23 June 2011

Tip Top Tappi

Tappi is the northernmost point in western Aomori so the drive there is a bit far from the Tsugaru side, but well worth it. Travel the winding roads and you'll pass the sea, go through the mountains and if you're lucky, you'll spot some of the notoriously mischievous Japanese snow monkeys. There are a few viewing platforms to stop at along the way, and once you reach Tappi, walk up the look-out path to catch the best view. On a clear day you can see Hokkaido. And if you have time to spare, check out the nearby Seikan Tunnel Museum, which explains the making of the underwater railway tunnel that connects Honshu to Hokkaido and is the longest operational underground tunnel! Click here to learn more.

The Skinny: A weekend joyride
Price: A tank of gas

Takayama Inari Shrine

Nestled deep in Shariki Town is the impressive Takayama Inari Shrine. Although it's quite large, it's often sparse with visitors (rumor has it many Japanese people find the place haunted). Once you drive through the giant torii gate, you will see the visitor center in front, stairs leading to the shrine on your left, and a somewhat hidden path to Shariki beach on your right. The path to the beach will take you behind the visitor center and through some dense vegetation, but don't worry, it's safe and permitted. The beach is a bit laden with garbage, but it's still an interesting place to visit (local rumor has it that people have gone missing off this coast at the hands of North Koreans). Lastly, if you visit in summer, look out for all the frogs - they're everywhere!

The Skinny: A beautiful shrine with over 100 small torii gates and a walk to the beach
Price: Free
Website: Click Here

Clam A-Pickin'!

Take a scenic drive up the 339 and you'll eventually find yourself at Lake Jusanko. Park at the shops, walk across the bridge, and pay a mere 300 yen to start your clam hunt. This fee provides a bag for your finds and some colanders to aid your search. The lake is only knee deep (although is appears deeper!), so be sure to wear some half pants. You can keep all the clams you find, so have at it. FYI: the park is open late but the lake for clam pickin' closes around 3:15PM.

The skinny: A fun way to spend a sunny day
Price: 300 yen
Website: Click Here (see the 5th picture down)

15 June 2011

Aomori Rock Festival '11 ~夏の魔物~ (Summer Villain)

Is your summer not as fun as you wanted it to be?  Spice it up by rockin' out to some Japanese rock music at the Aomori Rock Festival '11 "Summer Villain!"  The festival promises to be a huge all-day event, taking place outdoors at Tsugaru's very own Chikyuu Mura.  If you're into live music, and especially rock, this is the event for you.  For a list of the performers click here.

1 Ticket
2 Tickets
4 Tickets
Middle/High Schooler
(1 Ticket)
(Available only the day of the event)
*Elementary students and below are free.
*Tickets can be bought at the door, however may sell out, so buy quickly!
*Japanese speakers can reserve tickets by going to the event's website
Date: July 17th (Doors open at 8:00 a.m. and the show starts at 8:30 a.m.)
Website: Click Here (Japanese)
Tsugaru Chikyuu Mura:〒038-2817 Aomori-ken, Tsugaru-shi, Morita-Machi, Tokomai Fujiyama 244
つがる地球村 :〒038-2817青森県つがる市 森田町 床舞藤山244

14 June 2011

Bense Marsh (ベンセ湿原)

Spring in Japan is famous for cherry blossoms, but spring in Tsugaru is famous for Bense Marsh's orange and yellow day lilies.  According to local news, the flowers will be at full bloom on the 15th and 16th of June and can be enjoyed through this Monday (June 20). The marsh is undoubtedly a great place to take a stroll, enjoying Tsugaru's beautiful nature.  And the day lilies are a must for anyone into photography.  The lilies (called nikkoukisuge in Japanese) are the official flowers of Tsugaru City.  Come enjoy the Tsugaru spring by visiting the Bense Marsh!

When? Now through June 20th
Where? Tsugaru City Map to the marsh
How much? FREE!