Goshogawara (五所川原市) is a city in Aomori Prefecture in Japan. As of April 2021, Goshogawara had a population of approximately 50,400 people.
Goshogawara is served by the JR Gonō Line as well as the Tsugaru Railway. The main train stations are JR Goshogawara Station, and for the Tsugaru Railway, Tsugaru-Goshogawara Station which is its terminus. The stations are next to each other.
There are three platforms:
- Gonō Line For Ajigasawa and Fukaura
- Gonō Line For Hirosaki and Aomori
- Tsugaru Railway Line For Kanagi and Tsugaru-Nakasato
From Aomori City to Goshogawara generally takes 70-80 minutes on JR's Resort Shirakami or Tsugaru limited express trains. From Hirosaki, it takes about 40 minutes.
Be aware that trains can be very infrequent, particularly during mid-day.
The Konan Bus service offers several routes.
- For Aomori-Yadamae via Harako, Daishaka, Shinjō and Aomori Station
- For Hirosaki Bus Terminal via Tsuruta, Itayanagi and Fujisaki
- For Kodomari Bus office via Kanagi and Nakasato Station
- For Ajigasawa Bus office via Kizukuri, Morita and Ajigasawa Station
If going in the city and nearby, Tsugaru Rail has some rental bicycles that can be used (8:30AM-5PM, closed in winter)
For those touring the region, a rental car can be the most convenient and efficient. There are several rental car agencies in the city.
- Tachineputa Museum (立佞武多の館), 506-10 Ōmachi, Goshogawara (From Goshogawara Stn go down Route 101 2 lights on the right hand side), ☎ 017-338-3232, . This museum is dedicated to Goshogawara's Tachineputa Festival. Although similar to other area neputa/nebuta festivals, the 70 foot tall floats that dwarf most city buildings as they parade through the streets make this version quite unique. See several floats from previous years on display, as well as hands-on areas where visitors can make their own miniature floats, Tsugaru kites, or Japanese fans. Visitors who come during the months leading up to the festival are encouraged to assist the float builders as they affix paper to the wire frames of the floats. The lounge on the top floor is a great place to grab something to eat while enjoying a great view of the area. On a clear day, both Mt. Iwaki and the Hakkoda Mountains are visible, and visiting after dark provides a great view of the city lights. The small art gallery on the 2nd floor mainly features local artists. edit
- Ashino Park (芦野公園), (17 min walk north of Kanagi Stn), ☎ 017-334-9555, . Chosen as one of the top cherry blossom places in the nation, around the end of April to early May this 80-hectare park explodes in color with over 1500 cherry trees. There is also a lake and 1800 pine trees, as well as several monuments to Japanese literary giant Dazai Osamu, who used to play in the park as a child. Free. edit
- Dazai Osamu Memorial Hall Shayokan (太宰治記念館「斜陽館」), 412-1 Asahiyama Kanagi, Goshogawara (6 min walk west of Kanegi Stn), ☎ 017-353-2020, . 9AM–5PM. Dazai Osamu was one of Japan's most famous writers, and here you can see his huge childhood home. It became a large inn after the war, and now is the city museum on the writer. ¥500. edit
- Tsugaru Shamisen Hall (津軽三味線会館), 189-3 Asahiyama Kanagi, Goshogawara (6 min walk west of Kanegi Stn), ☎ 017-354-1616, . 9AM–6PM. A facility with an exhibition room that introduces the history, folk songs, and folk performing arts of the Tsugaru shamisen (a variation on the traditional Japanese lute). Includes a video theater with daily screenings, plus a music hall for the Tsugaru Shamisen All Japan Kanagi Tournament held every year in late summer. edit
- Former Hirayama House (旧平山家住宅), 144-1 Chidori, Minato, Goshogawara (Next to Kikugaoka Undō Park), ☎ 017-334-8870, . 9AM-4PM Sat-Sun, hol. This former home from a prominent family has been designated an important cultural property and has a history going back to around 1769. Its thatched roof and thick wooden construction was typical of the upper level farmers in the Tsugaru region, and is a rare surviving structure. Free. edit
- Kikugaokaundo Park (菊ヶ丘運動公園), 102-1 Uosumazu, Goshogawara (20 min walk south of Goshogawara Stn). This is another wonderful cherry blossom spot at the end of April, as well as in July for its large beautiful iris field and hydrangeas. Free. edit
- Tachineputa Festival, Goshogawara downtown (From Goshogawara Stn go 2 stoplights down Route 101), ☎ 017-338-3232, . Aug 4-8, 7PM-9PM. A spectacular regional summer festival, Goshogawara Tachineputa is famous for its 70 foot tall floats weighing more than 17 tons; the floats dwarf most of the surrounding buildings as they parade through the streets. In addition to revelers yelling "yatte-mare, yatte-mare", the parade procession is made up of taiko drum performances on gigantic drums, traditional hand dances, an occasional Japanese jester, and huge fireworks. It dates back to the early 1900s but was almost lost due to devastating fires that ravaged the city. A dedicated group of citizens revived the festival and in 1998, after nearly 80 years of absence, Tachineputa floats once again paraded through the city streets. edit
- Goshogawara Spa (五所川原温泉ホテル), 2-90 Matsushimacho, Goshogawara (2km from Goshogawara Stn), ☎ 017-334-2121, . A hot spring resort hotel with day use alkaline sodium-chloride hot springs, said to be good for low back pain, stiff muscles, as well poor circulation; available with meal (¥2000). ¥390~. edit
- Otojirō Hot Spring (音次郎温泉), 56-1 Fujimaki, Ishioka, Goshogawara, ☎ 017-335-9885, . 5AM-10PM. A local hot spring with two temperature baths, sauna, and relaxation room. ¥380, towel rental ¥140. edit
- Pottery Class Chubachi, ☎ 080-8488-2485. 9AM-5PM. Offers Tsugaru Kanayama pottery workshops with easy to follow instructions from professionals. Teaches the yakishime method, a production technique used for centuries, produced centuries ago, using the firing and hardening the pottery without using any glazes. ¥1550~. edit
- Okutsugaru Trails, ☎ 017-352‐2882. These are guided hiking tours conducted by the Okutsugaru Trail Club through this remote area through the remains of the old forest railway. Includes half and full day hiking courses. ¥8800~. edit
The Tsugaru Railway makes its own special bento lunches, which vary by season.
The area is famous for its Goshogawara Red Apples and Toki apples, as well as apple sweets, deep fried agetai (a sweet bean paste cake), and a uniquely made sasamochi (rice cake) with red bean paste wrapped in mochi rice paste.
- Park Inn Goshogawara Elm City (パークイン五所川原エルムシティ), 66-12 Fujimaki, Karakasayanagi, Goshogawara, ☎ 017-334-8910, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Modern, clean 9-story hotel with several room size and style choices to pick from, as well as various choices of pillows and shampoo types. With optional meals. ¥9500~. edit
- Hotel Sunroute Patio Goshogawara (ホテルサンルートパティオ五所川原), 181 Tamachi, Goshogawara, ☎ 017-333-3333, . Large tourist hotel with bigger than average rooms, and conveniently located close to Goshogawara Station. ¥12,500. edit
- Royal Onsen Ryokan (ロイヤル温泉旅館), 13-7 Chitsukari, Tachiuchi, Goshogawara, ☎ 017-339-2323, . A traditonal Japanese inexpensive hot spring inn, located about 8 minutes on foot north of Tokiwa Station. ¥3800~. edit
For the latest info on events, happenings, and things to see and do, see the page of the Goshogawara Tourism Convention Association (五所川原市観光協会, Goshogawara Kankō Kyōkai) Tel. 017-338-1515, or see the tourist info office at the train station.
- Aomori - Prefectural capital and bullet train station, with Nebuta Museum, Great Buddha, and other sights.
- Tsugaru Peninsula - Offers lots of natural beauty, as well as the gorgeous Takayama Inari Shrine.
- Hachinohe - Lots of sea coast beauty with the rugged Tanesashi Coast and countless seagulls around Kabushima Shrine.
- Mutsu - The Shimokita Peninsula is one of Japan's most isolated places, and home to Osorezan (Mt. Fear).
- Towada-Hachimantai National Park - One of Japan's best lakes, as well as the volcanic Hachimantai Plateau and gorgeous Oirase Gorge.
- Hakodate - Gateway city to Hokkaido, with great seafood and one of Japan's best mountaintop views.
- Akita - City in the middle of some of Japan's most pristine nature.