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Get to Know Japan’s Enchanting Tohoku Region

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Get to Know Japan’s Enchanting Tohoku Region
There’s a place so far from the tourist track that its ancient Japanese name meant land beyond roads. Those who do make it to Tohoku—at the northern tip of Japan’s largest island, Honshu—uncover pristine lakes, forested mountains, and feudal-era landmarks. As AFAR Ambassador Rachel Rudwall discovered this autumn, it’s a place where timeworn temples and trekking trails seem to exist solely for you. “Tohoku is tough to describe without getting a little poetic,” she admits. Here’s how Tohoku inspired Rachel to document some of her favorite experiences in real time on Instagram.
Sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organization
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    Tsurugajo Castle
    “I'm thrilled to be back in Japan with @afarmedia, exploring the breathtaking region of Tohoku. It's here that the rooftops reach as though the sky may never end; that the tiles that sheath them glisten onyx, royal blue, or red. It's here that history seems ageless and whispers on the wind.” — @rachelroams
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    Matsushima, Miyagi
    “The further into Tohoku you venture, the greater the possibilities that await. Lakes dotted with rocky pine islands. Temples tucked deep into evergreen shadow. Apple orchards, and linen-white castles, and monkeys that dart across the road as you pass. Warm miso soup, vast bowls of noodles, and caught-now-fresh fish. The further you venture, the wider the sky, the grander the journey, and the bigger you'll dream.” — @rachelroams
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    Golden Hall, Chusonji Temple
    “Japan's northernmost region of Tohoku is tough to describe without getting a little poetic. The landscapes are lush and dripping with beauty, the cultural memory stretches back so far it feels ageless, and the people will welcome you with poise wherever you go. Whether you're inclined to practice calligraphy with Buddhist monks, hike gorges rife with waterfalls, or eat noodles until you burst, this place has got you covered.” — @rachelroams
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    Hiraizumi, Iwate
    “What's crazy about Tohoku is that no matter where you venture in the region, you'll discover extraordinary cultural relics. Whether it's temples built into cliff faces like Takkoku no Iwaya (pictured), castles jutting forth from stone walls like Tsurogajo, or red torii gates interloping on hiking trails, you'll be amazed at every discovery you make.” — @rachelroams
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    Lake Towada
    “My journey through Tohoku has felt nothing short of exhilarating. Each day was filled with moments so bewitching that I found myself laughing out loud, like, "How on earth could this moment be real?" If you want to explore a place that feels untouched, yet cultivated in its heritage; modern, but ageless in its wisdom; untraveled, yet easy to access, Tohoku, Japan should be at the top of your list.” — @rachelroams