Part 1 - Aomori
Published on July 31, 2007 By avonhill In Vacations
2 weeks ago I went on vacation to Aomori and Hakodate. Aomori is the prefecture and city on the northern tip of Honshu (Japan's main island) and Hakodate is the city on the southern tip of Hokkaido (japans most northern island). For this first installment, I will discuss Aomori. (http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/aomori/index.html)

Upon arriving in Aomori via Bullet Train, I noticed it was quite different from the rest of Japan. It actually reminded me on Northam (in West Australia) except about 10 times the size and 50 times the population! A lot of large warhouses, garages and so forth that the rest of Japan doesn't really have. A lot of the train stations there have a sort of run down look as well. They would make a good scene for a post Zombie apocalypse movie! Very different to the rest of Japan. Also, most signs there do not have English as well as Japanese, unlike the rest of Japan. English is not widely spoken. If you want to go, you had better go with someone who can speak some Japanese if you don't know any. The nature in that area is really nice though, and there is lots to do in Aomori prefecture, so it is definately worth going. I wasted a lot of time though (around one full day) looking for an ATM that would actually accept my Japanese bank card!! I must have tried about every machine in Aomori, and NONE would take it! I had to go to a nearby city, Hirosaki, which had ONE machine that would accept it! Very frustrating!

Anwyay on the second day, I went to a river nearby Aomori city called Oirase river. It is a major riverside walk, and after going there I can see why. It is beautiful! Very green and forested (unusual for Japan) and the nature is very different to Australia, in that it has lots of trees but not as many shrubs, and also lots more very steep mountains. It was raining a bit, so the path got muddy (it was also a very narrow path), but that did not detract from the experience. There are a total of 14 waterfalls along the way, although only 3 or 4 are really worth seeing. See the pictures at the bottom of the article to get an idea of Oirase river.

I also went to the city of Hirosaki, near Aomori city (see the link at the top of the article). That was mostly to see a castle, Hirosaki castle. The castle itself was average, but the park is very good, and one of th emost famous places in Japan for cherry blossoms. I am planning on writing an article in the future about castle visits, so I will post photos there. Stay tuned for part 2, Hakodate/Southern Hokkaido! Meanwhile, enjoy the photos of the beautiful Oriase stream

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