A First Timer’s Guide to Aomori Prefecture in the Winter Season

There's so much to do here!


Aomori Prefecture is a nice place to visit during the cold, winter season. There are many events to enjoy the charm of winter. For example, huge rime snow tours of Mt. Hakkoda called
Snow Monster, tours for icicles and icefalls of the Oirase mountain stream located in Towada Hachimantai National Park, winter activities in the magnificent snow scenery of Lake Towada, stove trains of Tsugaru Railway starting from Goshogawara City, illuminations such as Sakura light up in winter around Hirosaki Castle, among others.


In the peak of winter season, the rimes of Mt. Hakkoda line the mountains.


However, Aomori has a wide range of local gourmet stops aside from places for sightseeing. Here, we will introduce you to Aomori's gourmet dishes that are worth the taste of winter.


Seafood is delicious in Aomori especially during winter!


Aomori faces Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, and it offers delicious seafood that is as good as Hokkaido’s.


Minato Shokudo


The Hirame Zuke Don (¥1,050 including tax) comes with miso soup and pickles. There is also a Hirame Zuke Don Senbeijiru Set (¥1,350 including tax) with a set of senbeijiru soup dishes.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa© 


The
Hirame Zuke Don (marinated flounder bowl) of Minato Shokudo in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, won the gold prize for the seafood bowl category of the First National Bowl Grand Prix held in 2014. Aomori boasts one of the highest catches of natural flounder in Japan. The flounder is regarded as a prefecture fish, and is said to be especially delicious in winter. Enjoy plenty of pickled flounder with egg yolk and wasabi. Also Hirame Engawa Hanhan Zuke Don (¥1,300 including tax, only 5 servings per day) and Aomori's specialty, Hachinohe Senbeijiru (¥400 including tax) are popular.


Minato Shokudo is located at 45-1 Minatomachikubo, Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture and is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except Sundays and New Year holidays. You may contact them at +81-178-35-2295.


Mutsuminato Station Morning Market


Hachinohe Municipal Fish and Vegetable Retail Market
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Hachinohe Ginsaba Shioyaki (grilled silver mackerel with salt) (¥500, including tax) and Akaebi Omisosiru (red shrimp miso soup) (¥300, including tax). A large bowl of rice is ¥150 including tax.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Akaebi Don (red shrimp bowl) (with miso soup, ¥800 including tax)
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


The
Mutsuminato Station Morning Market can be found at the Hachinohe Municipal Fish and Vegetable Retail Market and in front of JR Mutsuminato Station, which are close to Minato Shokudo. It is open early in the morning, so it is recommended to have breakfast here. 

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After you choose sashimi, grilled fish, and side dishes at a store in the market, you can set your favorite breakfast by purchasing a bowl of rice (¥100). Among Hachinohe's famous mackerel, you can enjoy
Hachinohe Ginsaba Shioyaki (Hachinohe silver mackerel) grilled with salt, which uses large fat-laden ones, and Akaebi Don (red shrimp bowl), which have four large plump red shrimp at a reasonable price.


The Mutsuminato Station Morning Market is located at 38-1 Minatomachikubo, Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture. It is open from 3 a.m. to 12 p.m. (breakfast starts from around 5 a.m. to around 10 a.m.), daily except Sundays and the beginning of New Year, and Sundays, the second Saturdays, and the beginning of New Year for Hachinohe Municipal Fish and Vegetable Retail Market. You may contact them at +81-178-33-6151.


Hasshoku Center


Hasshoku Center
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


The main market building is lined with various shops in a building that is 170 meters long.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


The usage fee of Shichirinmura is ¥400 including tax for adults and ¥150 including tax for elementary school students in 2 hours.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


If you like the food in the market, you should stop by
Hasshoku Center located in front of Hachinohe City Central Wholesale Market. This is a highly-recommended market with a total length of 170 meters, with fresh seafood, meat, vegetables, dried foods and souvenirs. The indoor barbecue facility Shichirinmura, where you can enjoy the ingredients you buy here on a charcoal grill, is also very popular. Shops in the market are convenient because they have a variety of products for those who grill and eat them at Shichirinmura.


Hasshoku Center is located at 22-2 Kawaragi Kansai, Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture and is open from- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (it may differ from shops). You may contact them at +81-178-28-9311.


Aomori Hotate Koya


T
he best record of “scallop fishing” is 13 pieces in 2 minutes! Of course, you can eat everything for ¥500 including tax.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Scallops are delicious when grilled on a tabletop stove and eaten with just soy sauce!
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Aomori Hotate Koya
which is located in front of Aomori Station has a menu mainly focused on scallops, which has the highest production in Aomori within Japan. One of the most popular is Hotatetsuri (scallop fishing) (¥500, including tax) in which live scallops are suspended with a rod. The scallops in the aquarium are free to fish for 2 minutes, and the caught scallops can be grilled and tasted there. In addition, Yoridori Sanshu is a sake set that you can also select three types of your favorite local sake from a special refrigeration machine and pour it yourself.

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Aomori Hotate Koya is located at 1/F Aomori Building, 1-3-2 Yasukata, Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture and is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. You may contact them at +81-17-752-9454.


Ramen is delicious in winter Aomori!


Aomori is actually where you can eat a distinctive bowl of ramen such as soy sauce ramen using broth made with boiled and roasted dried small sardines called Tsugaru ramen, and miso-curry-milk ramen. Such delicious ramen in Aomori will make you want to eat out even in the cold winter!


Chukasoba Hirakoya Kiboshi


Nihachi (Nihachiboshi Chukasoba) (¥720, including tax)
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Hirakoya's specialty “Barasoba (Baraniku Chukasoba)" (¥850, including tax) which a bowl full of pork back ribs are on “Assari (Yakiboshi Chukasoba)" (¥600, including tax) 
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Chukasoba Hirakoya Kiboshi
is a very popular ramen shop which many people stand in line for. There are locals who come to the shop, too. The soup of this shop uses ingredients from all over the country, such as horse mackerel, sardines and mackerel from Aomori, and adjusts the mix. Their popular items on the menu are Assari (Yakiboshi Chukasoba) that uses broth made from boiled dried small sardine, grilled small sardine, kelp and others, a rich Koikuchi (Wayakiboshi Chukasoba) (¥750, including tax) that uses a large amount of several types of dried small sardines and Nihachi (Nihachiboshi Chukasoba) that the taste is in the middle of other two menus. Homemade noodles made with a unique blend of two types of wheat make use of the original flavor of wheat by eliminating the use of lye water.


Chukasoba Hirakoya Kiboshi is located at 1-5-35 Aoba, Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Tuesdays. You may contact them at  +81-17-763-5719.


Local sake is delicious in winter Aomori!


Aomori is surrounded by nature, so sake and other alcoholic liquor are also delicious! While drinking Aomori's exquisite gourmet food such as fresh seafood, drinking sake to warm your body is a luxury that you can experience in Aomori. 


Hachinohe Shuzo Sake Brewery


Hachinohe Shuzo Sake Brewery with a distinctive Japanese-Western appearance
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


At the end of the brewery tour, sampling of sake awaits!
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Hachinohe Shuzo Sake Brewery
is a historical sake brewery founded in 1888. The brewery is known for brewing sake such as Mutsu Otokoyama and Mutsu Hassen. The building which was built in the early Taisho era features a quaint Japanese-Western style exterior such as a Japanese-style merchant storefront and a plastered brick warehouse. This building is designated as a registered tangible cultural property of the country, and is the first of Hachinohe City's Hachinohe City Landscape Important Buildings. Here you can also tour a brewery where you can sample several types of sake such as season limited sake (about 60 minutes, ¥500, including tax), and buy them.

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Hachinohe Shuzo Sake Brewery is located at 9 Minatomachi Honcho, Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (except Saturdays and Sundays for the brewery tour). You may contact them at +81-178-33-1171.


Hachinohe Yatai Mura (Food Stall Village) Miroku Yokocho


Hachinohe Yataimura Miroku Yokocho where stalls line a vertical alley.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


Odaidokoro Nene is a cute pink stall. They serve platter dishes, horse-meat dishes, and local dishes.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


If you want to enjoy local sake in the same Hachinohe City, we recommend you stop by
Hachinohe Yatai Mura (Food Stall Village) Miroku Yokocho. Located in the central city area of ​​Hachinohe City, this is a food and drink spot where there are 26 small fixed food stalls that only have about 8 seats each. The concept is to introduce new specialties and local dishes of Hachinohe. There is a wide variety of stalls, mainly seafood, skewers and ramen. Many stalls have an atmosphere that feels like home. Tourists love it if they can enjoy a casual exchange with the owner and the customers who just happen to be there.


Hachinohe Yatai Mura Miroku Yokocho is located at 10 Muikamachi, Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture. You may contact the Miroku Yokocho Office at +81-178-29-0815.


Tachinomiya Jizake ASPAM


Chotto Zeitaku na ASPAM Omakase Masu (4 types, ¥1,500, including tax)
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


You can also order some snacks. If you like liquor and snacks, you can buy them at the souvenir shop ASPAM Bussan ASPAM Store in the same building.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


If you want to enjoy sake in Aomori City, it might be a good idea to go to
Tachinomiya Jizake ASPAM (a standing sake shop) at Aomori Prefectural Tourist Center ASPAM. You can taste different local sake of Aomori including a special junmai liquor Denshu from Nishida Sake Brewery, which is quite well-known and popular throughout Japan, on Chotto Zeitaku na ASPAM Omakase Masu. In addition, you can drink various alcohol drinks such as Shimokita Wine (¥700, including tax) and Cider (¥500, including tax) made in Shimokita Peninsula.


Tachinomiya Jizake ASPAM is located at Aomori Kanko Bussannkan 1F, 1-1-40 Yasukata, Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture and is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and to 7 p.m. from April to October, daily. YOu may contact them at +81-17-734-4550.


A-FACTORY


A-FACTORY that looks like a warehouse
Photo by Kazuhiro Yoshihashi/Kadokawa©

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You can freely select and taste sake from tasting machines.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


The first floor of A-FACTORY has a large souvenir shop.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


A-FACTORY
, a fashionable commercial facility located in front of Aomori Station, allows you to compare and drink ciders using apples from Aomori Prefecture. In addition to the A-FACTORY CIDRE brewed at the Cider Kobo in the facility, you can taste all eight types. If you purchase a tasting card (¥300, ¥600 and ¥900 each, including tax) at the restaurant on the second floor and insert it into a special machine, you can freely select the brand and quantity for tasting. The ciders are sold at the souvenir shop on the first floor.


A-FACTORY is located at 1-4-2 Yanakawa, Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture and is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. You may contact them at +81-17-752-1890.


A hotel to stay in Aomori


The Aomori Nebuta Room is the only one special room.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


If you stay at the Aomori Nebuta room, you can wear the Nebuta Festival Dancer's costume.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


You can enjoy the annual Zekkei Yukimi Roten Neburinagashi Toro
at an open-air bath Ukiyu until March 31, 2020


Michinoku Matsuriya is a participatory restaurant featuring mini-sized Aomori Nebuta floats.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


At Stove Basha (¥1,111 for adult, tax excluded, reservation required), ice cream Daifuku Yukinko Ice and burdock tea are served.
Photo by Kanji Furukawa/Kadokawa©


If you are traveling to Aomori in winter, stay at
Hoshino Resort Aomoriya. This hotel is huge with 236 rooms that incorporates Aomori culture such as Nebuta, food and traditional crafts, and features a polite and unique hospitality that is typical of Hoshino Resorts. 


The guest rooms include
the Aomori Nebuta Room, which incorporates Nebuta designs in the room, from the bathroom, toilet, and ceiling, as well as a Japanese-style room with a semi-open-air bath and a Japanese-Western style room that can be used by three generations.


In winter, we recommend you to experience
Ukiyu, a fantastic open-air bath where you can see the Nebuta floating on a pond, and Stove Basha (horse carriage), which runs through a vast site with a chariot with a wood stove.


Also, a must-see show at the restaurant
Michinoku Matsuriya. You can experience the atmosphere of Aomori's four major summer festivals, Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri, Goshogawara Tachineputa, and Hachinohe Sansha Taisai.

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Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya is located at 56 Furumagiyama, Misawa City, Aomori Prefecture. Check in is from 3 p.m. and check out is up to 12 p.m. You may contact them at +81-570-073-022.


Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokai Walker™ (21 February 2020)


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