This northern prefecture is the perfect place to enjoy autumn
Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Guide: Aomori
Each year the village of Inakadate in the Aomori Prefecture turns rice paddies into works of art – and they will be on display during the early stages of the World Cup. From the ground they might look like normal rice fields, but from the viewing platform you can see how coloured rice stalks have created living art. It’s different every year but previous works include a Roman Holiday scene.
The Sannai-Maruyama site also offers something unique – the remains of a large settlement from the Early to Middle Jomon period – that’s between 4,000 and 5,500 years ago. Excavation started in the 1990s and visitors can now explore the area.
Take the Hakkoda Ropeway (cable car) to Tamoyachi-dake Sancho Station. It’s a ten-minute journey to the top and offers panoramic views, with the timing of the World Cup giving you the chance to see the beautiful autumn foliage.
For more autumnal shades, visit Oirase Stream that flows from Lake Towada. More than a dozen waterfalls cascade into the stream along the length of Oirase Gorge.
The Lamp Inn Aoni Onsen next to the Aoni Stream is surrounded by forest and features different hot springs – and lamps are the only source of light. There are no TVs or outlets in guest rooms, so it’s a great place to switch off.
Visit Furukawa Fish Market to sample nokke-don. You’re given a bowl of rice and can then pick from a wide selection of fish and meat to put on top, giving you a bespoke meal. Another local dish is the distinctive soup Miso-Curry-Milk Ramen, the broth a mix of those three ingredients/flavours and topped with bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and meat.
WORLD CUP VISIT
Situated on the northern tip of the main island of Honshu, the Aomori Prefecture is an ideal stop-off either before or after games in Sapporo on Hokkaido island (Australia v Fiji on 21 September and England v Tonga on 22 September) or Kamaishi (Fiji v Uruguay on 25 September or Namibia v Repêchage winner on 13 October) to the south.
Related: Rugby World Cup 2019 venues
It’s a 70-minute flight from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Aomori or three hours on the bullet train from Tokyo. It’s a 45-minute flight to Sapporo and around four-and-a-half hours by train to Kamaishi.
DID YOU KNOW?
Aomori is home to the biggest buddha in Japan, the Showa Buddha, which stands at a height of 21.35 metres.
The week-long Aomori Nebuta Festival takes place in August, but you can get a feel for it year-round at the Wa-Rasse Nebuta Museum.