Aomori

Triumph lingerie company creates sake underwear using fabric made with Japanese rice wine

Finally! Wearable sake!

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Aomori mascot shows no fear in front of legendary X Japan drummer Yoshiki【Video】

Nyango Star must have apple-cat nerves of steel as he absolutely kills a performance of X Japan songs in front of a discerning audience.

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Japanese mascot from Aomori absolutely kills it on the drums

Have you ever seen a mascot play drums? I bet you’d never expect one to be this awesome at it.

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Beautiful blue apple jam is taking the Japanese internet’s breath away!

What’s blue and sweet and perfect with toast or yogurt? It’s blue apple jam from Aomori Prefecture!

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It’s almost time for Japan’s “flower rafts,” one of the most beautiful parts of sakura season

Even when their brief time comes to a close, the cherry blossoms continue to be breathtakingly beautiful.

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Aomori volunteer firefighter arrested for starting fires so he could fight them

In the small town of Inakadate, Shota Kawasaki was both employed at a straw-crafts workshop and a member of his local volunteer fire department. However, this village of 8,000 people was far more famous for its rice paddy art than fires breaking out, and while making straw art is charming in its own way, it can get to be a drag day in and day out.

That’s why Aomori prefectural police are suspecting Kawasaki of starting a series of fires over the past six months; so that he could allegedly feel the rush of putting them out.

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Roadside Station Ranking for 2015 is in, find out where you will be driving to in Japan

When traveling in Japan, there are a number of quick and easy ways to see the whole country. You can take the Shinkansen, Japan’s bullet train that excels at speed and comfort. There are also a number of budget airlines including Peach, Air Asia, and Skymark Airlines that can make your trip quicker, but force you to sacrifice some amenities for a lower cost.

But if you have the time, there is no better way to travel around Japan than by hitting the open roads. Just like the US, there are many quirky best-kept secrets accessible only by car that are worth visiting. Some of the best places that really connect you with the locals are the roadside rest stops called Michi no Eki (literally “roadside stations“) that are perfect for taking a toilet or sleeping break, but are also hubs for local food, crafts and history.

Want to find the best roadside stations to visit? The travel website Trip Advisor has assembled a list of the best Michi no Eki for 2015, so gas up the car, it’s time for a road trip.

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Is Japan itself dying of old age? Premium city real estate auctioned off for next to nothing

It’s no secret that Japan’s elderly population is on the rise while the younger population is on decline. Though everyone from the government to economists is trying to figure out what the ramifications of such a top-heavy population will be, Japan is already feeling some of the consequences.

No place is this more apparent than in Japan’s northern prefecture of Aomori. What was once a thriving area a few decades ago is now by all accounts a snowy ghost town.

The most recent event to highlight just how bad things have become is Aomori City practically give away prime real estate. Why has this happened and just how bad are things in Aomori? Read on to find out!

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Google Street View now lets you tour the glowing samurai, dragons of the Nebuta Matsuri festival

Just about every community in Japan puts on a local festival in the summer, but few are as spectacular as Aomori City’s Nebuta Matsuri. For almost a solid week, gigantic floats topped by lanterns shaped like samurai and dragons are paraded through the streets, accompanied by dancers and musicians.

But while Aomori is one of the largest cities in the largely rural Tohoku region of Japan, its relatively remote location in the northeastern corner of the country’s main island of Honshu means not everyone can make it out to see the festivities in-person. As long as you’ve got an Internet connection, though, you can get a taste of the fun with Google’s awesome Nebuta Matsuri Street View that lets you see the amazing floats even closer-up than spectators standing on the sidewalks the towering works of art are carried by.

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Starbucks in Aomori is the hot topic in Japan right now because of its beautiful…architecture?!

After opening in April, a Starbucks location in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, has received quite a bit of attention online for its surprisingly beautiful architecture and design. Yes, we’re serious, the hot topic in Japan right now is this Starbucks location!

But, wait, before you scoff, you seriously need to see the place. One of our Japanese reporters headed to Aomori recently and his photos of the coffee shop will definitely make you say, “Wow, that is a beautiful Starbucks location!” for the first time in your life!

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The Force is with the famous Nebuta Festival this year, as Star Wars floats make an appearance

Every year from August 2 to 7, giant illuminated floats of Japanese warriors are paraded through the streets of Aomori City, in the northern-most prefecture on Japan’s main island of Honshu, for the famous Nebuta Festival. Counted as one of the three biggest festivals in Japan, it attracts up to three million visitors each year, but this year, some new, out-of-this-world warriors made an appearance at the festival.

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Rice field art: Star of Ted 2 appears in Japanese rice field this summer

Summer in Japan means festivals, fireworks and a host of annual events designed to bring people together despite the searing heat. And as the sun beats down on fields across the nation, there’s one special rice paddy that’s slowly taking shape, transforming into a very unique piece of art ready to greet crowds of adoring admirers over the next two months.

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Aomori’s fabled Nebuta Festival 2015 to feature Star Wars floats

Aomori Prefecture’s legendary Nebuta Festival – which takes place in early August every year – has always been one of those big festivals on my Japan bucket list.

Even though the festival is one of the prestigious few festivals to receive the staggeringly long designation of Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan, we’re willing to bet the festival is largely overlooked by Western visitors. This is, probably, largely due to Aomori’s fairly remote location; it’s a real pain to get to from Tokyo, Osaka or any of the other major cities outside of Sapporo.

But then, what if that wasn’t the biggest reason foreigners aren’t totally aware of this great festival? What if the real reason was the festival’s lack of Star Wars characters?

Luckily, whether or not that’s the real case, that sore lack of Star Wars characters at the Aomori Nebuta Festival is going to change this year.

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Star Wars mania in full swing in Japan with rice field art and stormtroopers

With a new Star Wars film coming out this year, you can imagine people around the world are excited. And Japan is no exception! With all the advertising and events happening, it can be hard to keep up with everything, but the next big Star Wars event in Japan has a distinctly cultural feel to it: Rice field art!

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New garlic cola from Japan’s garlic capital is as surprising as its name proclaims

Garlic flavored cola. Just let that sink in for a moment. Fizzy sweet cola with a pungent garlic taste. Yum? Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of weird food and drink come out of Japan, and as of January 9, there has been a new addition to that list.

Hailing from Aomori, the garlic capital of Japan, which has previously produced such delectables as garlic ice cream and garlic beer, “Jats Takkola,” is brought to us from the garlic center of the garlic capital of Japan, also known as “Garlic Town,” Sannohe Districts’ Takko Town.

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Haneto Izakaya: Enjoy Aomori food and music from the comfort of Tokyo

Tokyo is a wonderful city; there’s no denying that. But sometimes you might want to get out into the country and experience some of the different cultural areas of Japan. Of course, if you’re busy working all week or only in the country for a brief time, you may not be able to get out to a place like Aomori Prefecture.

Recently, however, we were in the mood for some tsugaru-jamisen and a few glasses of Aomori Prefecture’s distinguished sake. We didn’t have time to jump on a train to the northern prefecture, but, fortunately, Tokyo is home to Haneto Izakaya, an establishment featuring food and music from Aomori Prefecture. Check out the food, drinks, and a video of their amazing shamisen player rocking the joint!

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We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

Locally owned ramen shops can be found spread out all across Japan. In fact, some of the best flavors aren’t found at the big chain restaurants, but at the hole-in-the-wall shops that you might never even notice without a proper introduction. Hence, we’d like to make it our duty to tell you about an amazing, little ramen joint in Aomori Prefecture, which is famous for its miso flavored curry milk ramen.

When we at RocketNews24 first heard about this place, we couldn’t imagine how so many different flavors could possibly achieve good balance within a single bowl of noodles, so we sent one of our adventurous Japanese reporters, Mami Kuroi, to try it out. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.

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Scallop flavored ice cream: it’s magically delicious!

Rumor has it that in Aomori Prefecture there exists a soft-served ice cream made with the flavor of hotate (Yesso scallop), a widely eaten shellfish in Japan. While hotate goes great with a little dab of wasabi, it’s hard to image the scallop’s taste blending well with ice cream.

Without hesitating, our reporter and food lover Usagi caught the next northbound train to the Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center ASPM to see what scallop ice cream had to offer.

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Aomori Garlic Black Beer: That great, people-repelling aftertaste of gyoza, now from a beverage!

All around Japan, various craft brews are sold each with their own unique twist on the widely-loved beverage. For beer connoisseurs, part of the fun of domestic traveling can be trying to unearth hidden brews scattered across the land.

For example, out of Aomori Prefecture, known as the garlic-producing leader of the nation, comes Aomori Garlic Black Beer. Our reporter, Mami, spotted some in the wild and decided to try it out. The combination of beer and garlic had potential, and Aomori certainly know their garlic. What could go possibly wrong?

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Japan’s World Heritages Fly Well Under Radar

Did you know that Japan has 16 locations on the list of UNESCO World Heritages? Could you name them all with any sum of money on the line?

Survey Research Center, Co. Ltd. conducted a survey that showed that most people could not. When asked whether they were interested in Japan’s world heritages, 67.8% of those surveyed responded affirmatively. However, only 4% of respondents knew all 16 Japanese sites.

See how many you can name before looking at the list below:

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