Map of Japan
Situated in the mountains of northern Honshu, this trackless site includes the last virgin remains of the cool-temperate forest of Siebold's beech trees that once covered the hills and mountain slopes of northern Japan. The black bear, the serow and 87 species of birds can be found in this forest. (read more at UNESCO's official site)
(Added 1993 as a Natural Heritage Site)
Hiraizumi - Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land comprises five sites, including the sacred Mount Kinkeisan. It features vestiges of government offices dating from the 11th and 12th centuries when Hiraizumi was the administrative centre of the northern realm of Japan and rivalled Kyoto. The realm was based on the cosmology of Pure Land Buddhism, which spread to Japan in the 8th century. It represented the pure land of Buddha that people aspire to after death, as well as peace of mind in this life. In combination with indigenous Japanese nature worship and Shintoism, Pure Land Buddhism developed a concept of planning and garden design that was unique to Japan. (read more at UNESCO's official site)
(Added 2011 as a Cultural Heritage Site)
Tohoku Food Specialities
Gyu-tan (Beef Tongue)
Grilled beef tongue is a popular Sendai dish that traces its origins back to 1948. Savory, tender and juicy, gyu-tan can now be found nationwide at yakiniku restaurants.
A dish from Akita Prefecture that involves bbq-ing rice dumplings on skewers.
Tohoku Events / Festivals
Sendai Tanabata Star Festival
Dating back over 400 years, this August festival sees Sendai decorated with huge bamboo poles draped with colorful bamboo streamers, while visitors can also enjoy parades, concerts and fireworks among the many attractions on show.
Aomori Nebuta Festival and Hirosaki Neputa Festival
Huge, brightly decorated papier-mache dolls illuminate the streets of Aomori and Hirosaki, while participants dance along to the beat of the drums.
Akita Lantern Festival
A spectacular summer festival to give hope for an abundant harvest, the people of Akita create gigantic bamboo frames from which they hang 46 lanterns to be carried through the streets by vociferous participants dressed in traditional matsuri costumes.
Yamagata Hanagasa Flower-Hat Festival
Over 10,000 dancers perform traditional moves with hanagasa (flower hats) while floats lead the way through the streets of Yamagata City and taiko drums provide the accompanying beats.
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