sproing!
The Photo Archives:
Japan: Tôhoku

I have scratched the surface of Tôhoku four times, and so far the East-North (for that's what the name means) is definitely my favorite region of Japan.  Not geared for mass tourism, Tôhoku is a wonderland of mountains, forests and hot springs, ideal for hitchhiking and camping, with only the weather getting in the way sometimes...

Dewa Sanzan
The pilgrimage route between the three holy mountains of Haguro-san, Gas-san and Yudono-san in western Tohoku.

Shown: The bridge at the start of the trail up Mt. Haguro-san

Hirosaki
The Kyoto of the North, site of the Neputa festival, the only castle in Tohoku, and many temples.

Shown: Closeup of one of the massive floats for the Neputa festival

Kinkazan Island
The remote Golden Flower Island off the eastern coast.

Shown: Seagulls wheeling above the ferry to the island

Matsushima
Ah, Matsushima!  Ah, Matsushima, ah!  Matsushima, ah!
-- Matsuo Basho's famous haiku
Shown: One of Matsushima's pine islands wrapped in mist
Midlands
A grab bag from the middle of Tohoku: the temple town of Hiraizumi and the Japan Sea city of Tsuruoka.

Shown: Horoscope vending machines lined up outside Chusonji Temple, Hiraizumi

Mt. Osorezan
Located in the northern Shimokita Peninsula, the sulphuric wastes of "Dread Mountain" are Japan's mythological entrance to the underworld.

Shown: A sulphur yellow boiling cauldron

Naruko Onsen
A low-key little hot spring resort up in the mountains not terribly far from Sendai.

Shown: Mori-no-Yu rotenburo (outdoor bath) at night, Ryokan Onuma

Sendai
The largest and busiest town in the North, not much to look at but there's some good eating to be found.

Shown: Oden Sankichi, one of Japan's best oden (fish soup) joints

Yagen Valley
A hidden gem in the middle of Shimokita, Yagen has easy, beautiful hiking along the banks of the Oohata river and the simple but perfect outdoor baths (rotenburo) of Kappa-no-yu.

Shown: A statue of a kappa sitting in the Kappa-no-yu rotenburo


All pictures copyright 1998-2004 by Jani Patokallio.