About 8.7 million people live in the Tohoku region, which comprises the six northern Honshu prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, and Fukushima. Like Hokkaido, it has long, cold winters.
Its plains and river basins support thriving rice cultivation: one quarter of all Japan's rice is produced here. Also grown are apples, cherries, and other fruits. Fishing flourishes, too - the port of Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture is known for bountiful catches. And in many places, traditional artifacts are still made.
Many tourists visit the region, which is liberally covered by natural Japanese beech and oak forests and has a beautiful coastline. There are three great summer festivals - the Nebuta Festival in Aomori, the Kanto Festival in Akita and the Tanabata Festival in Sendai, Miyagi - which attract a large number of tourists.
Photo:Ministry of Foreign Affairs