May 20, 2022

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For splendid leisure

This firsthand experience in Tohoku reveals the travel secrets of this natural and cultural wonderland.: Travel Weekly

6 min read

This Q&A with Gene Miyake, managing director of NON-Quit Travel, sheds gentle on the Tohoku Location of Japan, a pure wonderland where contemporary tourism highlights blend with ancient rituals and final peace.    

We listened to that you participated in Japan National Tourism Organization’s Tohoku FAM vacation. How was it? 

My very last FAM Journey took position in November 2019, a few months in advance of the planet shut down for two complete a long time. It was an amazing and pretty memorable 7 days used in the Tohoku location. I was ready to immerse myself in the “authentic” Japanese encounter. Pleasantly various from the “Big City” expertise of Tokyo or Osaka.  

After meeting my fellow tourists in Tokyo, which include Mr. Ryoji Aso, Director of Japan National Tourism Business, a small one particular-hour flight introduced our entourage to Aomori. Tohoku is quite effortless to get to from Tokyo and Osaka.

What charms of Tohoku did you expertise though there and what was the most unforgettable place to go to in Tohoku?

Mt. Haguro in Yamagata prefecture was magical! We took section in a Yamabushi pilgrimage of “rebirth.”  The Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa — the collective identify for Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono — are a revered location for the ascetic religion acknowledged as Shugendo. Shugendo is an historic Japanese mountain religion that blends features of character worship with Buddhism and other faiths. In the historical perception of Shugendo, we bring in the spirits of the gods and Buddha into our souls right before emerging reborn by schooling in the mountains.

A Travel Advisor Spotlights the Lesser-Known Tourism Appeal of Tohoku, Japan

1st, we dressed in classic Shiroshozoku white garments, a shime necklace and gave blessings at an altar. Our entourage headed via the Zuishomon gates and down Mt. Haguro’s well-known stone stairways — the methods of pilgrims that dates back extra than 1,400 yrs. Immediately after a two-hour hike by way of mountains and official worship at Haguro Shrine, it was time for some considerably-required nourishment.

Our team dined on Shojin Ryori, the most incredible Buddhist vegetarian cuisine consisting of domestically sourced mountain herbs, wild veggies and mushrooms. For a carnivore, it was amazingly tasty and satisfying.

We also liked a soak in the natural very hot spring onsen baths in Lake Towada on the border concerning Aomori and Akita prefectures. Stripping off all your garments and inhibitions to bathe in the mineral-prosperous goodness of a geothermal scorching spring is a handle to the senses and to your wellness. There are several standard Japanese inns and resorts with sizzling springs throughout Tohoku. 

How about out of doors and journey activities in Tohoku?

They say you do points out of your consolation zone when you are on holiday or, in this scenario, a super-billed FAM Journey.  On a picturesque Lake Towada, our tiny group loved an adventurous canoe trip with stunning landscapes all close to. Immediately after spinning all around in circles for ages, I’m pleased to report that no 1 ended up in the lake! We also hiked the Oirase Gorge in Aomori, which was included in crimson and gold tumble foliage. Tohoku is paradise for character and culture enthusiasts. 

What was the area Japanese cuisine like?

For dinner we were being addressed to authentic robatayaki delicacies (grilled skewered protein and veggies meal). The clean and delicious seafood was procured from the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and Tsugaru Bay — which is distinctive to Lake Towada and found in the center of the North Tohoku region. The charcoal-grilled dishes brought out the deliciousness of the huge clams, sweet ayu river fish, prawns and domestically sourced pork. 

A teppanyaki (an iron griddle) dinner of Yonezawa beef from Yamagata was also memorable and wonderful. I didn’t know that Tohoku region is a producer of top quality wagyu beef. Experiencing this nearby delicacy in particular person amongst the people today who preserved these preferences and textures for centuries is not like nearly anything you can practical experience wherever else. Even Tokyo.

Sake tasting is one more culinary expertise that you are not able to overlook in Tohoku. Sake is created during Tohoku the location is key for substantial-high quality rice output, which interprets to fantastic rice wine. Every area is recognised for distinct flavor profiles, which tend to pair especially properly with area specialty meals.

The people today of Tohoku have adapted to the severe and prolonged winters by becoming particularly adaptable and resourceful in their daily lives. A smaller case in point is the numerous styles of pickled radishes they get ready every slide. My favourite is a smoked selection, iburigakko, dried by smoking around the open fireplace in the house. On the other hand, as with other Japanese pickles, it pairs beautifully with a heat bowl of white rice. It is the simplest matters that usually carry the most enjoyment when touring.

In Tohoku, you will come across far more delicate edible luxuries that showcase the stories, customs, and ethos of the people guiding Japan’s ingesting and eating traditions.

A Travel Advisor Spotlights the Lesser-Known Tourism Appeal of Tohoku, Japan

What is the very best year to go to Tohoku?

Tohoku is a 12 months-spherical desired destination, many thanks to its myriad sights and assortment of actions that make the most of its varied local weather. Picking out the most effective time to visit is dependent mainly on a traveler’s preferred activities. The warmer months, for illustration, are ideal for climbing and walking. Every spring, cherry blossoms grace several components of the region, although the summer season provides a verdant palate of hues and the trees flip abundant hues of purple, orange and yellow in the autumn. Skiing is a big attract in the winter season, thanks to the region’s multiple ski resorts. And, of training course, Tohoku’s regular temples and several other sights are really worth checking out throughout the 12 months.

A Travel Advisor Spotlights the Lesser-Known Tourism Appeal of Tohoku, Japan

Why really should U.S. consumers stop by Tohoku?

You will knowledge a legitimate brand name of hospitality in off-the-overwhelmed-route Tohoku, these types of as distinctive cultural experiences steeped in background merged with amazing local foodstuff. 

Tourists from the U.S. will practical experience the appeal of Japan’s countryside, really different from the huge metropolis encounters of Tokyo and Osaka. Furthermore, as opposed to the previous capitol town of Kyoto, there is some thing extremely rustic about the total Tohoku area.

Tohoku is a organic and cultural haven. Graced with glistening lakes, soaring mountains and comforting very hot springs, the location offers a tranquil, uncrowded location to experience outside things to do, regional traditions, culinary delicacies and 1-of-a-variety yearly events that day again generations. It is the perfect desired destination for tourists interested in lesser-recognized places that offer you memorable character- and lifestyle-based encounters. The area is property to postcard-fantastic modest towns and laidback metropolitan areas, with all the comforts and features a traveler could possibly need. The location is divided into 6 prefectures, just about every with its have charm.

Have you sent any customers to Tohoku? 

Indeed, we have despatched hundreds of shoppers to the Tohoku location considering that 2015.  We have designed a mixture, TOHOKU & HOKKAIDO tour which incorporates, Sendai, Matsushima, Kesennuma, Morioka, Oirase, Towada, Hirosaki and Aomori.

I hugely recommend you perform with a experienced tour operator who can make tips about Tohoku centered on your clients’ preferences. NON-Halt Journey creates several special team excursions as effectively as tailor made tours for the initially-timer to Japan and for the repeat Japan customer hunting to go the off-the-crushed-route route this sort of as the Tohoku location.

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