The city of Hachinohe sits on the eastern coast of Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of the Honshu (mainland Japan). The city’s port, Hachinohe Port, is a booming site for fishing, trade, industry and tourism. This multifunctional port is surrounded by the Tanesashi Coast, a stunning coastline. Explore Hachinohe Port and all its glory – from the fresh seafood to black-tailed gulls to the breathtaking night view!
The Birth of Hachinohe
Fishing vessels on sea at Hachinohe Port
In 1664, the Hachinohe Domain was founded in what we know of today as the eastern coast of Aomori prefecture. Since its beginnings, the Hachinohe area thrived as a fishing harbor. Hachinohe’s port also served as a port of refuge, where ships would anchor in during an emergency.
In the late 17th century, political entrepreneur Kawamura Zuiken established a ship route from and to Hachinohe Port, allowing trade between Edo (now Tokyo) and Hachinohe. Entering the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), Hachinohe Port was revamped by Dutch hydraulic engineer Anthonie Rouwenhorst Mulder to be more functional and modern.
From Hachinohe to the World
Container ships on Hachinohe Port
International trade began at Hachinohe Port in 1935, when the port initiated trade with the Chinese city of Dalian. Since then, Hachinohe Port has flourished as a site of international trade, with the first international container ship routes opening in 1994 and routes between South Korea and the United States launching in 1998. Today, Hachinohe Port aims to become the northern Tohoku region’s gateway to the world.
Tanesashi Coast – 種差海岸
Hachinohe’s entire coastline is named Tanesashi Coast. You can walk along the Michinoku Coastal Trail and enjoy the fresh sea breeze and all that nature has to offer.
Ashigesaki Observatory – 葦毛崎展望台
The observatory and its view
From the Ashigesaki Observatory, you can see Tanesashi Coast below you and the Pacific Ocean’s horizon. The green lawn, yellow flowers and blue ocean make for a stunning panoramic view.
Tanesashi Natural Lawn – 種差天然芝生地エリア
Tanesashi Natural Lawn
Past Tanesashi Coast’s sandy beach area is Tanesashi Natural Lawn. The spacious green area is perfect for lying down and appreciating the surrounding view. The lawn area is a part of the Sanriku Fukko National Park, which spreads from Hachinohe to Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture.
Early Morning Markets
As a fishing port, Hachinohe Port is always ringing in the freshest seafood. You can taste the best of Hachinohe Port at the early morning markets.
Mutsu Minato Station Front Morning Market – 陸奥港駅前朝市
Fresh fish sold at Mutsu Minato Station Front Morning Market
You can stay up late or wake up extra early to head to this market, as it opens from 3:00a.m! Mutsu Minato Eki-mae Morning Market locates just a bit inland, right by Minato Station. The market is loved by locals and is known to them as “Hachinohe’s Kitchen”. You can grab an early breakfast of sashimi and freshly made side dishes.
Tatehana Wharf Morning Market – 館鼻岸壁朝市
Tatehana Wharf Morning Market, one of Japan's largest morning markets
Just once a week on Sunday mornings, the Tatehana Wharf Morning Market opens right by the ocean. The morning market is one of the biggest in Japan, with over 300 shops opening within a span of 800 meters.
Seafood isn’t the only thing you’ll find here; you can also grab a cup of fresh coffee and shop around for antiques, knives, sewing machines and more random things. If you’re lucky, you might bump into Ikadon, the unofficial but much loved mascot of the morning market, resembling an interesting hybrid of a squid and a human.
Kabushima Island – 蕪島
Kabushima Island locates on the tip of Tanesashi Coast. Kabushima Island was an actual island until 1942, when the imperial Japanese military reclaimed the Tanesashi Coastal area to create a naval facility, connecting the island with the coast. The naval facility is no longer in use.
Home of the Umineko
the umineko, of the black-tailed gull
Kabushima is famed as the home of the umineko, of the black-tailed gull. Every March, the gulls land on Kabushima to mate, and lay eggs in April. The baby birds hatch in June, and the family of gulls leave Kabushima in August. Kabushima is a designated natural monument as the home of the umineko.
Kabushima-jinja Shrine – 蕪島神社
The one shrine on the island, Kabushima-jinja, is said to be created in 1269. It celebrates the deity of wealth, Benzaiten, and the shrine is said to bring luck in business and safety on sea. In 2015, the main building burned down in a fire, and is currently* under construction.
*Article written March 2018
The factories by the port
Hachinohe Port is home to many industrial factories. In fact, the city of Hachinohe is one of the Tohoku region’s most prominent industrial hubs.
Factories at Night
The night view of the factories
The industrial factories area a beautiful view at night. The lights of the factories reflect in the water, creating a dreamy sight. Tour around the coast during the night on a tourist boat to enjoy the view.
Hachinohe Senbei-jiru – 八戸せんべい汁
Hachinohe Senbei-jiru is the city’s specialty dish. The soup dish features a chicken or fish broth with a special senbei (rice cracker) made just for the dish. The soup is then simmered so the senbei can absorb the flavors of the broth and other ingredients.
Squid – イカ
Fresh squid for sale at Hachinohe's markets
Hachinohe is one of Japan’s most successful cities in squid landing, bringing in about 100,000 tons of squid in annually. The fresh squid is served in a variety of ways, raw, cooked, grilled, and more. Try out all of the different squid cuisines in Hachinohe!
Hachinohe Sansha Taisai – 八戸三社大祭 (Aug.)
The extravagant dashi festival cars specially made for Hachinohe Sansha Taisai
Hachinohe Sansha Taisai is a festival with over 300 years of history. It started as a ritual by people of the area who had worries about the unstable weather and wishing for a successful harvest. The highlight of the festival is the flashy dashi (festival car), which is made new annually. You can also watch traditional dances and performances during the festival.
Hachinohe Fireworks Festival – 八戸花火大会 (Aug.)
Hachinohe Fireworks Festival
Approximately 5,000 fireworks are shot into the sky in a span of 1.5 hours at the Hachinohe Fireworks Festival. The fireworks are launched from Tatehana Fishing Port, and the viewing area is pretty close to the launching point. From this distance, you can feel the power and the heat of the fireworks.
Nearest Station: Hachinohe Station 八戸駅
From Aomori Station 青森駅
【Aomori Sta.】Aoimori Railway / for Hachinohe
→【Hachinohe Sta.】about 20 minutes by car/taxi
From Hachinohe Station 八戸駅
【Hachinohe Sta.】about 20 minutes by car/taxi
From Aomori Airport 青森空港
【Aomori Airport】Aomori Airport Line / for Aomori Sta.
→【Aomori Sta.】Aoimori Railway / for Hachinohe
→【Hachinohe Sta.】about 20 minutes by car/taxi
25 Kaigan, Kawaragi, Hachinohe-shi, Aomori (Hachinohe Ferry Terminal)
Ne-jo Castle – 根城
Ne-jo Castle was made in 1334, during the Nanbokucho Period by military commander general Nanbu Moroyuki. Though the fortification was destroyed in 1592, artifacts and some parts of the castle were discovered in the 1900s, and is now a designated National Historic Site. Many parts of the castle are reconstructed to resemble its original form.
Hachinohe Park – 八戸公園
Hachinohe Park is divided into 9 zones, such as the Amusement Park Zone, Botanical Garden Zone and the Petting Zoo Zone. The park is especially beautiful from the end of April to early May, when over 2000 cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. Visit with your family for a day of fun!