Winter is here. And for the Tohoku region in northern Japan, that means snow, and lots of it! Last year in Aomori, it snowed over six meters - more than 21 feet – making it one of the snowiest major cities on the planet.
For local residents, wintertime is a constant battle against the elements. But for tourists, this wild, otherworldly region is a winter wonderland, with some of the most unique landscapes, food and ice sports in the world.
Over the course of a theme week and half-hour special, CNN’s Destination Tohoku brings viewers closer to the distinctive winter landscape of Japan and the residents who live there.
Highlights of the 30-minute show include:
How to Fly to one of the World’s Snowiest Cities
Aomori City in Tohoku may be one of the snowiest major cities in the world. But that doesn’t stop tourists from arriving at the city’s airport. CNN meets the airport’s specialized team of snow removers – codenamed ‘White Impulse’ – who keep the runway ice-free every winter.
Into the Wild in Hakkoda
When the winter snow starts falling on the peaks of Aomori’s Hakkoda Mountains, the blizzards are not far behind. CNN journeys up to its highest peaks, a winter playground for skiiers and trekkers. The mountain is also home to a popular thermal spring, or onsen, that’s said to have therapeutic properties for bathers.
Skiing with the Snow Monsters
Japan has some of the best powder for skiing in the world. One of its most well-known ski resorts is in the town of Zao Onsen, but it’s known for more than its slopes. The Yamagata town is famed for its ‘snow monsters’, trees covered in layers of packed frost that resemble an army of white zombies on the mountain. CNN gets a guided tour of the monsters with Hideto Ito, a former professional skier who comes from Zao Onsen.
The All-You-can-eat Noodle Binge
You can’t face the cold winters of Tohoku on an empty stomach. At the Azumaya noodle shop in Iwate’s capital city, you’re encouraged to overeat. The draw of this family-run Morioka noodle shop is an all-you-can-eat binge of locally-produced wanko soba noodles. Customers who finish over 100 bowls get a personalized certificate. CNN discovers what makes this Tohoku specialty so good with a former wanko soba challenge champion, a Japanese woman who can eat over 300 bowls in one sitting.
Grilling Squid on a Stove Train
Japan’s best-known form of train transportation may be the Shinkansen, or bullet train. But in the Aomori prefecture, there’s another, much more rustic train that’s one of Tohoku’s biggest tourist attractions - the stove train. Its passenger cars are warmed by charcoal stoves that conductors keep lit throughout the journey. CNN takes a ride and uses the stoves to cook locally-caught squid, which can be purchased along the short journey.
Destination Tohoku is produced by CNN Vision, the global production powerhouse of CNN International, which brings the world’s breath-taking diversity into cinematic focus, telling stories that inspire audiences around the world.
Destination Tohoku promo: https://cnn.it/2MzCkAw
Destination Tohoku images: https://bit.ly/2MrgZcy
The 30-minute special of Destination Tohoku airs at the following times:
Saturday, 2nd February at 2130 HKT
Sunday, 3rd February at 0030 HKT, 0530 HKT and 1130 HKT
Monday, 4th February at 0930 HKT and 1730 HKT
Wednesday, 6th February at 0130 HKT
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