In the northern part of Japan, Kuroishi City is a winter wonderland for all snow enthusiasts. Kuroishi City itself is about a 30-minute car ride from Shin-Aomori station. So grab your snow gear in one hand, coffee with the other, and brace yourself for a one of a kind experience.
There are plenty of talkative locals and delicious restaurants throughout Kuroishi City. You can also shred the powder by day and relax in a soothing hot spring by night.
“We can sum up the city of Kuroishi into three words: snow, hot springs, and culture.”
| Kuroishi City-Snow
Near Kuroishi City stands the 1585-meter Hakkoda Mountain. This spectacular mountain is known to winter sports enthusiasts for its number of back-country trails. All of these trails come with their own set of challenges, making each trail an adventure. Hakkoda Ski Resort has a simple “pay as you go” ski lift system that gives you the freedom to decide how many times you go down the mountain while staying within your budget.
| Kuroishi City-Toji
There are as many as 3,000 onsens, “hot springs” in English, throughout Japan. These hot springs are especially great for relaxing and recovering after a long day. Another great property of hot springs is their healing purposes. The practice of dipping into a mineral-rich hot spring for its healing purposes is called toji in Japanese. Japan once believed that the hot springs were once could cure over 40,000 different illnesses. They were originally discovered many centuries ago but were used primarily in the Edo period to get rid of body fatigue.
Also! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before and after your bath, staying hydrated is an important part of visiting a hot spring. Some simple rules to keep in mind are:
- Take off all your clothes.
- Take a quick shower.
- Relax in the bath.
| Kuroishi City-Culture
Kuroishi City has made efforts to preserve its buildings’ structures that date back before the Edo period. One particular structure that has been recognized by Japan in the “Top one-hundred streets of Japan” is Komise Street. You can preview how life once was in Kuroishi City. There are still many restaurants, sake-breweries, and local shops that are fully operating within Komise street.
Wait, there’s more! Other activities to experience in Kuroishi City are kokeshi doll-making, Tsugaru Shamisen, and the nightlife.
The kokeshi doll originated in Tohoku, the northern part of Japan. Kuroishi City has made its own version of the kokeshi doll that you can spot all throughout the city. You can paint your own doll at Tsugaru Kokeshi Museum for less than 1,000yen.
When you finish beautifying your kokeshi doll, make sure to visit the next building over called Tsugaru Traditional Craft Centre. Here, you can make your own Tsugaru lacquer chopsticks. Making your own chopsticks take about 30 minutes to make. They also make great souvenirs! There are many variations of Tsugaru lacquers, with the primary idea consists of painting an object with up to 40 different shades of paint. The spotted pattern is created by sanding down the paint. Some patterns use rice and other grains as in-between shades to give it a special design in the end.
| Kuroishi City-Night Life
After all of these activities, you are bound to be hungry! Don’t worry, Kuroishi City has you covered. Head over to Tako Grill restaurant and enjoy a variety of fresh-caught fish, cut by a professional chef who had his own restaurant in Washington D.C. Tako is Japanese for “octopus,” so of course, the specialty of this restaurant is octopus. The chef’s lively appearance shocked the room as he strategically detached the suckers from an octopus’ full-length tentacles. He then washed them off and slammed each sucker on the plate. It was a fun experience seeing him smile as he did it.
After you finish pleasing your stomach, you can head over to a local bar, also known as an izakaya in Japanese. There are many of these izakaya bars to choose from, one I recommend is called Dream. No matter what part of Japan you visit, there will always be an izakaya bar nearby. Izakaya bars are perfect for getting an insider’s view of the local nightlife. Izakaya bars come in different shapes and sizes, and they normally carry an array of drinks to choose from and have a calming atmosphere. The one I went to had karaoke as an option!
There is lots more to do in Kuroishi City. You just need to come and experience the rest for yourself. The city of Kuroishi welcomes you with open arms to its winter wonderland.
For an even cosier experience, stay at a Japanese guesthouse in Kuroishi City. Live life like the locals at STAY JAPAN.