On The Fox Trail……At Takayama Inari-Jinja Shrine (Aomori)

If you thought that Motonosumi Inari Shrine in Yamaguchi prefecture was difficult to get to then that was nothing really compared to getting to this shrine in the north-west of Honshu; Japan’s mainland. The day began in Aomori and from there it was 75 minutes to Goshogawara via a quick change in Kawabe. There was then an 80 minute wait before the bus left at 12:30 pm and that took a further 46 minutes. Even though the bus stop was called Takayama Jinja Iriguchi mae, it was still another Continue reading

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Apple Curry, Hirosaki Castle & An Apt Pun-Based Name For The Local Japanese Idol Group!

It wasn’t quite all local trains on this trip up north to the Tohoku area as I had to take a bus from Morioka Station to Hirosaki (3000 yen). The journey took about two hours and was the best way of getting between the two places as the train would’ve meant going on a huge detour heading eastwards, up round the coast to Aomori and then back down to Hirsosaki. Typically, the bus passed the same watermelon gas tank I’d just walked to on a two hour return trip. The fruit theme was to continue though as Hiroskai is Japan’s largest producer of apples and it’s certainly not shy about showing it!

  

There were a few things I wanted to do in Hirosaki but eating apple curry was my priority. This wasn’t an ordinary high street restaurant though as it’s located Continue reading

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Dining Out: A Taste Of Jar Jar In Morioka (Iwate)

There are three noodle dishes which Morioka is famous for. One of the most popular is the amusingly named wanko soba which come in small bowls and are consumed one after another until you’ve had enough. This has been covered by a countless number of YouTubers over the years and the record is an absurd 500 or so! The next one is called reimen which is a cold noodle dish with kimuchi in it that originates from Korea.

The final one is jajamen noodles which are udon noodles topped with cucumbers, garlic, chilli oil, and a sweet, miso meat sauce. This was the one I thought to be the more appetising and furthermore it had a name that was very similar to the much-ridiculed Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks. Unlike many people I never had a problem with his appearance in the Star Wars prequels and by pure chance I just happened to have a figure of the character in my bag ready to be whipped out for such a photo opportunity!!

  

The original jajamen restaurant is called  Continue reading

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Only In Japan: A Huge Gas Tank Decorated To Look Like A Fruit!

In any other country, such things like gas tanks would just be left in their natural state. However, that’s not always the way in Japan where some of the gas companies like to spruce them up a bit. Other decorated ones around the country (that I know of) include a football in Kiryū (Gunma prefecture), a peach in Akaiwa (Okayama prefecture), a smiley face mascot in Shibata (Niigata prefecture) and a few others have been garnished with artwork usually relating to the area they are based in. Click here to see a picture gallery of them all. 

Summer watermelons are the speciality of an area in Iwate prefecture called Takizawa and that is supposedly the reason why this gas tank has been decorated to look exactly like the big fruit. However, the two things are actually 100 kilometres apart! I’ve been told that there are two other watermelon tanks like this in Japan with Kumamoto and Tomisato in Chiba playing host to them.

  

Car is by far the best way to get to the gas tank but I chose to do it Continue reading

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The Ancient City Of Hiraizumi In Iwate Prefecture

As soon as I heard that Hiraizumi was known as an ancient city I was keen to visit it. If you’d mentioned that name to me a few days before I would have not been any wiser! Once I was done at the awesome Genbikei Gorge I took the bus five minutes up the road see this interesting shrine which is more commonly known as Takkoku no Iwaya.

In a country where there are thousands and thousands of shrines they need to really have some kind of uniqueness for them to appeal to me in some way. This one was a no-brainer though as a shrine built below an overhanging cliff isn’t something you see too often.

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Dining Out: A Truly Novel Way Of Buying Food At Genbikei Gorge

  

We tend to think of mistakes as bad things. Of course they are sometimes but naturally, we learn from them and in this case my silly error ultimately resulted in a very rewarding moment. This all happened at Genbikei Gorge which was the first place I went to on my arrival in the ancient city of Hiraizumi in Iwate prefecture that morning.

It is easy to confuse this gorge with the similarly-named Geibikei Gorge which is located close by and considered to be the more beautiful but is a bit more difficult to get to and seemingly looks very similar to Sandankyo in Hiroshima Prefecture. For me, Genbikei Gorge seemed like the more unique experience and it was also a much easier one as it was just Continue reading

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