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Why These Underrated Destinations in Japan's Tohoku Region Should Top Your Snowy Getaway List

 The hilly region of Tohoku is set to welcome international visitors from all over the world to its snowy peaks this winter. This region comprises six prefectures on the north of Honshu Island: Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamagata. Home to picturesque landscapes, historic hot spring towns, and warm hospitality, Tohoku offers a variety of winter travel experiences for powderhounds and onsen-seekers alike. 

Thrill-seekers will love Appi Kogen, the leading ski resort area in Tohoku. It’s located in Iwate Prefecture, about 50 kilometers north of Morioka. With its expansive slopes, Appi Kogen caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The resort features top-notch facilities, including quality accommodations and diverse dining options. This year-round destination seamlessly combines adventure and relaxation in the heart of northern Japan.

Meanwhile, Akita Prefecture, which is known for its beloved and loyal Akita dogs, offers cultural treasures and natural wonders. Renowned for its tranquil hot springs, Goshogake Onsen is surrounded by picturesque landscapes, and the prefecture's diverse terrain, including the captivating Lake Tazawa, provides a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

 Meanwhile in Fukushima Prefecture, travellers can enjoy spectacular views at Tadami River Bridge, a picturesque railway bridge that spans the Tadami River, offering breathtaking views of the river valley. Surrounded by lush mountains, it is renowned for its scenic beauty in all four seasons.

Ginzan Onsen, a charming hot spring town in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, captivates with its nostalgic ambiance and is most renowned for anime-lovers for invoking vibes from Spirited Away. Lined with historic ryokans and illuminated by lantern-lit streets, Ginzan Onsen transports visitors to a bygone era especially in the wintertime. The picturesque setting, nestled amidst snow-covered mountains, makes it a tranquil retreat for those seeking relaxation and cultural immersion.

Tohoku also offers modern attractions such as the Sendai Pageant of Starlight, an annual winter illumination event which transforms the city into a glittering spectacle. Held in Sendai, capital of Miyagi Prefecture, this dazzling winter event is one of Japan’s largest winter illuminations and has been held since 1986. 

Apart from wintertime, Tohoku is a perfect travel destination throughout the year. From cherry blossom season to Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori Prefecture, each season in Tohoku unveils unique and captivating facets, making it a year-round destination for those seeking diverse, immersive experiences in Japan's northern region.

Malaysians can head over to Tohoku via shinkansen from major cities or by flying in to Sendai International Airport. This year for the first time ever, chartered direct flights during the winter season from Malaysia to Tohoku will be operated, which reflects the growing interest in tourism to Tohoku. For more information, refer to the official website of Japan National Tourism Organization.