- Canoe and raft near Nishimeya village
- Experience a blend of Western and Japanese horse cultures
- Pedal, paddle, and saddle
- Embark upon a snowsports park adventure
- Go snowshoe trekking in Hakkoda
- Explore Juniko Lake's winter activities
Aomori Prefecture in the north of Honshu receives a lot of attention for its pristine powder snow, but there's more to do in the area in addition to skiing and snowboarding. You will find hot springs and extreme snow experiences, along with many summer activities in the beautiful streams and lakes.
Ride horses, paddle canoes and duck boats (similar to kayaks), and experience a different type of triathlon suited for nearly all ages and activity levels.
A'Grove Canoe & Rafting
Your starting point for summer outdoor adventures in and around the Shirakami Mountains in Aomori Prefecture can be Nishimeya Village, about one and a half hours from Aomori Airport. Even if you've never paddled a canoe or river raft, you can try an exciting river or lake adventure.
With well-designed water experiences, A'Grove Canoe & Rafting in Nishimeya Village offers rafters and canoers of all ages and experience levels a way to enjoy the water. Small and large group trips are available for river rafting.
A'Grove provides river rafting on the Iwaki River. River raft tours last about an hour and a half, with peaceful river views of nature along with some exciting but safe river rapid experiences. Rafts can accommodate families or groups along with a guide. Ducky canoes are also available for Iwaki River trips. These canoes are similar to kayaks and accommodate two people.
A'Grove also offers lake canoeing at Tsugarushirakamiko, the man-made lake in Nishimeya Village. This lake offers peaceful waters and stunning natural views. Kayak experiences can accommodate families, groups, couples, and individuals. A'Grove also offers business group trips on the lake along with guided tours around the lake and surrounding streams. At times, A'Grove also offers dog canoe touring for dogs and their humans, available at selected times. A'Grove river and lake tours are closed during the winter months, but A'Grove offers a snow rafting experience, where the river rafts are pulled through snow trails behind a snowmobile, which is available for safe and enjoyable snow play.
A'Grove does not offer language translation so if you do not speak Japanese, be sure to take a guide or translator to enjoy tour experiences.
Misawa Horse Park
Established in 2016, Misawa Horse Park blends the horse riding traditions of Japan and the United States. The horseback riding center is approximately 20 minutes from Misawa City by car (as well as close to Misawa Airport). While at Misawa City, you are also at the shore of Lake Ogawara, and Misawa Horse Park offers lakeside riding trails along with trails throughout the grass-covered horse fields.
According to Misawa Horse Park founder Andreana Anderson, Misawa is one of the centers of horse culture in Japan, with a tradition dating back over 700 years. Horseback riding experiences are available for all experience levels, from beginner to advanced.
Lessons ranging from 30 to 45 minutes are available for children and adults, available on weekdays 4500 yen - adults and 3500 yen - children), and on weekends for an additional 500 yen per session. A trial lesson is available for 2500 yen. Horse trekking is also available on weekdays, weekends, and holidays starting at 9000 yen for rides through the field trails, ranging up to 14000 yen for rides through Lake Ogawara trails. For those just learning about horses, Misawa Horse Park provides modestly-priced (500 yen) lead rein rides and opportunities to feed the horses.
Also based in Misawa Horse Park, families, couples, and athletes alike can enjoy a combination of horseback riding, canoeing, and bicycle riding. Bicycle riding is popular throughout the summer in Aomori Prefecture, although it is not recommended during the winter months. Misawa Horse Park is one venue where you can experience bicycling along with canoeing on Lake Ogawara and bicycling through nearby roads and trails.
Both a triathlon and biathlon (canoeing and horseback riding) are available for elementary school ages and above. The total travel distance for the eco-friendly triathlon experience is approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Prices start at 25,000 yen per person, and tours include the cost of canoes, horseback riding, and bicycles. Misawa Horse Park also offers group experiences combining yoga, horseback riding, and mental coaching that includes learning communication skills from interacting with horses.
Skiing? Of course! But the many resorts and pristine wilderness areas of Aomori Prefecture also provide other snow activities for different ability levels, interests, and ages.
Aomori Spring Ski Resort and Rockwood Hotel
With over a dozen ski resorts in Aomori Prefecture, you are certain to find an enjoyable winter experience in the area. In addition to skiing and snowboarding down powdery slopes, X-Games enthusiasts can build their skills at a well-equipped snowpark for extreme winter sports. Aomori Spring Ski Resort and Rockwood Hotel have a snowpark that starts with an airbag jump for snowboarders learning to jump and ride pipes. The park also features boxes and rails, a half-pipe, and a 22-foot superpipe, which is one of only a few in Japan.
Snowpark skill camps at Aomori Spring Ski Resort are designed for different skill levels, up to and including high-performance training. The camps are all-inclusive and include breakfast and dinner at Rockwood Hall, along with lunch at the Mountain Cafe or Ramen House. With personal coaching and transportation offered from Aomori Airport or the train station, it is easy to reach the resort, and while there, all lift tickets are included. If you are in one of the camp packages, you will have day and night access to trails, the halfpipe, and park areas.
Suganuma Snowshoes Tour
The area around Mt. Hakkoda is one of the snowiest in Aomori Prefecture and all of Japan. But, you can walk through the snow with the aid of snowshoes and an experienced guide. No experience is necessary for the snowshoe tour, though participants should be age seven or older. Prices start at 7,700 yen on weekdays and 8,800 yen on weekends for adults (3,850 yen for children). Reservations of at least seven days in advance are required. Tour guides speak Japanese only so translators or guides are required for non-Japanese speakers.
Juniko Visitor Center
Did you know that Mt. Shirakami, the World Heritage Site that overlooks Juniko Lake (in reality over 30 lakes), is the inspiration for the forest featured in the famous animated film Princess Mononoke? You may find activities throughout the year in and around Juniko Lake. However, in winter, snowshoe adventures are popular. Tours for adults and children using traditionally-made bamboo snowshoes are available for 3,000 yen per person through the Juniko Forest by reservation.
Visit Aomori Prefecture using the JAL Japan Explorer Pass to Aomori Airport or Misawa Airport in both winter and summer to enjoy some of the most pristine and beautiful landscapes in Honshu.
Aomori cuisine is one of its many hidden treasures. No matter where you go in Aomori, you'll have a great food experience.
Known for its history, cuisine, and unrivaled nature views, Aomori is the northernmost prefecture in Japan’s Tohoku region.
Aomori is a destination to explore World Heritage Site Mt. Shirakami as well as many other beautiful natural areas like Juniko Lakes and Juniko Forest.