Top 10: Event Guide to Must-See Events in Tohoku November 2017

There are numerous events in the Tohoku region during November. There’s a variety of events on show, starting with traditional festivals to sports events, art exhibitions, and other events where you can taste local foods and enjoy spectacular views. For this article, we’ve sifted through the slew of events and featured the top 10 must-see events. Make sure you consider these events for your next trip.

Nature Events

1. [Aomori] Autumn Leaves at Shirakami Mountains – Mid-October through Early November 2017

First, we’ll feature Shirakami Mountains and its magnificent views of autumn foliage. The nature-rich area, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for untouched beech forests. Come autumn, the trees exhibit vibrant fall colors and visitors can walk a beech and maple tree-lined promenade running along a pristine valley. Hike through the ancient forests and sense the beauty and mystique – you’ll be rewarded with a unique experience. It’s certainly worth checking out if you’re planning to visit the Tohoku region.

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Mid-October through early November 2017

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Access and Address

・Location

Shirakami Mountains

・Directions from Closest Station

80 minutes by car from JR Hirosaki Station

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

120 minutes by train and car from Aomori Station

・Address

Tashiro, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, Aomori

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free admission; reservations not required

Official Website

http://www.experience-shirakami.com/en/ 

2. [Aomori] Towadako Lunch Cruise: Early April through 1st Half of November 2017

Towadako, a beautiful lake that straddles Aomori and Akita prefectures, is renowned for picturesque views. To experience Towadako in full, we recommend hopping on the Towadako lunch cruise, which tours the lake’s scenic spots  over a bento-style lunch, including onigiri and other Japanese foods. There’s minimal sway, so you can focus on appreciating the views, instead of worrying about falling cans. Why not treat yourself to an elegant lunch, next time you’re visiting to Towadako?

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Cruises operate through November

Departure times: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Access and Address

・Location

Towadako

・Directions from Closest Station

Take bus to Towadako Bus Stop from Hachinohe Station on Tohoku Shinkansen. 7 minute walk from bus stop

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

100 minutes by train and foot from Aomori Station

・Address

486 Okuse Towadakohanyasumiya, Towada-shi, Aomori-ken, 018-5501

・Map

Admission and Reservation

40 minute cruise

Adults 3,000 yen; children 2,500 yen

1 hour cruise

Adults 5,000 yen; children 4,500 yen (taxes and cost of lunch included, reservations required) *minimum 2 people required for departure; boat capacity is 13

Official Website

http://marineblue.jp

3. [Iwate] Autumn Leaves at Koiwai Farm: Early October through Early November

Koiwai Farm, established in 1891, is Japan’s largest privately-owned farm, spanning an enormous 30 million square meters. Visitors can relish serene farm scenery year-round, but are additionally treated to the sight of autumn foliage come fall. The colorful leaves  last through early November. Koiwai Farm also offers original experiences like guided bus tours and nature walks that utilize the spacious land. Savor the magnificent views of autumn leaves blooming on the slopes of Iwate Mountain and reset your body and mind.

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Peak viewing lasts through early November

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Guided bus tours run daily

Access and Address

・Location

Shizukuishi-cho, Iwate  Koiwai Farm

・Directions from Closest Station

At JR Morioka Station, take bus heading towards “Amihari Onsen” or “Koiwai Nojo Makiba-en” from gate 10 and disembark at “Koiwai Nojo Makiba-en”.

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

35 minutes by bus from Morioka Station

・Address

36-1 Maruyachi, Shizukuishi-cho, Iwate-gun, Iwate-ken, 020-0507

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Entrance Fee

Adults: 800 yen

Children: 300 yen (5 years old – elementary school students)

Reduced entrance fees during 2/3/18 – 2/25/18 and 3/10/18 – 4/19/18 (adults 400 yen, children 150 yen).

Some attractions may require additional fees

Reservations not required.

Official Website

http://www.koiwai.co.jp/makiba/en/

4. [Iwate] Chusonji Chrysanthemum Festival: October 20 through November 18, 2017


Source: flickr

Next up is the “Chusonji Chrysanthemum Festival”. Chusonji is a historic temple located in Iwate that was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. Many are drawn to the glistening structure known as Konjikido, but the chrysanthemum festival, held during late October to mid-November, is also a crowd favorite. An impressive collection of  champion chrysanthemums grown by local enthusiasts are displayed around the temple. It’s a great opportunity to observe chrysanthemums, which have deep ties with Buddhism, and learn about Buddhist culture and temples.

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Held annually from 10/20 – 11/15

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

October 20 (Sat.) from 10:00 “Chrysanthemum Festival Memorial Service” at Hondo

November 2 (Fri.) from 11:00 “Chrysanthemum Memorial Service” at Hondo

Access and Address

・Location

Chusonji Hondo

・Directions from Closest Station

25 minute walk from JR Hiraizumi Station

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

60 minutes by shinkansen, train, and foot from Sendai Station

・Address

202 Hiraizumi Koromonoseki, Hiraizumi-cho, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate-ken, 029-4102

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Admission 800 yen (adults); 500 yen (high school students); 300 yen (middle school students); and 200 yen (elementary school students)

Reservations not required

Official Website

http://www.chusonji.or.jp/guide/event/event_kikumatsuri.html

5. Autumn Leaves at Akiu Otaki: Late October through Early November 2017

Waterfalls regularly feature as motifs in Japanese art. There are famous waterfalls located around Japan, but there are 3 particularly picturesque waterfalls that are collectively known as the “3 Famed Waterfalls of Japan”. Akiu Otaki is one of these three. The waterfall spans 6 meters wide and 55 meters tall and the sight of water cascading down the vertical cliff-face is stunning. However, this area is also blessed with vibrant fall foliage, so even-better views await during autumn. Many visit the waterfall to catch a glimpse of Akiu Otaki set against a backdrop of autumn leaves. The waterfall is located behind temples and shrines, so visitors can experience a uniquely Japanese environment.

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Late October through early November

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Access and Address

・Location

Akiu Otaki

・Directions from Closest Station

17 minutes by bus and foot from Rikuzen Shirasawa Station on JR Senzan Line

Alternatively, ride the Miyagi Transportation Bus from JR Sendai Station towards Akiu Otaki for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The waterfall will be located nearby the final stop (buses run on weekends and holidays)

・Directions from Closest Hub Statio

1 hour and 20 minutes by bus or bus and train from JR Sendai Station

・Address

Baba Otaki Nishimukai, Akiu-cho, Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken 982-0244

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Admissions or reservations not required

Official Website

http://sendai-travel.jp/places/akiu-otaki-waterfall/

6. [Akita] Autumn Leaves at Tazawa Lake: Late October through Early November 2017

Tazawa Lake measures 423 meters deep at its deepest point, making it Japan’s deepest lake. The lake, a popular tourist destination, is also referred to as the “mystical lake” due to its appearance. In autumn, nearby beech and maple trees exhibit brilliant shades of red and yellow and reflect onto the lake surface, making for magnificent views. The road encompassing the circular lake is an ideal driving course, so many visitors opt to sight-see through their car window. Yet another viewing option is the boat cruise that operates until November 5th.

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Mid-October through early November

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Cruise ship operates until November 5th.

Access and Address

・Location

Tazawa Lake

・Directions from Closest Station

12 minutes by bus from Tazawako Station on Tazawako Line / JR Akita Shinkansen

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

45 minutes by train and bus from Morioka Station

・Address

Tazawa Haruyama Tazawako, Senboku-shi, Akita-ken

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Admissions or reservations not required.

Official Website

None.

7. [Yamagata] Autumn Leaves at Mogamikyo: Late October through Early November 2017

Mogamikyo is situated in the downstream section of Mogami River and is famous for majestic views. It’s also renowned for abundant nature, with an indigenous forest of 500 year-old Japanese cedar trees. The trees in Mogamikyo exhibit vibrant colors in autumn, presenting a striking contrast against Mogami River. Visitors can view the autumn foliage and giant trees up-close from the promenade. Alternatively, we recommend visitors to ride a traditional boat and float downstream whilst enjoying the panorama. Finally, visitors can also relish views from the train. Just pick and choose a viewing method that works best for you!

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Late October through early November

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Boat ride

Mogamikyo Basho Line Tourism 8:30 – 17:00

Access and Address

・Location

Mogamigawa Kahan Tozawamura, Mogami-gun, Yamagata-ken

・Directions from Closest Station

10 minute walk from Furukuchi Station on JR Rikuusai Line

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

90 minutes by train from Yamagata Station

・Address

86-1 Furukuchi,Tozawa-mura, Mogami-gun, Yamagata

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Boat ride

■one-way

Middle school students and older: 2,200 yen

Elementary school students and younger: 1,100 yen

■round-trip

Middle school students and older: 3,000 yen

Elementary school students and younger: 1,500 yen

Admissions or reservations not required for viewing of autumn leaves.

Official Website

http://www.blf.co.jp/html/en.html

8. [Fukushima] Autumn Leaves at Goshikinuma Walking Trail: Mid-October through Early November 2017

!

Goshikinuma means “five color swamp” in Japanese and collectively refers to the numerous swamps in the area. True to its name, the area shelters 20 to 30 swamps in five shades and other variations and visitors can hike a trekking course that connects the swamps. The swamps have intriguing names like Tatsunuma (dragon swamp), Bentennuma (Benzaiten’s swamp), and Aonuma (blue swamp) and learning about the naming is a fun exercise in itself. Goshikinuma is also popular for its autumn foliage. For the best experience, we recommend hiking the area and savoring the picturesque combination of water and autumn leaves.

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

Late October through early November

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Access and Address

・Location

Goshikinuma Walking Trail

・Directions from Closest Station

At JR Inawashiro Station on Banetsusai Line, take the Bandai Toto Bus towards Kyukamura / Hibara for 25 minutes and disembark at Goshikimura Entrance Bus Stop

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

100 minutes by train and bus from Fukushima Station

・Address

Hibara, Kitashiobara-mura, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Admissions or reservations not required.

Official Website

http://www.urabandai-inf.com/urabandai/goshiki.html

Sports Event

9. [Miyagi] Kappa Half Marathon: November 5, 2017


Source: 宮城商工会議所青年部

The Kappa Half Marathon takes place annually in Tome-shi of Miyagi prefecture. The marathon is in its 32nd year and is a local favorite. The course runs along the banks of Kitakami River and is known for panoramic views and running conditions. It’s a relatively flat course, so many runners achieve personal records during the competition. In unison with the marathon, the city hosts the “Toyoma Industry Festival” to celebrate local businesses, so it’s a convenient way to learn about the local culture as well. Adults and children alike will enjoy the event – they serve local foods, including a 100 meter sushi roll!

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

November 5, 2017

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Toyoma Industry Festival takes place on the same day

Access and Address

・Location

Tome City General Gymnasium

・Directions from Closest Station

At Sendai Station, take the bus towards Toyoma Sogo Shisho and disembark at Toyoma Sogo Shisho. 5 minute walk from the bus stop

Alternatively, 17 minutes by car from Mitakedo Station on JR Kesennuma Line

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

100 minutes by bus and foot from Sendai Station

・Address

10 Megomachii Toyomamachi Teraike, Tome-shi, Miyagi-ken, 987-0702

・Map

Admission and Reservation

General 4,000 yen; high school students 3,000 yen; elementary & middle school students 2,000 yen; parents 4,000 yen

Reservations required for the race

Reservations not required for the festival

Official Website

http://www.e-marathon.jp/tome-kappa/index.php?menuindex=1

Contemporary Art Event

10. [Fukushima] Onahama International Environmental Art Festival: September 16 through November 23, 2017


Source:flickr

If you’re looking to attend an art event in the Tohoku region, we recommend the Onahama International Environmental Art Festival. As is apparent from the event name, this art event focuses on the environment. The art exhibit spotlights themes such as environmental protection and sustainable consumption of marine resources. One highlight of the event is the “Fishing Flag Design Competition”. Applicants submit designs for tairyobata or flags that are flown by fishing boats when they bring in large catches. The winning design is made into an actual flag, so many apply to this competition from around the country. Additionally, there are sections that exhibit artwork created by kids and handicapped citizens. The Onahama International Environmental Art Festival is a unique art exhibit that highlights traditional Japanese arts and the problems faced by modern Japanese society.

Schedule

・Exhibition Date / Time

September 16 through November 23, 2017; 9:00 – 17:30 (last entry is 16:30)

・Scheduled programs during exhibition term (if applicable)

Access and Address

・Location

Environmental Aquarium Aqua Marine Fukushima

・Directions from Closest Station

15 minutes by bus (towards Onahama / Ena) to “Shisho Iriguchi” stop from Izumi Station on JR Joban Line (limited express stop). 10 minute walk from bus stop.

・Directions from Closest Hub Station

90 minutes by train and bus from Mito Station.

・Address

50 Tatsumicho Onahama, Iwaki-shi, Fukushima-ken

・Map

Admission and Reservation

Reservations not required

Admission fee: general 1,800 yen; elementary through high school students 900 yen; pre-school children free admission

Official Website

http://www.aquamarine.or.jp/news/event/2017/2017_artfes.html

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About Shoto Hachiya

Hello, my name is Shoto! I’ve lived in and traveled many countries. Through the experiences, I saw a lot of different cultures and customs, and that made me realize how unique Japanese culture is.