Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Art & Design

Towada Art Center 十和田市現代美術館

Amazing new art center concept, and the beautiful Towada Lake

Opened in 2008, the Towada Art Center is the focus of the city of Towada's initiative to revitalize itself through art. The concept is to experience artworks that blend in with the surrounding cityscape and nature.

Don't Miss

  • Exhibits outside the museum blending with the surrounding city
  • Erwin Wurm's unique work, "Fat House"
  • The strikingly modern architecture of the museum building

How to Get There

Shichinohe-Towada is the second of three Tohoku Shinkansen stops in Aomori from Tokyo. It is primarily a gateway to Towada City and the lake area. There, you can change to JR buses for Towada.

Towada is in the foothills of the Hakkoda Mountains, and includes the Aomori side of Lake Towada. There are no trains in the Towada area, but JR operates buses every one to two hours from Shichinohe-Towada. Around half of the buses go directly to the museum, while the other half go to the city center, which is around a 10-minute walk to Towada Art Center.

Encountering art in unexpected places

Most of the pieces in the museum's permanent collection—there are only around 30 works—were commissioned especially for Towada Art Center. In addition, there are six works in the public "Art Square" and six more called "Street Furniture."

Despite the relatively small number of pieces, there is a great deal to see and do. Most of the works that are housed inside the museum are in spaces designed especially for them. The building's architecture, designed by architect Ryue Nishizawa, is perfectly matched to the installations, but his design actually encompasses the whole street block.

See the worlds of world-famous artists

Since the Arts Towada Project was completely planned, including the Art Center as its main fixture, many of the works were commissioned from famous artists such as Yoko Ono, Ron Mueck and Jeong Hwa Choi.

But the name recognition of the artists themselves is really secondary here. You'll be in awe walking through and among the exhibits. Sitting on the "street furniture", you'll feel like a child again. It's almost more like a park than a museum.

There really isn't another museum like it

The old main street, Kanchogaidori, (literally “street of government offices”) had become deserted due to population decline. The city and this art project have been largely successful in changing that. The Art Center has not only attracted attention and awards, but an influx of tourism has rejuvenated the city. It has become a source of pride.

While you're there

Lake Towada is around one hour away, while some parts of Oirase Stream are easily within an hour. The only way to access these, however, is by car.

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