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Ride the Tohoku specialty local line - the Gono line!

A local train that runs through the countryside, where the original scenery of Japan can be seen, have fun interacting with the local people, and enjoy the views including the spectacular scenery of the four seasons. It is also recommended for those who have travelled around the commonly visited spots and for people who plan to travel to Japan for the second time or more. Local train lines run all around Japan, but this time we will specifically look at the Gono Line that goes between Kawabe Station in the Aomori Prefecture and Higashi Noshiro Station in the Akita Prefecture! Here, we will introduce the attractions of the Gono Line and sightseeing spots along the way!
※All information and prices listed are accurate as of March 2021.

 

All about the Gono Line - popular for its scenic route in Tohoku

©JR EAST

The Gono Line runs between Kawabe Station in the Aomori Prefecture and Higashi Noshiro Station in Akita Prefecture. Measuring a total length of 147.2km and has 43 stations, it is well-known as a local line that people would love to ride. "Hirosaki Station" is the nearest station to access Hirosaki Castle, which is famous for its spring cherry blossoms. "Fukaura Station" is famous as a sunset spot. It also stops at "Wespa Tsubakiyama", which is located on the coast and is a starting point for visiting the hot springs known as "Furofushi Onsen", which overlooks the Sea of Japan.

While we were on the move, I was pressed up against the car window looking at the abundance of scenic spots. Not only did I see the magnificent scenery along the sea, but I also caught a glimpse of the lives of the local people. There are regular trains on the Gono Line too, but if you would like to enjoy the view from the train windows, the sightseeing train "Resort Shirakami" is also popular. I haven't ridden it yet, but I heard that special products and souvenirs can be purchased in the train, and the ekiben (train lunch box) tastes wonderful! Please note that you need to purchase a reserved seat ticket as all seats are reservation only (non-smoking).
From Tokyo, take the JR Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori Station to "Kawabe" station, which is the starting point on the Aomori side. Then, change to the JR Ou Main Line, and arrive at Kawabe Station in about 30 minutes.

 

Sightseeing Spot ① Senjojiki Coast in Fukaura Town, Aomori


The area was created by an earthquake in 1792, and the view of the rock surface rising above the sea surface stretches for about 12 km. It is said that the lord of Aomori has laid 1000 tatami mats and held banquets here since ancient times, and that is the origin of the coast’s name. In summer, it is packed with swimmers and people camping. "Resort Shirakami" goes slowly around Senjojiki, so you can take a good look!
Senjojiki Coast is not far from Senjojiki Station on foot.

 

Sightseeing spot ② Furofushi Onsen


Furofushi Onsen, a seaside inn situated in the westernmost point of Aomori Prefecture. It is a historic hot spring and is famous as an inn with a spectacular view and all rooms have views of the ocean. Particularly, we would like to see all fans of hot springs to try the open-air bath with a superb view of the beach! The hot spring water is a reddish-brown colour and contains lots of iron. The sea breeze feels so nice too! The gourd-shaped bath is also cute and looks great if you post a photo of it on social media. Please enjoy looking out over the Sea of Japan while taking a dip in the hot springs.

 

Sightseeing Spot ③ Shirakami-Sanchi, Aomori-Akita


I was very pleased to be able to walk through one of the world's leading primeval forests, which was registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site for the first time in 1963 - "Shirakami-Sanchi".
The Gono line is also known as a line that runs right beside "Shirakami-Sanchi" along the coast of the Sea of Japan. If you get off along the way, "Akitashirakami Station" is the southern entrance to the Shirakami-Sanchi. I took a leisure stroll while enjoying the beautiful greenery, the refreshing breeze, and taking in plenty of charged ions in the air!

 

Sightseeing Spot ④ Aoike(Blue pond), Aomori

"Aoike" is one of the 12 lakes in the Shirakami-Sanchi area, a World Heritage Site. The colour appears slightly different depending on the weather, the light, and the viewing angle, but when I visited, I was surprised at the bright blue colour that looked just like a beautiful blue ink! To get there, after getting off the train at Juniko Station, take the bus from "Juniko Station" bus stop located in front of the station to the final stop "Oku Juniko Parking Lot" bus stop. After that, it takes about 15 minutes on foot to reach the front of "Mori no Bussankan Kyororo", the starting point of the Juniko walking course.
※The bus doesn’t operate in winter.

 

Sightseeing Spot ⑤ Okazaki Coast, Aomori


The scenic spot "Okazaki Coast", which is located on the southern side of Fukaura Port and characterized by its sprawling reefs, is recommended as the highlight of your trip! At dusk, the sea appears to be dyed bright red, so you are sure to be taken in by the picturesque scenery. It takes about 5 minutes by car from Fukaura Station.

 

Refer to the following for more information on the facilities mentioned in this article.

 

https://www.japan.travel/en/destinations/tohoku/
https://www.tohokukanko.jp/en/index.html
https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass_t/index.html


About Tohoku Trains in Winter
https://www.japan.travel/en/my/your-first-winter-japan/enjoy-natural-snow-scenery-tohoku-trains/


Aomori
https://www.en-aomori.com/
Akita
https://stayakita.com/

Fukaura City
https://www.town.fukaura.lg.jp/navi/kankou/
Furofushi Onsen
https://www.furofushi.com/english/

The Shirakami Sanchi
https://www.experience-shirakami.com/

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