At the end of July I discovered that one of my favourite YouTubers Chris Broad of ‘Abroad In Japan‘ fame was doing a weekly podcast of the same name with Absolute Radio DJ Pete Donaldson. After one episode I was instantly hooked and worked my way through the complete back catalogue of podcasts which is perhaps surprising as someone like me is probably not the target audience for such a podcast.
One episode that really caught my interest was about an itinerary for travelling around the northern region of Japan which is where Broad is based. Most tourists tend to stick to the common Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Hiroshima route whilst only 1% of them venture to the area known as Tohoku.
This really opened up my eyes to a part of Japan I had always been pretty ignorant about. My original plan was to just go up to Koriyama to see the places which featured in ‘A Trio of Top Sights in The Aizu-Wakamatsu Region‘ but after hearing about all these places in Tohoku I decided to continue further north and experience a few more sights highlighted by Broad. They included some places in Hiraizumi, Morioka and Hirosaki which have been covered in previous posts.
It was nearly 9pm when I finally arrived at Aomori Station and I raced off straight away to an overly popular local restaurant called Aji no Sapporo Onishi which is famed for its miso milk curry ramen (830 yen). It closes at 9:30 pm so there wasn’t that much time to spare when I got there. As expected, it was full but I didn’t have to wait too long to be allocated a seat.
This particular ramen was absolutely fantastic and if I’d known that I could have got a bigger huge-sized bowl I probably would have. Sadly, I didn’t know about that until a guy came in just after me and ordered it. It had been nearly nine hours since I’d had the apple curry in Hirosaki so I was absolutely famished and devoured the ramen in no time at all. The soup was a perfect blend of miso and creamy milk and topped off with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and wakame (seaweed).
That wasn’t the end of my night as I went to see the pyramid shaped ASPAM building (1-1-40 Yasukata, Aomori) which I heard was good to see at night. Lies! It wasn’t lit up at all. I returned in the morning though en-route to the station. It was built in 1986 and is actually supposed to look more like an “A” to represent the A in Aomori Prefecture rather than being anything to do with Egypt!
A little further west from there is the Hakkodamaru Memorial Ship which serves as a reminder of a bygone era when the only way to cross to Hokkaido was by sea. It completed its final voyage in 1988 when the Seikan Tunnel opened, and is now moored permanently in Aomori Port where visitors can explore it. The building in front of it slightly reminded me of the Pringles mascot (called Julius Pringles. Thanks Wikipedia!) with its almost-comical appearance.
I’m not really a fan of Japanese festivals as they’re just too crowded for my liking. Of course there are always exceptions and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the Aomori Nebuta Festival which is very similar to the Hirosaki Neputa Festival (Yes, the spelling is slightly different though I don’t know why!) that I mentioned in a recent post. Like that one, this one also finished a few days before my arrival but there were still traces of the event around town, and there is a permanent museum (Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse) just across the road from the train station which presumably offers the best kind of experience for those who haven’t been to the festival.
Click here to read ‘On The Fox Trail……At Takayama Inari-Jinja Shrine (Aomori)’