Travel to the Tohoku Region of Japan – Episode 741

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Travel to the Tohoku Region of Japan (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the Tohoku Region of Japan as the Amateur Traveler talks to Sandra Thomas-Comenole from the Behavior Economics in Marketing Podcast about her travels in the region.

Sandra says, “Tohoku is a great destination for people who are looking to get off the beaten path without venturing too far from things of comfort. With that said, there’s also something for everyone. There’s outdoors, you’d have the ocean, the mountains, the lakes, you even have caves. You have world-class museums, you have the traditional culture like temples and tea houses, festivals, you have cherry blossoms without the high price. Not to mention that it is a foodie paradise. So many regions in Japan claimed to have the best sushi, and I’ve tried sushi across Japan. And I would say that Tohoku has a stake in that claim. They have terrific regional cuisines that you must try while visiting. Tohoku has also been recognized last year by National Geographic and Lonely Planet as the It Destination”

Tohoku is a region in Japan that is north of Tokyo taking the upper third of the main Japanese island of Honshu, Tohoku is made up of the six prefectures of Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamagata.

Tohoku is it is easily accessible from Tokyo and southern Japan. There’s a high-speed rail that stretches between Tokyo and Hokkaido stopping in a few cities throughout Tohoku. Tokyo to Sendai by rail is roughly one hour.

For a week-long trip, Sandra starts off in the Aomori prefecture with two nights in Towada Towada is a mountainous retreat area. You can stay in a traditional ryokan which is a traditional Japanese inn, often with an onsen. While in the area Sandra recommends canoeing on Lake Towada, hiking the Oirase Gorge, and making a gourd lamp at the Mossball Workshop.

From there we move to Sendai where we would visit Aoba Castle, and the fifth tallest statue in the world, the Sendai Daikannon. Take the time for tea at the Kanrantei Tea House. For an offbeat destination take a boat out to Tashirojima Island which has one of the most famous of Japan’s cat islands.

What can be more adventurous than going inside the Fukushima Exclusion Zone to visit the site of the Fukushima earthquake, tidal wave, and nuclear disaster?

In Shiogama, we visit the 1,200-year-old Shiogama Shrine.

In Matsushima, we take a boat out into the beautiful islands of Matsushima Bay and visit a local sake brewery. Visit the beautiful Zuiganji and Entsuin Temples.  At the Entsuin Temple, see the nightly illumination of the temple gardens in the fall.

In addition to having great sushi, Sandra recommends trying local dishes like bariyaki and kiritanpo (rice sticks). Also, get adventurous when you taste Japanese ice cream flavors like moss and squid ink. 

In a stretch to the one-week itinerary, Sandra also talks about her visit to the Yamabushi monks of Mount Haguro.

Hear why you should explore this beautiful region of northern Honshu, Tohoku.

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Show Notes

T?hoku region
Oirase Gorge
Lake Towada
Lake Towada Tours
Lake Towada Canoe Tour
Towada Art Center
Yayoi Kusama
Takashi Murakami
Aoba Castle
Sendai Daikannon
Tashirojima Island (Cat Island)
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
Real Fukushima
Yamadera Travel Guide
Shiogama Shrine
Urakasumi Sake Brewery
Kanrantei Tea House
Religion in Japan
Matsushima Travel: Zuiganji Temple
Matsushima Travel: Entsuin Temple
Buddhist cuisine (Shojin Ryori)
Mount Haguro
Kumano Kodo Walk in Japan (Podcast)


Chris – A short note and anecdote to say how VERY much my wife and I love your podcasts and how they interact with daily life. 

After 20 years, I finally convinced my wife to watch the LoTR trilogy … and last night was Fellowship of the Ring.  While painting today, and binging Amateur Traveler (a not uncommon thing; today included Slovenia, Istanbul, Porto, and Botswana!), you referenced the LoTR Mines of Moria and the Balrog when describing the Skokjan Caves.  You can just imagine my excitement playing that snippet for my wife from that episode.  Slovenia has now been added to our ever-growing travel list, many of which were added after listening to your show.
Keep up the great work!

Dear Chris,

I have been listening to your podcast and I love them. I must say I love the theme song to the show!!! I have listened to quite a few of the episodes and I really love the details you and your guests bring in (like the local food choices, the description of the sights, and even the stories behind them). Such a perfect way to feed our hunger to see the world esp. in this pandemic!

Thank you,

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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