GoshogawaraAomori prefecture in Japan.
By planeThe nearest airport is Aomori, which is about 40 minutes away by car. There are no direct buses to Goshogawara from the airport; those using public transport must take the buses to either Hirosaki or Aomori. Taxis to Goshogawara cost ¥7600.
By trainThe JR Gonō Line provides rail access to Goshogawara. Most trains run from Hirosaki (50min, ¥500), which is where to change if coming from Ōdate, Noshiro and Akita.
If coming from Aomori (or Shin-Aomori, the nearest Shinkansen station), take a local train towards Hirosaki and change at Kawabe, which is where Gonō Line trains actually leave the Ōu Main Line. With a reasonable connection, this should take 1hr 10mins and cost ¥970 (if you stick to local trains).
By long-distance busGoshogawara is served by two overnight bus services from Tokyo:
- The Nocturne runs from Yokohama Station East Exit and Hamamatsuchō Bus Terminal, taking 10hrs 45mins and costing up to ¥10,900 (cheaper outside peak periods; return tickets available). Operated by Kōnan Bus and Keikyū Bus.
- The Panda runs from Shinjuku and Kajibashi (5 minutes walk from Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit, on Sotobori Dōri), taking 10hrs 30mins and costing up to ¥6500 (cheaper outside peak periods). Operated by Kōnan Bus.
- If you're wondering why this bus is so cheap, it's because it does not have toilets on board; you will have to wait for one of the scheduled rest breaks along the Tōhoku Expressway.
If taking the bus from Sendai or Morioka, services to Hirosaki are more frequent than to Aomori.
By local busKōnan Bus run buses from Aomori, which are direct and more frequent than the train; these take 1hr 25mins from Aomori Station Stop 9 (1hr 5mins from Shin-Aomori Station South Exit Stop 2), and cost ¥1090 (¥1040 from Shin-Aomori).
They also run buses from Hirosaki, but these are less frequent than the train.
Tachineputa HallThis museum is dedicated to Goshogawara City’s Tachineputa Festival. Although similar in origin to other area neputa/nebuta festivals, the 70 foot tall floats that dwarf most city buildings as they parade through the streets make this version quite unique. The Tachineputa Hall has several floats from previous years on display, as well as hands-on areas where visitors can make their own miniature floats, Tsugaru kites, or Japanese fans. Visitors who come during the months leading up to the festival are encouraged to assist the float builders as they affix paper to the wire frames of the floats. The lounge on the top floor is a great place to grab something to eat while enjoying a great view of the area. On a clear day, both Mt. Iwaki and the Hakkoda Mountains are visible, and visiting after dark provides a great view of the city lights. The small art gallery on the 2nd floor mainly features local artists.
address: 412-1 Asahiyama, Kanagi-machi, Goshogawara CityThe writer's childhood home. An important cultural property built in the Meiji Period. Quite a large old house of interest to history and architecture buffs as well as Dazai fans.
Tsugaru Shamisen Halladdress: 189-3 Asahiyama, Kanagi-machi, Goshogawara CityA museum dedicated to the Tsugaru version of the three-stringed Japanese lute.
address: Goshogawara City, Downtown AreaOne of the most spectacular summer festivals in the region, Goshogawara Tachineputa is famous for its gigantic floats. Measuring 70 feet tall and weighing more than seventeen tons, the floats dwarf most of the surrounding buildings as they parade through the city streets. In addition to revelers yelling "yatte-mare, yatte-mare!", the parade procession is made up of taiko drum performances on gigantic drums, traditional hand dances, and even the occasional Japanese jester. This amazing festival and its rich history dating back to the early 1900s were almost lost due to devastating fires that ravaged the city. The festival had all but disappeared when photographs and plans of the original floats were rediscovered in 1993. A small but dedicated group of citizens were determined to revive the festival to its original glory, and in 1998, after nearly 80 years of absence, Tachineputa floats once again paraded through the city streets.