November is a great time to visit the Hachinohe Area! Fantastic events, amazing seasonal food, and beautiful scenery can be found at every turn, and nothing compares to the Japanese countryside in autumn. So take advantage of all the Hachinohe Area has to offer now, because it will be winter before you know it!
What to Eat: Suiton or Hittsumi (Soup Dumplings)
Suiton are simple hand-pulled dumplings that are cooked in a broth to form a hearty and filling meal. The dish can be found all over Japan, and in the Hachinohe Area’s local dialect, it is called hittsumi. To make the dish, wheat flour is kneaded with water to form a dough from which thin pieces are pulled off in the shape of strips or circles. The Japanese word in the local dialect for this pulling action when tearing off the bits of the dough is said to be where the dish gets its name.
The strips or circles are then usually simmered and served in a soy sauce and vegetable-based soup. Seasonal ingredients, such as wild mushrooms, etc., are often added into the soup with the dumplings to complete the dish. Hittsumi is a dish that reflects the changing seasons and local culture of the area and is particularly nice on cold autumn days.
One local variation of this staple, called Suiton & River Crab Soup, can be found in the town of Sannohe. The base for this dish is made by finely and painstakingly grinding down whole crabs to make an intensely flavorful stock to which the wheat dumplings are added.
Suiton & River Crab Soup has been featured on various TV programs throughout the country and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. The soup is a culinary experience not quite like any other in Japan, it is well worth the trip off the beaten path to find.
What to Do: The Oirase Salmon Festival
Get ready for one of the most exciting festivals of the season: The Oirase Salmon Festival. The festival will be taking place on Nov 16 & 17 at the Shimoda Salmon Park in Oirase Town.
During the festival, participants who purchase a ticket can try to catch salmon using only their hands. The ‘Salmon Catch’ will take place four times on both Saturday (11:00, 11:30, 14:00, 15:00) and Sunday (10:30, 11:15, 13:00, 14:00), offering plenty of chances for everyone to join in on the fun. After you have caught your salmon, some stalls will clean and prep your salmon so you can take it home for a fantastic and fresh meal.
Although the salmon catch requires a ticket, the festival area is free to enter. There will be plenty of other games, entertainment, music, and food stalls during the festival, offering a great time for everyone!
Tickets are available for purchase before the event, but will also be available during the event along with boots and gloves available for rent. The weather is getting colder by the day so make sure you bundle up when you come to enjoy this great event.
What to See: Autumn Foliage (Momijigari)
Although the autumn foliage is on its way out in the mountains of Aomori Prefecture, there are still plenty of top-notch places to go leaf viewing in the Hachinohe Area. Many trees situated at lower altitudes will keep their autumn color until mid to late November, so check out this article for some of the best places to go!