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Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Cherry Blossom 14-Day Itinerary in the Tōhoku Region

Because the cherry blossom season in most parts of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka is usually from late March to the beginning of April, if you can’t travel during that part of the year, that is okay. The season in Northeastern Japan only starts in mid-April and can last until early May, giving you more flexibility to adore the country’s national flower. Plus, the destinations up in the north wouldn’t be as packed as Tokyo’s city center!

Summary of the 14-Day Itinerary

The below travel plan is best for the area’s cherry blossom season between mid to the end of April. That being said, it is also suitable throughout the year. The landscape will give you a different impression depending on which season you visit the Tōhoku region.

DestinationAccommodation inAttractions
Day 1TokyoSendai
Day 2KakunodateSendaiBukeyashiki Street
Hinokinaigawa Tsutsumi Park
Day 3SendaiHachinoheSS30
Sendai Morning Market
Zuihōden
Murakamiya Mochiten
Sendai Daikannon
Hachinohe Yataimura Miroku Yokochō
Day 4Hachinohe/TowadaAomoriTatehana Wharf Morning Market
Hasshoku Center
Towada City Government Office Street
Towada Art center
Day 5HirosakiAomoriHirosaki Castle and Hirosaki Park
Fujita Memorial Garden
Ōtemon Square – Miniature Structures
Former Tōō Gijuku Missionary Residence and its cafe
Day 6AomoriAomoriGappo Park
Showa Daibutsu
Aomori Museum of Art
A-FACTORY
Aomori Prefecture Tourism Information Center ASPAM
Day 7MoriokaMoriokaMalios Observatory
Morioka-jō Castle Site Park & Sakurayama Shrine
Iwachu
Kōgensha
Day 8MoriokaMoriokaTsunagi Onsen
Morioka Handi-Works Square
Azumaya Honten
Day 9MoriokaIchinosekiFukuda Pan
Hōonji Temple
Nanshōsō
Kenji Shimizu Water Fountain
Morioka Hachimangū Shrine
Day 10IchinosekiTokyoGenbikei Gorge
Sake Brewery Sekinoichi
Shōeidō
The Former Numata Family Samurai Residence
Day 11KawagoeKawagoe
Day 12TokorozawaTokyoTokorozawa Kitada Strawberry Farm
Kadokawa Musashino Museum
Day 13KichijōjiTokyo
Day 14Tokyo
Summary of the 14-Day Itinerary in the Tōhoku Region

Tips:
☛ Get the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area) and use it from Day 1 to Day 5 for this itinerary.
☛ If you want to dress in Kimono (the traditional costume) during this trip, do it when you visit Kawagoe. And for the itinerary above, make sure your Day 11 or Day 12 is on the 8th, the 18th, or the 28th of the month. These three days of the month are Kawagoe’s Kimono Day. Dressing in Kimono on these three days means you can get special perks or discounts at participating shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Day 1 – Arriving Tokyo

Haneda/Narita Airport ⇒ Tokyo ⇒ Sendai

The trip to Japan’s Northeastern region starts on Day 1. Depending on when your flight arrives, you may or may not have time for proper sightseeing on the first day. If you arrive in the afternoon, take the bullet train straight to Sendai so you can take the first bullet train to Kakunodate on Day 2.

If you are unsure how to travel from Haneda/Narita Airport to Tokyo, refer to the below.

If you haven’t already, reserve and purchase a bullet train ticket to Sendai and from Sendai to Kakunodate.

Day 2 – Kakunodate

Sendai ⇒ Kakunodate ⇒ Sendai

Because Kakunodate is around 1.5 to 2 hours from Sendai by the bullet train, it is best if you can take the first or the second train bond for Kakunodate from Sendai to maximize your time there.

The Hinokinaigawa Tsutsumi Park and the Bukeyashiki Street (武家屋敷通り) in Kakunodate is another famous cherry blossom spot in the Tōhoku region. This is why it is worthwhile to spend around 50 minutes on the bullet train to travel to the town in Akita Prefecture in early spring.

Besides cherry blossoms, you can explore the old samurai residences on Bukeyashiki Street. You can even change into the traditional costume in one of them!

For more information, refer to our article on Kakunodate!

Hinokinaigawa-Tsutsumi-Park-Kakunodate-Akita-Japan-
© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

Day 3 – Sendai and Hachinohe

Sendai ⇒ Hachinohe

Sendai is Tōhoku region‘s biggest city. Besides Sendai Castle, it is where you can adore one of the area’s most amazingly built temples. The level of details that go into the architecture in Zuihōden Temple is astonishing.

The city also have a couple of good cafes that are worthwhile to visit for the famous Zunda-related desserts. After taking a rest, you can head to Sendai Daikannon to see the gigantic Kannon Bodhisattva statue.

For more information about the attractions in the city, refer to our Sendai article!

Statue-of-Date-Masamune-Sendai-Castle-Sendai-Miyagi-Japan-1
Ⓒ photo-ac.com

If you are Hanyu Yuzuru’s fan, you can also refer to our article on a Pilgrimage to Hanyu Yuzuru’s Hometown!

In the late afternoon, take the bullet train to Hachinohe and visit Hachinohe Yataimura Miroku Yokochō for dinner.

Tip: It is better to book your hotel close to Hachinohe Station. If you stay close to Hon-Hachinohe Station, it is more troublesome on Day 4 that you can’t head straight to Hachinohe Station from Tatehana Wharf Morning Market for the bullet train if you choose to leave your luggage at your hotel.

Day 4 – Hachinohe and Towada

Hachinohe ⇒ Towada ⇒ Aomori

If you want to see the cherry blossom in Towada, you won’t have much time to explore Hachinohe during this trip. But if your Day 4 falls on a Sunday, visit Tatehana Wharf Morning Market in the early morning. It is Japan’s biggest morning market and you will have fun there.

The morning market concludes at 9 am. So, it is best to get there by 7:30 am. If you want to maximize your time at Towada, get up early and take the first train to the market.

Tatehana Wharf Morning Market Hachinohe Aomori Japan
Towada-City-Government-Office-Street-Spring-Towada-Aomori-Japan
Ⓒ 十和田市

After you are back from the morning market, take a bus to Towada. With a JR Pass, you can take the Oirase-Gō for free. But note the service is infrequent. The other option is by taking the local bus, which have more services during the day.

Towada is one of the top cherry blossom spots in Aomori. The Towada City Government Office Street (十和田市官庁街通り) is just breathtaking during the cherry blossom season.

You can also visit Towada Art center for interesting Contemporary arts.

Once you are back to Hachinohe, take the bullet train to Aomori. We recommend staying close to Aomori Station as getting to other destinations in the prefecture is easier. But you can also stay close to Shin-Aomori Station, where the bullet train arrives and departs from.

If you don’t want to visit Towada, head to Tanesashi Coast after the morning market. Trekking through the 5.2 km Coastal Exploration Trail is a relaxing way to enjoy the stunning coastline. Apart from the sandy beach, it has a natural lawn covering a large part of the Tanesashi Coast!

For more information, refer to our Hachinohe article!

Day 5 – Hirosaki

Aomori ⇒ Hirosaki ⇒ Aomori
Hirosaki-Park-Cherry-Blossom-Festival-Aomori-Japan
Ⓒ Aomori Prefecture

It takes around 45 minutes to travel from Aomori to Hirosaki by train. Thus, start your day as early as possible.

Hirosaki Park is the best cherry blossom destination in the Tōhoku region. Although it will be crowded, the cherry blossom scenery there is worth the hassle.

Besides the cherry blossom, you can also explore the city’s historical architecture and cultural properties. The city that produces the most apples in Japan is also renowned for its delicious apple pies.

For more information, refer to our article on Hirosaki.

Day 6 – Aomori

Aomori

The off-the-beaten-path spot in Aomori city for cherry blossom is Gappo Park. Because the 670 cherry trees bloom beautifully from late April to early May, it is one of the Aomori Spring Festival’s venues. You can also visit Namioka Castle Ruins. This spot is in the rural part of the city and is unlikely to be packed.

If you are tired of flower hunting, visit a couple of museums in the city center. Or even the Sannai Maruyama Special Historical Site, a recent addition to the World Heritage list!

For more information, refer to our Aomori article!

Gappo-Park-Aomori-Japan
Ⓒ 青森県観光連盟

Day 7 and 8 – Morioka

Aomori ⇒ Morioka ⇒ Ichinoseki

Depending on how much you want to explore Morioka on Day 7, your departing time from Aomori for Morioka differs. Just note it takes around 50 minutes to travel from Shin-Aomori Station to Morioka Station.

It is best to stay close to Morioka Station from Day 7 to Day 9 because you will use it as a base to explore other cities that aren’t too far away.

Morioka, a city famous for wanko soba noodles, also has a couple of cherry blossom spots. But it will be the end of the cherry blossom season by the time you get to Morioka and there won’t be many flowers on the tree.

That said, the city has many interesting attractions you can visit, including Iwachu, where you can see a cast iron pot made on the spot. Remember to confirm with the company when this happens. Although the workshop is open on weekdays when the craftsmen work throughout the day, they spend most of their time fixing the mold used to make cast iron pots.

Sakurayama-Shrine-With-Cherry-Blossom-Morioka-Iwate-Japan

For a relaxing visit, you can head to one of the cafes in the city for an afternoon tea between attractions. Then, visit Azumaya Honten for Wanko Soba for dinner. Just note the Wonko Soba restaurants in Morioka don’t provide vegan dipping sauce. If you are strict with your diet, bring your own.

For more information about Morioka, refer to our article on What to Do and See at Iwate’s Capital City!

In the late afternoon on Day 9, take a bullet train to Ichinoseki from Morioka. Book your hotel close to Ichinoseki Station to make Day 10 easier.

Day 10 – Ichinoseki

Morioka ⇒ Ichinoseki ⇒ Tokyo

When you are ready to explore on Day 10, take a local train/bus to Genbikei Gorge and/or Geibikei Gorge. While the two attractions are both natural valleys, their characteristics differ from each other.

Note: It takes 40 minutes to get to Ichinoseki Station from Morioka Station by bullet train.

The promenade at Genbikei Gorge allows you to trek through the gorge. It is also where you can see mochi rice cakes “flying” across the bank. On the other hand, at Geibikei Gorge, a traditional boat will take you to the other end of the deep valley.

Genbikei-Gorge
Ⓒ photo-ac.com/
Geibikei-Gorge-Boat-Ride-Iwate-Japan
Ⓒ photo-ac.com/

The local specialty at Ichinoseki also differs from Morioka. The mochi rice cake cuisine here is a must-try. And the good news is, a few restaurants can cater to the vegan diet!

For more information, refer to our article on Ichinoseki!

In the late afternoon on Day 10, take a bullet train to Ikebukuro from Ichinoseki. Book your hotel close to Ikebukuro Station to make Day 11 easier.

Day 11 – Kawagoe

Ikebukuro ⇒ Kawagoe

Most trains bound for Kawagoe stops at Ikebukuro. This is why you want to stay close to Ikebukuro Station on Day 10. We suggest to stay in the same hotel on Day 10 and Day 12. The hotel will most likely allow you to store your luggage for a day when you are in Kawagoe.

Known as Little Edo (小江戸), Kawagoe is where you can enjoy both the traditional vibes and conveniences of a modern city! Walking in the town will make you feel like you have traveled back in time to the Edo and the Meiji/Taisho periods. Recognized as Saitama Prefecture’s Historical City, Kawagoe houses many historical and cultural properties.

On top of that, there are many delicious street food shops, cafes, and restaurants that you would want to stop by when you visit the retro district of Kawagoe!

For more information, refer to our article on Kawagoe!

Toki-no-Kane-Kawagoe-Saitama-Japan
Ⓒ photo-ac.com/

If you are interested in modern architecture, visit Kadokawa Musashino Museum close by. You will definitely be amazed by the building’s appearance. And don’t call it a day after seeing the museum’s magnificent exterior. The 8-meter tall hall with all the walls covered by bookshelves is the must-see in the building!

Day 13 – Tokorozawa

Kawagoe ⇒ Tokorozawa ⇒ Ikebukuro

Tokorozawa’s most famous attraction is the Kadokawa Musashino Museum. The must-see in the museum is the Bookshelf Theater on levels four and five. While the name doesn’t sound too exciting, wait until you see the 8-meter tall hall with all the walls covered by bookshelves filled with more than 20,000 books!

In addition to the Kadokawa Musashino Museum, you can spend a few hours fruit-picking. Refer to our article on Fruit-picking in Tokorozawa for more information!

The-Bookshelf-Theater-in-Kadokawa-Musashino-Museum-Tokorozawa-Saitama-Japan

Day 13 – Tokyo

Kichijōji

Day 13 is reserved for anything you want to do in Tokyo before departing on Day 14. Leave all the shopping to the end of the trip so you won’t need to drag heavy suitcases around! If you are unsure where to go, consider Kichijōji. It is a quieter area in Tokyo with many boutique shops and restaurants. We particular love the unique cafes here!

Coffee at Hattifnatt Vegan-Friendly Cafe Kichijoji Tokyo Japan

Refer to our Kichijōji article for ideas about what to do there!

Other destinations close to Tokyo include Kamakura, Enoshima, Mt. Fuji/Kawaguchiko, and Hakone are all popular places to visit for a day trip from Tokyo!

Day 14 – Tokyo and Departure

Tokyo ⇒ Haneda/Narita Airport

Depending on when your flight departs, you may or may not have time for proper sightseeing on the last day. If your flight leaves in the morning, staying close to a station with a direct train or near a limousine bus stop to the airport is best.

For example, we usually stay close to Ueno Station if we fly from Narita Airport. Keisei’s Skyliner is a lot cheaper than Narita Express. If you fly from Haneda Airport, consider staying around Shinagawa Station so you can take Keikyu’s airport line.

Planning to Spend More than 14 Days in Japan? Check Out the Itinerary to Other Parts of Japan!

If you have more than 14 days to spend in Japan and are struggling to decide where to visit next, we have a couple more itineraries to other parts of Japan with fascinating attractions!

Please refer to our Japan Itinerary Category for more information!

Miyajimas-Autumn-Foliage-Japan
Click the photo for itineraries to other parts of Japan!

2 thoughts on “The Best Cherry Blossom 14-Day Itinerary in the Tōhoku Region”

  1. Hi,

    I am interested in your “The Best Cherry Blossom 14 day Itinerary in the Tohoku Region”.
    Is there a pass that I can consider for this itinerary?
    I have assumed that this itinerary can be done via public transport as I do not intend to drive.
    My current plan is to fly into Tokyo Narita Airport ETA 9am 17 Apr, and out of Tokyo Narita on 29 Apr ETD 5pm.
    Thank you for your help.

    Rgds,
    seok

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