Welcome to Northern Honshū

Three national parks, alternating between thick mountain forests, stark volcanoes and coastal marshes, offer year-round outdoor pursuits, while the spectacular caldera lakes of Tazawa-ko and Towada-ko welcome summertime pleasure-seekers. Stylish Sendai is the pick of the prefectural capitals for those seeking an uncomplicated urban fix.

Feudal-era remnants are present in numerous places – Hiraizumi and Kakunodate being the most historically notable – and traditional cultures are alive and well.

This region suffered greatly in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and some coastal areas along the glorious Sanriku Kaigan, in particular, will welcome your visit as they continue to rebuild.

Top experiences in Northern Honshū

Recent articles

Northern Honshū activities

$436.33 Cultural & Theme Tours

2-Day Matsushima Historical Tour with Homestay and Fishing

Day 1 [D]:10:00am - Meet your guide at Hon-Shiogama Station in Shiogama-city.10:10am - Visit a local green tea shop to learn about local green tea culture and experience green tea tasting.11am - Go to a famous sake brewery. Learn about the sake manufacturing process and enjoy sake tasting. (If you are traveling on Sunday, the sake brewery is closed and you will be taken on a short sightseeing boat ride in Matsushima Bay instead.)12:30pm - Lunch1:30pm - Tea ceremony and walking tour in Matsushima Tea ceremony will be held at this property, which is not open to the public. Enjoy VIP access to a private tea room with beautiful traditional Japanese wall paintings. Later, a walking tourtakes you to some of the most popular attractions in Matsushima, including the Zuiganji Temple (National Treasure and Important Cultural Property), Godaido Temple (Important Cultural Property), Entsuin Temple and, if time allows, the Pine Tree of Saigyo Modish.4:30pm - Transfer to the accommodation.5:30pm - Check in to the accommodation and relax. In the evening, enjoy a local style dinner with your host family. Learn the fascinating history as well as local lifestyle of Matsushima.Day 2 [B, L]:8am - Enjoy breakfast9am - Local fishery experience with English translation support. Be a local Japanese fisherman for three hours and learn some secret tips from your guide.12:30pm - Seafood BBQ lunch. Learn more about local fisherman's daily lives while enjoying the freshest seafood BBQ. After lunch, you will be transferred back to Nobiru Station for your onward journey.

$140.77 Holiday & Seasonal Tours

Private Cherry Blossom Tour in Hirosaki with a Local Guide

After leaving the designated departure location, the tour will start by heading to the southern part of Hirosaki Park. Hirosaki was once famous for having the castle of the Tsugaru clan, but during the Meiji era, it became also known for its western-style buildings.Aside from the natural sites, you will also tour sites where, historically, foreign teachers had come and learn about their teachings. It is here that Christianity was originally promoted in Japan. Western culture can be further seen in the European building styles on display. This unique style was born from the cultural enlightenment that Japan experienced during this time.After exploring the mansions and other structures, you will enjoy the main event of the tour, the cherry blossoms in Hirosaki Park. The blossoms are scattered across various places in Hirosaki Park and visited by two million people each cherry blossom season. Your guide will take you through the trees, stopping at the breathtaking vantage points.After the cherry blossom viewing, you will visit the merchant and samurai houses from the Edo period that remain in the northern part of the Hirosaki park. The attractions in this area are said to have been built 250 years or more ago by a wealthy merchant. You can still go in this building, known as "Ishiba's Residence," and see a merchant's home and shop from a long, long time ago. The store has the appearance of a high-class establishment, but with a dirt floor and feelings of history of the time that has gone by.Towards the end of the tour, you will visit the Tsugaruhan Neputa village. Here, at the Hirosaki Neputa exhibition, you’ll see demonstrations and get to experience the Tsugaru people’s crafts, live music and more, such as the Tsugaru shamisen. An all-around enjoyable experience of traditional culture of the Tsugaru people.Finally, you’ll have a light snack and discuss all the things you’ve experienced during your charming day in Hirosaki.

$140.77 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Spirit of Japanese Sake in Shiogama

■ Schedule 10:00 Meet at Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line) 10:10 Start of tour 10:30 Walking tour of town area around Shiogama Shrine. Visit/pray at shrine. 11:20 Sake appreciation lecture (40 minutes / 12:00)           1)The history and culture of Japanese sake (connections with shrine etc.)           2)How to best enjoy drinking sake 12:10 Sake tasting and shopping at Urakasumi Sake Brewery Saura Co. Ltd 12:50 Sake and sushi pairing 13:40 End of tour ■ What’s Included Sake tasting fee Sake appreciation lecture participation fee Walking tour fee Lunch (sushi & one drink) Insurance Fee Local Guide & English Interpreter ■ Not included Any additional meals and drinks

$187.69 Spa Tours

Beauty Tour in Sendai

Japan has always been considered as one of the hottest hubs when it comes to beauty services and products. As pioneers of esthetics, you can possibly spot a beauty salon in almost every corner of Japan. Experience Japan's high quality facial treatment, Japanese style nail manicures and choose your favorite traditional clothing (Kimono) .・Professional beauticians coordinate your nails, hair, and makeup for a complete make-over! ・Lift-up facial treatment from the bottom. Japanese style nail tips is gifted for you to take home. ・Options for men, couples session are available.・Choose your favorite design Kimonos and enjoy your stroll in town.Tour Details:60 min Facial Esthetics, & Japanese Nail session            For men: Facial Esthetics & Nail Care15 min Kimono Fitting             Autumn to Spring Kimono style            Summer, Yukata (Summer Kimono style)            Optionally, you can walk and tour around the city with Kimono

$56.31 Cultural & Theme Tours

Experience mini version of trainee monk's life deep in the countryside

Discover the 14th temple of the “33 Kannon temples of Oshu” (literal translation would be “33 temples enshrining Guanyin statues in North –east of Japan) and greet with the priest of 29th generation of the temple.He will guide you into a mini-experience of Buddhist training of 5 hours, but this experience version is not really ascetic or strict. It’s good to know that Guanyin is known as the Goddess of Mercy. Your training session starts with the visit to the Kannon statue residing in a main hall decorated with golden ornaments, and proceeds with Zazen of 15 minutes (or longer if you wish). In Soto Branch to which Daijiji Temple belongs, monk trainees are told to think of nothing and keep their head empty and blank. Shinko, the monk, says “it’s impossible to make your head completely blank. Just try not to pursue the idea that occurred in your head or heart, but let it pass” And then you will prepare your own Lenten lunch (vegetarian food), which is considered as an important part of the training. After lunch you will have the last part of training; “hand-copying of Sutras”. It might sound very difficult for those who have never hold a brush and write Kanji. But it is not.“Copying” is in fact tracing the letters printed in dilute ink.The guide will assist you and teach you how to write in proper fashion. Then, you will be guided to a visit of Temple’s buildings and grounds so that you can breathe country side peaceful air.Your Buddhist day comes to the end and you will receive Goshuin paper written by the priest himself. 

$222.44 Cultural & Theme Tours

Private Kitakata Cultural Tour

At about 11:20am, meet your guide at the Kitakata Station and begin your tour to various religious sites in Kitakata, including Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Visit saka gura, founded during the Edo period. Here you will learn how sake is brewed, and are welcome to taste the different sake they brew (own expense).Have free time for lunch and enjoy ramen noodles, or local gourmet food cooked locally at a restaurant with a traditional atmosphere (own expense). Then, visit a Shinto shrine with a sacred gingko tree of over 600-years-old. This is one of Japan's sacred sites of Kumano Sanzan, Kumano's three major shrines. The shrine used to be worshiped by local samurai as a guardian god. It was also a place for Shugendo, for practitioners of austerity. The repository of the shrine is open for public.Next, stop by a historic Buddhist temple located on a cliffside. Explore one of the largest Buddharupa in Japan, measuring about 26 feet (8 meters) in length. It is carved out of a piece of wood. At there is a sacred pillar called Dakitsuki bashira. Hug the pillar and make a wish.Take a break and relax at a wagashi sweet shop. At the end of your tour, you will return to Kitakata Station at about 5:30pm.