Tohoku is just north of Tokyo and is easily accessible by train. It is rich in breathtaking nature, intriguing history, and unique cuisine with abundant seasonal ingredients. In summer, Tohoku becomes lush and verdant. Many of Tohoku’s most famous monuments incorporate its naturally mountainous terrain and diverse natural life, creating a naturally tranquil atmosphere with picturesque scenery referenced in historical poems and stories. With its many undeveloped regions, Tohoku's unspoiled forests are home to several rare plants and animals only to be found in Japan. Trek through Tohoku this summer.
Dewa Sanzan, Yamagata
Dewa Sanzan is the trinity of holy mountains located in Yamagata. You can hike these holy mountains as the Yamabushi (a group of devoted mountain mystics) - continue to do to this day. For the full experience, try dressing yourself as the Yamabushi do in white funeral shrouds and create your own personal pilgrimage up these mountains. The trek up the most infamous of the three, Mount Haguro, is arduous, with its 2446 stone steps beckoning, the hike must be done in silence, but it ends in a well-earned and spirit-stirring resurrection ceremony. At night, you can stay in the local pilgrim lodge and spend time learning from the Yamabushi masters, ready to keep up with one very Zen premise: "accept everything."
Yamagata Travel Tips: Beginning in Tohoku, with Spirit
The legendary haiku master Bashō wrote one great travelogue in his career. It was called The Narrow Road to the Deep North, documenting the story of his 1689 travels to Tohoku, the region that stretches to the northern tip of Japan's main island Honshu. Come to Tohoku to experience the land that Bashō once crossed on foot. The fundamental building blocks of the place remain the same as in the poet's day: wild coasts, verdant mountains, ancient temples and fresh seafood. There is no better place to start than in Yamagata, the Tohoku region most closely associated with Bashō.
Oirase Stream, Aomori
During the summer, Oirase Stream in Aomori is surrounded by lush trees and greenery ideal for a nature hike. Recognized as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government, it is truly a natural monument. The hike down Oirase Stream is not just breathtaking, but fairly easy for the average traveler. The landscape is about eight and a half miles long, with a variety of waterfalls each with a unique appearance. Spend time taking in a few of the more remarkable waterfalls during your trek. Be sure to allow extra time to take in the visual delights offered when gazing upon several waterfalls.
Oze National Park, Fukushima
Oze National Park in Fukushima is a vast national park known best as a hiking destination for nature walks. Featuring the Ozegahara Marshland and Ozenuma Pond, Oze Park features blooming skunk cabbage during late spring and early summer. Between late May and early June, white skunk cabbage come into full bloom across Ozegahara. During late July and early August, the marshland becomes very beautiful as the yellow alpine lilies bloom. Though Oze National Park may be visited from Tokyo as a day trip, it may also be visited overnight to thoroughly enjoy the splendor of its nature. The park has numerous trails, which can be used to access the park. There are some mountain huts for travelers to stay overnight, or hotels can be found in Tokura, which has busses that go to and from the park.
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