Aomori, Japan

Located on the northernmost harbor of Japan’s main island of Honshu, Aomori is the traditional departure point for Hokkaido Island. It is famous for its summer Nebuta Matsuri festival, and has a museum that recaptures the color and pageantry for those who visit in other seasons. Explore the earliest prehistoric cultures of Japan at the Sannai Maruyama archaeological site, or visit the Aomori Museum of Art for a look at more contemporary works. Nearby Hirosaki boasts a 17th Century castle. Visit either the Auga or the Furukawa public fish market, where you can create your own version of a donburi rice bowl with pristinely fresh local seafood.