Misawa is a stop on the private Aoimori Railway. It was served previously by local JR trains until the Tohoku Shinkansen extension to Aomori opened in December, 2010.
The fastest way to get to Misawa from Tokyo is to take the Tohoku Shinkansen Hayate service to Hachinohe (¥15350), where you can change to the Aoimori Railway for the run to Misawa (20 minutes, ¥550). With good connections the one-way trip will take about 3 hours, 45 minutes. Foreign tourists will find it cheaper to use the JR East Rail Pass or the national Japan Rail Pass, but note that the rail pass will not cover the Aoimori Railway.
An overnight bus service is offered from Tokyo to Hachinohe (9 hours, ¥9500), from which Misawa is a 20-minute ride on the Aoimori Railway.
The best way to get around is by car. If you don't have a car, taxis are available with a starting fare of about 600 Yen. There are rental car companies in this city, but they may not be able to rent you a car if you are on vacation and don't have a international driver's license. If you are an American stationed in Japan and have a SOFA license, they should be able to rent a car to you.
There are many places in and around Misawa that are worth seeing; for example, the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum, Miss Veedol Beach and Swan Lake.
There is a lot of small parks and such, and a small bar district, but not much to do if you don't like nature . It is close to the hakkodas and the ocean. Lake Towada is a beautiful glacial lake, you can drive to the top of a mountain and view the whole lake. On the way, there is the Oriase Gorge, which is famous in Northern Japan. There are 2 beautiful waterfalls and many great sights.
In September, the joint USAF/JSDF air base opens to the public for its annual airshow. The local town/city of Hachinohe and Towada are small, but quaint. Towada is a little bigger than Misawa. Hachinohe is much bigger than Misawa. But are not that far away. The next largest cities are probably Aomori and/or Sendai.
Misawa is very close to other smaller cities. One of the nearby cities has a decent size shopping mall, also known as Shimoda mall. Plenty of stores and restaurants.
Many local places here have English menus due to the large military population. Lots of food to eat, everything from Chinese to Japanese to Thai, all good.
At Akanoren, they serve barayaki. This place claims to have invented it, and not too many will argue with this. This dish is very famous in Misawa and Towada. Highly recommended. It is walking distance from Misawa Air Base.
At Komaki Onsen,there is a 5-star buffet. Perfect for special occasions or if you are just craving delicious steaks. It costs ~3400 Yen for the dinner buffet. To find it, the front-desk will be able to guide you to the restaurant which is downstairs near the main Onsen.
Grill Omiya (popularly known as Pizza Curry) is arguably the best example of the gastronomical collision of American and Japanese cuisine. They serve curry on a scale of spiciness ranging from 5-10-15-20-25 as well as Special 1, Special 2, and Special 3 for the brave of heart and teflon of stomach. Additionally, a "B Set" includes 2 pieces of a pizza toast. While the pizza is not faithful to American-style pizza, it is a delight all its own. Located at the beginning oh White Pole Road.
Try the 'Sapporro Ramen Shop' across the street from the main post office, it's small, it's old school, it's cheap and delicious with great Shoyu Chashu and of course a side of Gyoza.
At the four way facing the McDonalds make a left down the four way road and on your right you'll come across the 'Ramen Gyoza Restaurant' this place is good for more than the ramen, a full on Shokudo the Katsu Curry is one of the best dishes.
In Misawa proper if you want Hamburger steak, Tonkatsu or both Tonki, two blocks from the budokan and down the same street as cheese roll will have you covered, it's run by 2 generations of the same family and they are some of the nicest people you will meet.
All in all, Misawa is full of good restaurants, the smaller the better and avoid ones specifically geared towards the large foreign population, they're predictable. 188.8.131.52 09:24, 22 April 2011 (EDT)
Right next to "Marumiya," there is Takara Sushi. Very good, very traditional. English and Japanese menu. They are so good, they have trained other sushi chefs. One thing to try, "hon maguro," which is unbelievably expensive if you eat it anywhere else in Japan. Prices will vary on this item.
Where you can, just don't get 'X'ed out of the japanese bars, unless you are trying to.
There are lots of good Izakaya in Misawa, both chain and local, if you want a good place with cheap beer to start off the night and lots of good drinking food, try:
Drinking in Misawa is more fun that many think, you can karaoke Enka one minute and get down in Nitrous the next, what you want is out there, you just have to have an open mind and find it.
There are many hotels located in the city center.
Misawa International Center by the Ice Arena. They have published a guide to Misawa city in English and it details points of interests, places to eat, shop, etc.