So this was the second day of our travel to Hirosaki, however this day turned out to be much more that what we planned. A full day car trip around Aomori prefecture, that allowed us to experience so many local things.
After Apple picking in the Hirosaki apple park, Mr Kimura drove us around Mount Iwaki that was at this time already covered by snow and some trekking paths were already closed for the winter season.
The road around Iwaki san
In the area, we also saw many rice fields that were at this time covered with snow and Mr Kimura explained to us that government finances these rice plantation workers in the winter time.
Another view from Iwaki san
We passed through the coast line of the Aomori prefecture and we learned that a common sight here is squid hanging to be dried for packing. It was very interesting and a very local experience. The view of the Japan sea was really nice. I wish we had time to stay longer, but our next destination was the Nebuta museum in Aomori.
The coastline of Aomori prefecture with drying squid
When we arrived to Aomori city, Mr Kimura took us for lunch in the Furukawa Fish Market. I was not sure if this was the place but it matches what I found online. Here at this market, you can pay a certain amount of money and get some fresh sashimi and a bowl of rice to make what some call a customized sashimi don, with the freshest fish from the local market. We were also provided with a special miso soup, cooked with small shellfish.
Local delicacies of the Furukawa market. Click to see more
Although I don’t have any pictures, I leave here a picture from an official tourism website with some extra information. You can click to open the webpage.
As I mentioned before in another post about Aomori, in the Summer days, in this area there is a famous festival called the Nebuta festival. This festival is famous for the huge paper statues filled with lights that are paraded along the streets.
Recollections of previous nebuta festivals
This must be an incredible thing to experience in Japan that unfortunately we were not able to experience. However, Mr Kimura took us to a museum where we were able to see some of the Nebutas paraded the previous year.
Some amazing nebutas in the museum
A mandatory stop if you come around this area because pictures do not show how impressive they are.
Our last stop before going back to Hirosaki was the Aomori Art museum. This museum in itself was a regular museum with art from all over the world, however the best part was the nearby Sannai Maruyama Site.
The art museum
This place is an Archaeological Site where you can find a preserved village from the Jomon Period between 13000 and the 300 BC. An extraordinary example of how tribal people of Japan lived a very long time ago.
Everyone interested in Japanese history should visit this open air museum. Click to see more
I also have no pictures from this place since my camera is not very helpful with dusk lighting, but again I will leave a link for some more information.
From the museums we were returned to Hirosaki and from there we took our bus back to Sendai where we arrived very late and very tired but unbelievably happy.
I’m so gratefull that we met Kimura san and that we showed us all of these incredible places around Aomori prefecture which we would not been able to see or experience otherwise.
This is a tricky post to leave “how to get” advice, however, starting in Iwaki san: If you would like to climb Mount Iwaki, there is a bus that goes from Hirosaki station to Dake Onsen Stop.
To see the coast of Aomori prefecture, you can catch a train from Hirosaki, taking the Ōu Main Line and then changing at Kawabe station to the Gonō Line. Our stop was around Ajigasawa, however if you continue you can go all along the coast and make your way to the Akita prefecture, which will actually be a great path if you’re traveling around the area.
In Aomori, the Nebuta museum and the fish market are next to each other and the Aomori train station, making it really convenient for a visit.
The Archaeological site of Sennai Maruyama is trickier to access, you will need to take a 20 minute bus trip from Aomori station. Be sure to ask for updated information on which bus at the Aomori information office in the train station.
What would I do differently
There is nothing to regret, an unbelievable day completely filled with exciting experiences, much better than what we had planned.
If I was visiting the area by transportation I feel that the local train to Akita from Hirosaki, going through the coastline, must be a really good treat.
Well with November ending… December 2014 was arriving and for new year’s we started to plan the long awaited trip to Tokyo. For this trip, I flew mom in from Portugal and together with Nevena, we explored Tokyo for 11 days, from the 24th of December to the 3rd of January.
I still have to decide how to organize the next blog posts for this trip but it will probably be by day and area of Tokyo.
Thank you for reading and keeping up with these travels. I hope you’ll come back for this next long trip, じゃねー