The city of Aomori is located at the base of the Tsugaru-hanto Peninsula and is the political, economic, and cultural center of Aomori prefecture. This port town used to be the main departure point to Hokkaido via ferry. Although it remains the main port for car ferries, the opening of the Seikan Undersea Railway Tunnel and the popularity of cheap flights have reduced the number of people taking the ferry. This resulted in many travelers now skipping the city altogether. So if you want to just take in some local culture without the crowds, Aomori City is a good stop.
Today, the city’s bay area is full of modern facilities including popular spots. For example, the Asupamu prefectural tourism and souvenir hall, and the Hakkoda-maru, a memorial ship that commemorates the days of the Seikan Ferryboat. Also, the Aomori Bay Bridge is beautiful when lit up at night.
The city center is home to craft shops, department stores, and trendy clothing stores on the side streets. It is also home to an old-fashioned market with an array of stalls selling a variety of fish. And, of course, mountains of Aomori Prefecture’s most famous product: delicious large apples.
Aomori is best known for its spectacular Nebuta Matsuri summer festival. The festival attracts lots of people from other places as well as from inside Aomori. Although it is only held for a few days in early August, the gigantic bamboo framed lanterns of various forms are displayed in an exhibition year-round. Nebuta warrior dolls are on display at the Nebuta-no-sato Museum in the southern suburbs of the city. They enable you to enjoy the mood of the festival throughout the year.
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