By far the largest U.S. military base in Japan is in Okinawa Prefecture, but the second largest base is Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture.
Although it is a small city with a population of only 39,000, approximately 10,000 Americans (military personnel and their families) live in the city, and Americans can be seen everywhere in the city.
Although only a few people live in the city, there are many tourist attractions in the surrounding area, and the city also has a delicious food culture, including seafood and mountain products.
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In this article, we would like to explain the history of Misawa Air Base in Aomori and recommended sightseeing spots in the area.
History of Misawa Air Base in Aomori
Misawa Air Base was established in 1938 as an airfield for the Naval Flying Corps.
Education and training for pilots were conducted here until the end of the war in 1945.
It was then seized by the U.S. military and the U.S. Air Force was stationed there.
New runways, hangars, barracks, and fuel tanks were added, and the scale of the site grew.
Today, it is used by the U.S. Air Force, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, and commercial aviation, making it the only one of its kind in Japan.
However, the maximum number of slots allocated to Japanese commercial airlines is seven, which is not very many.
The base is known as the “Spear of the North,” and is responsible for preparations against Russia and North Korea.
The total area of the base is approximately 16 million square meters, with a runway of approximately 3,000 meters. (The same runways as those used for civil aviation are used.)
Misawa Air Base is home to 13 units, including the U.S. military’s F-16 and the Self-Defense Forces’ F-35A stealth fighter,
The Misawa Air Base has 13 units, including 40 to 50 U.S. F-16s, the Self-Defense Force’s F-35A stealth fighter, and U.S. F-16s. (Incidentally, the Japanese Self-Defense Force’s F-35A stealth fighter also has more than 30 aircraft.)
It is true that there is some antipathy toward U.S. military bases in Okinawa and elsewhere.
However, in Misawa City, where the Misawa base is located, such antipathy is almost unheard of.
This is probably because people are aware that the U.S. military presence in Misawa is the reason for the city’s economy and livelihood.
In this sense, it can be said that Misawa is an area with a very high awareness of “coexistence and coexistence.
Recommended Sightseeing Spots around Misawa Air Base
Here are some sightseeing spots around Misawa Air Base.
(1) Misawa Auto Camping Site
Misawa City is home to the Misawa Auto Campground.
There are AC power supply sites and caravan sites, and the campground also has playground equipment for children.
Prices are reasonable, ranging from 2,200 yen to 3,850 yen.
A full lineup of camping gear is available for rent, making it easy to use.
(2)Sky Plaza MISAWA
Sky Plaza MISAWA is a shopping mall located in Misawa City.
Unlike most shopping malls, this mall is full of American colors.
It is a shopping mall that can be said to be unique to Misawa City, which has a large number of foreign residents.
Incidentally, there are many restaurants where you can eat “hokkidon” in Misawa City.
This is because hokkidon is a specialty of Misawa City.
You can have it at “Sky Plaza MISAWA,” so be sure to order it.
(3)Misawa City Indoor Heated Swimming Pool
There is an indoor heated swimming pool area in Misawa City.
There are six courses of 25-meter pools, as well as a separate pool for toddlers and a water slide.
It is quite crowded because elementary and junior high school students residing in the city receive free admission every Saturday.
(4) Kumanosawa Onsen
Kumanosawa Onsen is located about 15 km south of Misawa City.
The hot spring water is drawn from a source 800 m underground and is characterized by its brownish-brown color.
The spring’s sodium chloride and bicarbonate content is beneficial for neuralgia, joint pain, frozen shoulders, chronic dermatitis, burns, oversensitivity to cold, and frail constitutions.
Because it is located in the mountains, there are many very long and good hot spring resorts.
If you are looking for a good seafood restaurant, the Hachishoku Center is the place to go.
The market is located about 15 km south of Misawa City, and offers a wide variety of freshly landed seafood and seafood-based foods. (60 stores line the streets).
You can buy them as souvenirs or eat fresh seafood bowls and sushi to your heart’s content at the restaurants.
There are also facilities where you can cook and eat the seafood you have purchased yourself, and there is also an indoor playground for children to enjoy.
This is a must-visit spot for Americans living on the base as well, as they can enjoy delicious seafood unique to Japan.
In this article, we have explained the history of Misawa Air Base in Aomori and recommended sightseeing spots in the area.
Misawa Air Base, which is one of the largest U.S. military bases in Honshu, is a rare base where the U.S. Air Force, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, and civil aviation coexist.
The city has a rich international flavor, and there are many sightseeing spots in the surrounding area.
We hope that the Americans living on the base will also experience the goodness of Japan at the Kumanosawa Onsen and Hachishoku Center introduced here.