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.
There are also various local, rapid, and limited express trains to Aomori and other points in Tohoku.
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).
By busTowada Kanko Bus and Kokusai Kogyo bus operate an overnight bus service to Hachinohe from Tokyo Station and Ikebukuro (9 hours from Tokyo Station, ¥9500 one way, ¥17100 round trip).
phone: +81 178-44-8111address: 35-1 Aza-Higashigamae, Oaza Nejo, Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture 〒039-1166, JapanVisitors can learn about the history and culture of Hachinohe from the four exhibition corners that cover archeology, history, folklore, and intangible materials of Hachinohe.
phone: +81 178-41-1726address: 47 Aza-Nejo, Oaza Nejo, Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture 〒039-1166, JapanThis 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.
phone: +81 178-27-3053address: 3 Aza-Hachiman-cho, Yawata, HachinoheThe 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.
phone: +81 178-38-9511An 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.
Kabushima IslandThe 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.
Tanesashi CoastA 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 edgea 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.
Enburi FestivalEnburi dance is a folk art representative of the Hachinohe area. The 800-year-old dance is offered to deities as a prayer for a rich harvest. Dancers called tayu swing gorgeous eboshi hats in the shape of horse heads. Over 30 Enburi teams perform traditional dances around Hachinohe City from February 17 through 20 every year. Between tayu dances, children perform celebratory dances like enko-enko and ebisu-mai.
Sansha Taisai (三社大祭)Held every year from July 31 through August 4, this is Japan's largest float festival. The five days of celebration focus around a huge parade each day featuring 27 enormous and intricately decorated and articulated floats. The festival started in 1721, when a portable shrine was transmigrated from Ogami Shrine to Chojasan Kokuzo Shrine (now known as Chojasan Shinra Shrine) to offer prayers for rich harvests and to show gratitude to the gods. It is held as a festival of three shirnes, including Shinmeigu Shrine. Along with the float parade, spectacles like a parade of ancient portable shrines, tiger dances, and sacred dances for Shinto deities entertain the audience.
Kagami-style Japanese Polo GameThis traditional Japanese polo game is held at Chojasan Shinra Shrine on the middle day (August 2) of the Sansha Taisai Festival. The game was first played in 1827 by Nanbu Nobumasa, the eighth lord of the Hachinohe domain. It is a precious tradition in contemporary Japan, played only in Hachinohe, the Imperial Household Agency, and Yamagata Prefecture.
Appi KogenAppi is about an hour south of Hachinohe in Iwate Prefecture — head south on the toll road. It has amazing skiing and snowboarding in winter and is a perfect mountain for intermediate riders. There is also hiking, beautiful scenery, and various other outdoor activities to enjoy during the remainder of the year. Onsens and restaurants are also plentiful.
OnsenThere are many onsens in the city, but one of the biggest and most famous is called Gokuraku. It is located next to Yamadenki which is close to the Pia Do shopping mall. Here you can enjoy many different baths, good food, great ice cream, incredible massages for a decent price and also next to the onsen is a great vegetarian buffet restaurant worth checking out. The price for this onsen is ¥420.
Nagane Athletic CenterThis athletic center is just west of downtown (close to Hon-Hachinohe station). It has an old, but functional gym (¥100 per hour, showers ¥60), with treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights, nautilus machines, and a table tennis area. There is also an outdoor running track (free), several playing fields, an outdoor ice rink for winter skating, and facilities that offer a variety of classes. The outdoor baseball stadium is a great place to catch a high school game.
MoviesThere are a movie theaters located in Cino and also at the Shimoda mall. Check the schedules for special discount days (ladies' day, men's day, couple's day, etc.) where tickets are only ¥1000.
- Fish Market, to your right as you exit the old train station (Hon Hachinohe, 本八戸). The indoor fish market which, other than fish, also sells many local souvenirs including food specialties and hand crafted items, including lacquerware and horse statues. There is also a float on display here.
- The Pia-do shopping center is directly north of downtown Hachinohe, about 8 blocks north of the Hon-Hachinohe train stop. There is a Xebio sports (giant sporting goods store) attached to the mall. Also, there is a Sunday store (home improvement/general store) where you can look at puppies! Next to the mall are also a Toys R Us and an electronics store, Yamada Denki. The food court at Pia-do has a McDonald's.
- Hasshoku Center, the big food market hall of Hachinohe. A few minutes apart from the centre (¥100 bus from Main Station available), with a lot of different stands of food (fish, sweets, restaurants, liquor). The mawaru-zushi restaurant here is a bit expensive, but oh so delicious. Also, there is a restaurant where you can grill your own fresh fish you buy from the market. You simply pay a fee to rent the grill.
- Lapia is close to Pia-do and has a department store called Nagasakiya. There are various stores, including a Daiso (¥100 store), an indoor amusement park, and various restaurants.
GreenhouseA great outdoors store near Hon-Hachinohe Station (exit Hon-Hachinohe station and take the street on your right headed away from the station, it's just past the gas station on the left). The store features brands like the North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, and MontBell. Hiking, trekking, camping, and other outdoor activity gear and clothing are available. The Japanese lines of the clothing are bright and super cool. While Columbia in the US is usually earth tones, here it is neon! The manager, Takahashi-san, speaks some English.
Niji HachinoheLocated in the Via Nova shopping building, this store has trendy boutique clothing. It is on the more expensive side, but of course, you get what you pay for.
Shimoda MallNorth of Hachinohe off of the 45 (about 25 min). It is a large shopping mall with many stores, restaurants, food courts, movie theaters, a bowling alley, and the department store Jusco. It also has two large sporting goods stores. Sports Authority is attached to the mall & Takeda Sports is located across the street. Takeda Sports usually has an English speaking staff member working to service the many American customers who come from nearby Misawa Base. If you spot the American staff member, she might give you a discount coupon to use on your purchases!
KaldiThis store sells many international products. Pastas, sauces, Indian foods/spices, olives, pickles, various sweets & candies, Mexican ingredients (taco shells, salsa, etc.), cheeses, wines, even frozen bagels can be found. They hand out free coffee upon entering the store. The fresh ground coffee available for purchase is terrific!
MokkiriyaLocated next to the Orion Parking lot on the pedestrian street that is directly across from the Ramen Alley exit. This restaurant has some of the best quality Japanese food you can find. In addition to delicious handmade sushi, sashimi, hotpots, and a variety of traditional Japanese food, the chef often experiments with different seasonal foods and culinary styles. They've got some great drinks too!
BonLocated in an alley behind Concert Hall Pachinko. The 'Master' Kappa has some of the best food in town. There is a mix of Japanese, Western and other Asian Cuisine. There is an English menu, plus Kappa has excellent English too.
Pore PoreThis Indian restaurant in Lapia shopping center features an amazing lunch buffet for around ¥1200. The naan bread is delicious!
Kantaro SushiLocated on the east side of the 45 just south of Yurinoki Dori, this Mawaru-zushi restaurant offers fresh sushi and delectable fried foods. The price is just a bit higher, but the quality is much better than kappa sushi. The flagship Kantaro is in Hakodate, so there are Hakodate posters and scenic dvds playing on the restaurant flat screen TVs. There is also a variety of Hokkaido sweets for sale at the register.
Pizzeria CorteThis super 'kawaii' Italian restaurant is located on the street behind Cino (It is on the opposite side of the street from the Cino parking garage. Located behind a real estate office, but they have a sign on the sidewalk). It is small and features mid-century modern decor. The best pizza (thin crust Italian style) in Hachinohe! Pizzas, pastas, and salads are all delicious. The decanters of house red wine are a great deal. Prices for mains (pizzas, pastas) are all around ¥1500. There is also a small outdoor patio to enjoy when the weather permits.
DipasanaTraditional Indian food - Dipasana (located downtown, close walk towards the 45 from Sakurano) has a lot of great curry dishes and great nan bread. Be careful though because during the week they close by 8pm. The other great restaurant is located in Lapia (Pore Pore). It is owned by a Japanese-Indian chef who makes all his dishes on the spot. At lunch they have a buffet for only ¥1200.
Izakaya RowLocated in the center of downtown on the main street is an alleyway of tiny izakayas. They serve up cold beer and tasty food. It is a great place to mingle with locals and business travelers.
TenryuA small restaurant that serves local cuisine at very reasonable prices. It's conveniently located near the main train station.
The area in central Hachinohe near city hall contains numerous bars, izakaya, restaurants, pubs, and hostess bars. Many of the establishments, especially the hostess bars, will not allow foreigners to enter, although some can be persuaded to change their mind if you speak Japanese. However, most of the "western" style bars, especially those frequented by young adults, are very welcoming to foreigners. Two bars that are worth a visit are Bon and Flat. You will find Flat (music symbol for flat note) downstairs on the main street, next to Miroku Yokocho. Bon is found in the maze of alleys behind Concert Hall Pachinko.
Bar SaudeLocated across the hall from Bar Flat (below the ¥100 store next to Ramen Alley) this is a tiny, but fun Portuguese restaurant. It only has a few tables and a bar, so it fills up quickly! The owners are a very nice young married couple (Yuko and Takashi) who are learning English. Yuko serves and handles the bar, while Takashi whips up delicious small bites in the tiny kitchen. It is great to watch him cook while sipping a glass of the many fine wines available.
- Flat (music symbol for flat note) is the home of music in Hachinohe. You will find a good mix of live music played at this establishment. the 'Master" Mitsuya can cook, sing and play the guitar. You can find Flat downstairs on the main street, next to Miroku Yokocho. You may also want to pop in to meet 'Japanese Nick', a Japanese Nicholas Cage look alike.
Kawayo Green FarmLies three train stops outside the city, in Mukaiyama, and includes a comfortable youth hostel on its grounds. It's worth a stopover for some horse riding, mini golf or just some countryside.
Toyoko Inn Hachinohe Ekimae1-3-17 Ichibancho. A business hotel that is very easy to spot just outside the train station's main exit. Singles/doubles from ¥5,400 (including tax ¥5,670) / ¥7,400 (including tax ¥7,770).
Comfort Hotel HachinoheA convenient, clean business hotel.