Top things to do in Northern Honshū

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Yamadera

Risshaku-ji

The 'Temple of Standing Stones', more commonly known as Yamadera, rests atop a rock-hewn staircase weathered over the centuries by unrelenting elements. At the foot of the mountain, guarded by a small lantern, is th…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Shimokita Peninsula

Osorezan-bodaiji

This holy shrine at Osore-zan's summit is a moving, mesmerisingly atmospheric and beautiful place honouring Jizō Bosatsu, protector of children and a much-loved deity in Japanese mythology. It's also said to be loca…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Haguro-san

The 2446 stone steps through ancient cedars to Haguro-san's summit (419m) have been smoothed by centuries of pilgrims. The climb, taking up to two hours, passes Gojū-no-tō (五重塔), a beautiful wooden five-storey pagod…
Top Choice Museum in Aomori

Aomori Museum of Art

Looking like a modernist sculpture, the geometric white facade of the Aomori Museum of Art was designed to blend in with the landscape when blanketed with snow. The permanent collection features works by Aomori icon…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Gas-san

Accessible from July to September, Gas-san (1984m) is the highest of Dewa Sanzan's sacred mountains. From Hachigōme (八合目; eighth station) the route passes through an alpine plateau to Kyūgōme (九合目; ninth station) in…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Yudono-san

Accessible from May to October, Yudono-san (1504m) is the spiritual culmination of the Dewa Sanzan trek. Coming from Gas-san it's a short walk from the stream bed at the end of the descent to Yudono-san-jinja.
Top Choice Bar in Sendai

Peter Pan

A music-loving father-and-son team runs this lounge-room-vibe 'rock' bar. Dad provides the soundtrack with his extensive, alternative-rock vinyl collection, while his son busies himself with the clientele. Coffee, b…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Hiraizumi

Chūson-ji

Established in AD 850 by the priest Ennin, the Chūson-ji complex was expanded by the Ōshu Fujiwara family in the 12th century. A total of three hundred buildings with 40 temples were constructed. Ironically, the fam…
Top Choice Food Hall in Hirosaki

Kadare Yokochō

In the evening university students flock to this nondescript office building housing eight tiny restaurants, most doubling as bars. It's a lively local hang-out. Hinata-bokko (日向ぼっこ), with the orange noren curtains,…
Top Choice Museum in Minami-Sanriku & Kesennuma

RIAS Ark Museum of Art

High in the hills above Kesennuma, this local art museum houses the largest collection of photographs and artefacts in existence relating to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. A comprehensive booklet …