Tomorrow’s Forest – 明日の森

Aomori, July青森 7月

I purchased the JR East rail pass from Haneda Airport, and I hopped to a Shinkansen from Tokyo Station; this time my destination was Aomori Prefecture. After almost three hours of train traveling, I arrived at Hachinohe. Next morning a local train took me to Ottomo Station, where I met my host, Yuki.


My first impression of Aomori was pleasant; not too hot, but perfect summer weather. We arrived at Ashita No Mori and Yuki introduced the place. He lived there by himself with a cat, Akaminto. Soon we got company; Bilig from Philippines started his summer job, and also Yuki’s friend Kishi from Tokyo arrived.


It was time to have my first Japanese hot spring experience; in the evening we went to Tohoku Onsen, which was near Ottomo Station. The onsen was exceptional because of its mineral-rich black water. I was nervous, jet lagged and the only woman in our group, so I had to enter the spa area by myself. The water was hot and very relaxing; a perfect way to end a day.


Ashita No Mori had guests almost every evening; Modashi, a local musician, sculptor and scientist was a regular visitor, but also other people who were interested in this kind of alternative lifestyle. Together we planted trees, worked at the field and in the greenhouse. Every night ended with some live music at Modashi’s lead.


Kishi and I went hiking at Asamushi Onsen Forest Park, which is one of Japan’s top 100 best places to take shinrin-yoku, a forest bath. The 10 kilometre hiking route was hard; it felt like rainforest, and we were soaked wet from the first climb. This was my first time to experiencing a hot and humid Japanese summer.


They presented the original, black and white Godzilla at the Aomori Korona Cinema World, so Kishi and I went to watch it. The ‘Gojira‘ had its premiere in 1954 and was topical again because of the power plant accident at Fukushima. There were no English subtitles, but Kishi explained the plot to me while watching.


Kishi planting onions at the greenhouse
My cabin
Inside the cabin
Yuki and the next-door neighbor at the field
Kishi checking the cow at the Namiki Gelato
Beach near Asamushi-Onsen and Yuno Island
The 1954 Gojira poster
At the Tohoku Onsen
Hiroshi, Yuki, Bilig and Modashi: farewell at the train station

Ashita No Mori

Nakamuramichinokami, Tohoku, Kamikita District, Aomori, 039-2611, Japan



Tohoku Onsen

21-18 Kamisasabashi, Tohoku, Kamikita District, Aomori 039-2661, Japan

Asamushi Onsen Forest Park 浅虫温泉森林公園

Sakamoto Asamushi, Aomori, Aomori, 039-3501, Japan


〒039-2661 青森県上北郡東北町字上笹橋21-18