Aomori Bay: The convergence of culture and tradition

With the Aomori City harbor on one side and Tsugaru Peninsula on the opposite side, Aomori Bay is a nexus of Nebuta floats and shamisen music, towered over by one in all the prefecture’s longest bridges.

Aomori is legendary for its lantern-lit Nebuta Festival, which traditionally draws up to 3 million visitors annually. Nonetheless, several distinguished landmarks are inside the city’s bayside area, including the triangle-shaped Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center, ASPM and the soaring Aomori Bay Bridge, designed to convey an identical “A for Aomori” appearance with its suspension cables.

Strolling along the boardwalk will take you right up next to the bridge, which has a windy lookout point and an open-air promenade accessible via stairs. From it, you’ll have an elevated view of the Hakkoda-Maru Memorial Ship, which once ferried passengers and trains across the bay to Hokkaido. It now serves as a museum, complete with intact railway cars in its lower hold.

Hakkoda-Maru from a unique perspective. Photo: Joshua Meyer

Waves from the bay lap up against the bogus “A-Beach,” short for Aomori Ekimae (“Station-Front”) Beach. The Nebuta Museum and A-Factory market sure the beach, each popular tourist spots where you’ll be able to see parade floats from the festival on display and sip cider produced in-house with local Aomori apples.

Outside the museum, where the sand ends and the pavement begins, you’ll often find shamisen players drawing a small crowd amongst the assorted food vendors. The music offers a touch of history across the bay on the eastern coast of the Tsugaru Peninsula.

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