by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic credit: aomori.travel
AS MANY countries begin to bring back vaccinated travellers, Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) this year welcomes Malaysian travellers to visit Tohoku Aomori, Japan to discover its natural landscape, hidden gems and its unique attractions.
Located on the northernmost tip in mainland Japan, Aomori Prefecture is home to unrivalled sightseeing spots and an unforgettable experience to greet travellers around the world.
Sharing the main trend in Japan, JNTO spokesperson, Tracy Lim said there are two types of main attractions in Japan, one is that which happens during the New Year celebration and the other is happening and takes place throughout the year.
“In Japan, new year celebration in Japan as the most important holiday, whereby most families will be gathering to celebrate this annual custom, this is also the best time to visit so that the visitor will be able to catch the unique experience which is not available elsewhere,” she said during the JNTO Tohoku Online Seminar on Aomori Prefecture recently.
On the new year, one of the common activities is watching the First Sunrise of the year known as Hatso-Hinode (Diamond Fuji) which is a symbol for a blessed and wonderful year ahead.
“Its unique name is named after the rising sun which aligns with the peak of Mount Fuji causing the peak to shine bright like a diamond,” Lim explained.
Another special new year occasion is Osechi, a New Year traditional dish in which an assortment of colourful dishes is packed together and served as a special new year dining delicacy.
For a shopping enthusiast, they may want to take a chance and line up for the Japanese first sale of the year called Fukubukuro, where the items sold are usually kept secret in a red packet that can be worth more than 50%-200% of its real value.
“During Fukubukoro, it is common to find shoppers lining up as early as six in the morning to purchase their lucky bag from the sales store. The product can range from high-end fashion items to electronic gadgets or snacks,” she said.
Balancing between tradition and modernity, Japan has truly embraced the element and shown it through its architecture, values and advanced amenities.
Aomori is also best known for its spectacular hot spring, summer festivals and other recommended places within the vicinity of Amouri, such as the Aomori Museum of Art and A-factory, where travellers can discover a market that serves local specialty goods and restaurants.
Japan is also famously known for its sumo culture. To catch the experience, travellers can watch a sumo competition at the sumo museum in Ryogoku, Kokugikan and Tokyo.
“For those who prefer a premium sumo experience, they can catch grand Sumo tournaments in big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi and Fukuoka.”
Whereas for some spiritual journeys, visitors may want to stop by the famous worship places such as Takayama Inari Shrine in Tsugaru City and Mount Osore in Mutsu City.
Its strategic geographical structure gives another unique experience to be explored in Japan, known as Drift Ice experiences in Hokkaido, which normally happens between the end of January to early March.
“The Drift Ice was accumulated when sea ice formed in Russian sea drift to the Okhotsk Sea off to the eastern shore of Hokkaido. Visitors may choose to walk, cycle and cruise on it,” she said.
As dining is a must for any travels, one of the must-haves is this extraordinary dining experience in Kamakura, a Japanese version of igloo hut provided with a dining amenities’ set, mochi cakes which can accommodate up to five people for each hut.
Visitors can rent a private Kamakura hut and experience this Japanese dining concept during the Feb 15 to 16 of each year at the Yokote Kamakura Festival.
Binding nature and culture, travellers will get to enjoy colourful foliage, an autumn season in Towada city and Fukaura town, snow during the winter at Stove Train in Goshogawara and Snow Monsters, Aomori city.
Malaysians who plan to get to Aomori may opt to transit from Seoul and Taipei for international flights, as for now, there is no direct flight from Kuala Lumpur.
Another option is to travel by railway which serves from Tokyo and Sapporo.
For more information on Aomori Prefecture, visitors may head to the website https://www.en-aomori.com/.