Aomori City’s waterfront bay area is a hub of history and food for the region. This was once the main gateway to the wild and unconquered Hokkaido of old, but now it’s just a nice place to spend an afternoon of eating, drinking, and sightseeing.
For lunch, start off at A-Factory, a waterfront dining hub with plenty of options, including a market for picking up locally-produced goods and even a cider microbrewery! After getting your fix of the local delicacies, you can get a hit of culture at the Wa Rasse Nebuta Museum. This museum is dedicated to the city’s biggest festival, Nebuta: a parade of giant painted lanterns which ride down the streets of the city, representing characters from legends and history.
The festival itself happens in August, but if you’re visiting at any other time then the museum will be your only chance to see some of the best floats, collected from previous years. Right near the museum, you’ll also see a 1960s ferry ship at rest beneath the bridge. This boat once carried trains from Honshu to Hokkaido, and now serves as a museum dedicated to the ferries of Japan.
Assuming you’re not all museum-ed out, the Aomori Prefectural Museum, Aomori City Forestry Museum, and Aomori Museum of History are also nearby. No matter what you’re into, there’s a museum on Aomori Bay to suit your tastes.
After you’ve worked up an appetite for more delicious Aomori produce — especially the prefecture’s outstanding apples — finish by heading along to the ASPAM (Aomori Tourist Information Center) building. This gigantic, triangular building hosts an observation deck, shops, and restaurants.