohoku is more nature/culture while Hokkaido is just nature. It's pretty light in the way of culture apart from the Ainu which can be rather interesting. It's also easier to get around Tohoku due to a more extensive Shinkansen and major train route compared to Hokkaido.

Some places to visit in Tohoku include:
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3272
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3271
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3270
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3269
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3268
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-2214
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-2217
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-2218
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1290
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1296
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1299
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1300
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1307
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1310
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1313
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1318
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1102
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1030
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1028
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1021
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1019
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1003
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1004
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1005
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-896
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-897

Some places to visit in Hokkaido include:

https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3048
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3049
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3050
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3051
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3053
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3057
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3058
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3063
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3064
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3065
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-3066
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1104
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1105
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1106
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1107
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-1118

I've included all the links so I can cut and paste next time.....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku or Hokkaido for 4 nights spring 2020 2019/10/31 23:32
If you like sakura, Golden Week is a great time to visit Tohoku because Hirosaki and Kakunodate tend to be either at, close to, or just pas peak then. I'd personally love to go to Kitakami at some point. There is an amazing skunk cabbage patch near Tazawako that was in bloom around then. I've also been to Haguro-san around then and seen the last vestiges of snow there while Gassan still had a lot and you can Spring ski there. Zao onsen's big rotemboro is open (and superb) or you could try a different onsen. There are just so many places and things to do in Tohoku. I think Hokkaido is harder because distances tend to be longer and some places have spottier train service.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku or Hokkaido for 4 nights spring 2020 2019/10/31 23:53
I would also give support to Tohoku over Hokkaido. Frankly to me Tohoku seems to be better reachable by public transport than Hokkaido. But it might be that I know Tohoku just a little bit better.

Medfely already provided you a good list of possible places to visit. If I had 4 days in Tohoku I would go to:

- Tono (no special temples there, but really nice landscape, plus there is an open air museum). I would suggest to travel through the region by bicycle (I think you can rent in town) to experience the countryside.

https://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-10-tono-to-hiraizu...

- Tazawako (again no really special temples/shrines there, but nice nature. I would stay in Nyuto Onsen) and soak in the onsen. If you are in to that. Then you have a big lake in the valley. Tazawako is perfectly reachable from Tokyo by shinkansen.

https://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-17-once-around-taz...

- Kakunodate (no special temples there either, but a old town which is very different from what you could see in Kyoto. Maybe a little bit like Takayama, but MUCH (imho) better.

https://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-18-nyuto-onsen-dow...

- What about a castle? Hirosaki
- an old onsen town: Ginzan onsen.

And this excludes Yamadera, which is famous for it's temple on a hill. Which I think is a really nice place, as it combines nature and temples. And they are quite different from temples in Kyoto.

https://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-20-yamadera-sights...

It also excludes Hiraizumi, which maybe is a bit more similar to Kyoto... although I would not agree.

https://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-11-hiraizumi-sight...

Enjoy planning your trip.


by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku or Hokkaido for 4 nights spring 2020 2019/11/1 16:51
LikeBike, thank you for your post. This helps me out so much. Ifm going to stick with the Tohoku region. Do you have any more suggestions right around Aomori thatfs not focused on castles but places I can roam around curiously by foot surrounded by nature and city?
by okmarzo rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku or Hokkaido for 4 nights spring 2020 2019/11/1 17:40
A nice small loop could be : Kakunodate - Hirosaki - Towadako.

Kakunodate is one of the best Samurai residence towns in the country.

Hirosaki is a great castle town which is really high quality and worth a visit

Lake Towadako has some of the best fall colors in the country and it's not too hilly

Personally - I don't find that Aomori City has that much to do.......
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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