I was lucky enough to be placed in my first request Aomori-ken (prefecture) for the duration of my stay with JET. Above is a picture of the capital city Aomori-shi as seen from the bay, notorious for being one of the snowiest cities in the world.
Aomori is famous for their ねぶた祭り, nebuta-matsuri, the summer festival that revolves around the “nebuta”, the float of the warrior that is carried throughout the city in the first week of August. Though there are several of these festivals throughout the country, Aomori’s is the most popular and considered to be the best in Japan.
Hachinohe is a port city that sits on the east coast of Aomori. Unlike the rest of the ken which sees some of the most snowfall in the world, Hachinohe’s snowfall is much milder (only 100 inches yearly compared to Aomori-shi‘s 300 inches).
Hachinohe also has a festival the first couple days in August, the 三社大祭, Sansha Taisai, or “Three-Shrine Grand Festival.”
In the west sits the city of Hirosaki, best known for Mt. Iwaki, famed Hirosaki castle, the gorgeous sakura trees that bloom in the springtime, and the ubiquitously fantastic views of nature.
Wintertime in the ken is spectacularly white, and snow sports are extremely popular both with locals and with tourists who come to Aomori, which boasts some of the country’s best ski resorts.