What's New at Hakkoda?    

Updated 8/27/06! This past weekend Simon's Tours went to the 80th annual Fireworks Competitions at Omagari, Akita Prefecture. With millions of yen for top prizes, fireworks makers from all around the world displayed their magic for the judges and to the ohs, awes and cheers of the audience.
The population of 60,000 of Omagari City (recently renamed Daisen City due to incorporation) swelled to 700,000 people (some coming days ahead of time to get the best camp sites).
This tour, for the 6th year, included as always: the platform seats high above the crowds for the best view, home stay at my Japanese friend's home to avoid the log-jammed roads after the event and an international exchange party before and after the event!
The show started at five p.m. with afternoon fireworks and continued 5 straight hours with the blasts of the fireworks sounding in unison with the choreographed music.
You can find out what my group thought and see more pictures soon at the customer comment section! Whatta summer, whatta life!

Updated 8/18/06! This past weekend the tour went to the west coast where we hiked the Shirakami mountain range.

This area is a United Nations World Heritage Beech Tree primeval forest preserve since 1993. It boasts the world's largest area (16,971 hectares) of virgin beech trees (buna) and is the home to rare animals including bear (Shikinowa-guma), deer (kamoshika), monkey(Nihon-zaru) and many wild birds and flowers.

Walking through the beech trees, some with bear claw marks we saw where the bear scampered up the trees.

Many waterfalls dot the landscape as well including the triple-decked Anmon Falls. Although this hike takes a bit of time to get to, there are many easy hikes for families with children as well and is definitely a must see during your stay in Aomori.

Mika and Reiko listen intently to the heart of a 400 year old beech tree. The tree is said to have 2,200,000 leaves but is only half the age of other beech trees in the Shirakami range

Updated 7/27/06! I was invited to participate in the once in 4 years 5 day 100 mile canoe trip down the Teshio River in Hokkaido July 14th to the 18th. Suffice it to say, it was quite an experience with 1st and 2nd class rapids, rare eagle sightings, traditional Japanese hot baths, and lots of partying with interesting Japanese people who came from all over Japan to participate! Look for Brian's run down on what happened and more pictures in the customer comment section coming soon!

Brian and I in the canadian canoe

Simon: dead tired, sun-burnt, with 100 miles of canoeing/kayacking in his back pocket and ready for more!

Updated 7/1/06! Summer hiking in Hakkoda and the surrounding mountains is in full swing! Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a beginner hiker, I can personally tailor a day of fun and enjoyment just for you and give you a bird's eye view of the beauty of Hakkoda, Aomori Prefecture and it's cultural and festive sites. Check out the list of mountains in northern Japan in my new Summer Hiking section!


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