Hachinohe (八戸) , a mid-sized port city in Aomori, is a stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen line and an embarkation point for ferries bound for Tomakomai on the island of Hokkaido.
The Tohoku Shinkansen provides hourly service from Tokyo station to Hachinohe. Trains are all-reserved and are known as Hayate (はやて) trains. The trains only stop at major stations such as Ueno, Omiya, Sendai and Morioka prior to reaching Hachinohe, then continue on to Aomori.
Hayate trains from Tokyo reach Hachinohe in three hours and cost ¥15,400 each way. For foreign tourists making the trip from Tokyo, the better deal is to purchase a JR East Rail Pass or the national Japan Rail Pass. Beware that the Hayate trains are coupled to Akita-bound Komachi trains, which split at Morioka (sometimes Sendai), so be sure you’re in the right train and car when boarding.
Also, if you’re living in Japan it would be a good idea to watch out for the Hachinohe-Higairi (Hachinohe-Day-Trip) package offered by JR. This can be booked at the JTB or View Plaza counters at most major JR Stations.
Typically, during the winter season, the rail trip tickets are discounted to ¥10,000 (return tickets) and they have extra options such as shopping tour (extra ¥2,300) or the onsen trip (¥1,600) (hot spring bath).
Hachinohe has an extensive train and bus system, all using the same station as the bullet train. The buses require some Japanese reading ability. There are always plenty of taxis parked outside of the train station as well. The city is a bit spread out, so walking to many destinations could be time consuming.
- 1 Hachinohe City Museum (八戸市博物館), 35-1 Aza-Higashigamae, Oaza Nejo, Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture 〒039-1166, Japan, ☎+81 178-44-8111. 09:00-17:00 (entry until 16:30). Closed on Mondays (except the first Monday of the month and national holidays), the day after a national holiday (but open if on a Saturday or Sunday), and New Year holidays. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of Hachinohe from the four exhibition corners that cover archeology, history, folklore, and intangible materials of Hachinohe. Adults ¥250, senior high school/university students ¥150, elementary/junior high school students ¥50. Ticket package for the City Museum and Nejo Castle Grounds is available.
- 1 Nejo Castle Grounds (根城), 47 Aza-Nejo, Oaza Nejo, Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture 〒039-1166, Japan, ☎+81 178-41-1726. 09:00-17:00 (entry until 16:30). Closed on Mondays (except the first Monday of the month and national holidays), the day after a national holiday (but open if on a Saturday or Sunday), and New Year holidays. This historic site shows the estate of Nanbu Moroyuki in its entirety, reconstructed for the first time in Japan based on the excavation research of the remains of Nejo Castle, which was built by Moroyuki in 1334. The reconstruction allows visitors to look back on the daily life of Lord Moroyuki in the castle, which played a central role in the governing of the Northern Ou region in the Middle Ages. Adults ¥250, senior high school/university students ¥150, elementary/junior high school students ¥50. Ticket package for the City Museum and Nejo Castle Grounds is available.
- 1 Kushihiki Hachiman-gu Shrine (櫛引八幡宮), 3 Aza-Hachiman-cho, Yawata, Hachinohe, ☎+81 178-27-3053, fax: +81 178-27-0652. 09:00-17:00. Open year-round. The shrine is believed to have been founded by Nanbu Mitsuyuki, the first lord of the Nanbu family who was granted the Nukanobu province to rule as his fief in the Kamakura period by Minamoto no Yoritomo in return for his conquest of the Oshu region. It is worshipped as the major guardian shrine of the Nanbu family. A number of important national cultural properties and prefectural treasures, including the Red-Thread-Embroidered Armor and the White-Thread-Embroidered Armor, are kept in the shrine’s Treasure Museum.
- 1 Korekawa Jomon Museum (是川縄文館), ☎+81 178-38-9511, fax: +81 178-96-5392, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-17:00 (entry until 16:30). Closed on Mondays (except the first Monday of the month and national holidays), the day after a national holiday (but open if on a Saturday or Sunday), and New Year holidays. An archeological site from the Jomon period that is famous throughout Japan, the Korekawa Ruins consists of three sub-sites (i.e., Nakai, Hotta, and Ichioji) and is located inside the museum. Wooden products that are excellent works of art (e.g., lacquerware products and bows, goggle-eyed clay figurines) have been excavated from the site. Visitors can learn about Jomon culture at the Korekawa Jomon Museum.
- 1 Kabushima Island (蕪島) (get off at the train station called Same). The island is designated as a national natural monument and is the only breeding ground black-tailed gulls where visitors can observe their nests from a short distance. From late February till early August, the island resonates with the cries of more than 30,000 gulls that come to breed. The nearby and scenic Kabushima Benzaiten (蕪島弁財天) shrine overlooks the ocean.
- 1 Tanesashi Coast (種差海岸). A coastline that contains a wide variety of nature’s expressions throughout the four seasons. Notable areas include Nakasuka, where various seaside plants and wildflowers bloom; the Yodo Pine Grove, where the pine grove makes an excellent contrast with the ocean; and the Tanesashi Natural Lawn, where natural grass spreads to the water’s edge–a rare sight in Japan. Have a picnic or enjoy the delicious soft serve ice cream available across the street. Beach areas are also prevalent. Finally, there are several surf breaks located on this stretch of coast. A local train services the coast, but the local bus (100 yen per ride) offers better views and more stops where you can drop for a walk between bus stops. Visit the information center for an introduction to the wonders of the coast and Hashikami area. It also hosts seasonal hands-on events and free rest stop facilities.