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Trip Report Japan 2016 - Akita & Iwate

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Heinz, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Awesome guys, thanks for the pics.

    Yeah, the 2 weekends of rain (especially the first one at 10C+) really ruined the snowpack, but in between that there were great conditions if you picked the right places.
     
  2. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    After the 12 days skiing I had one day of playing tourist in Sendai before making my way to Haneda airport.

    Sendai in Miyagi prefecture is the largest city in Tohoku. Certainly apparent when you exit the railway station and try to work the right overhead walkways to get to the hotel. Had stopped overnight once before but never looked around.

    Unlike the skiing portion though I had done zero research about what to see/do in Sendai. I wandered out of the hotel and checked out nearby streets including a shopping arcade - pretty common in Japan.

    Then saw signs to 'Site of Sendai castle'. It was just under 3kms away so walked out there - was quite clearly marked. There isn't any castle anymore as it was pretty much completely destroyed in air raids during WWII. It had previously survived quite few earthquakes. Now just a few walls and some restored buildings. Some of the walls were partially ruined during the 2011 earthquake but also since restored.

    Had a look around, then caught the subway back.
     
    #202 Heinz, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
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  3. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    We were surprised how big Sendai was going through it by train. Had no idea it was such a large city.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Teahouse
    [​IMG]

    Fortress wall
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    Fortress entrance
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    View of Sendai from the site
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    Can't remember what this was, but there was a large eagle on top which was toppled by the earthquake and is now being restored.
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    Gogoku Shrine
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    Restored watchtower
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Pop just over 1m.
     
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Went back and wandered along the arcade, had lunch (Katsudon) and eventually returned to hotel to pick up bags and back to the station mid afternoon.

    Then the busy Komachi (as previously documented), changing to the Yamanote line and then the monorail all well within the times prescribed by Hyperdia (11 mins for Tokyo, 7 mins for Hamamatsucho). Yamanote in Tokyo was fairly busy but not too bad.
     
    #206 Heinz, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
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  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Was still too early for check in at Haneda. Was amusing waiting for it to open with quite a few people queued up. Japanese staff gathered in a huddle, then lined up in front of counters at precisely 7pm and bowed before opening.

    I don't recall having seen that before, but assume that just because I haven't been right there at opening. Being Japan I guess that is just normal. I do recall similar thing at a department store opening at 10am. All the staff stand by and bow as you come in.

    Japan - gotta love it. :)

    [​IMG]
     
    #207 Heinz, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  8. bullet

    bullet One of Us

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    Haha when we left last week we were amused by the same thing.
     
  9. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Pls comment on level of cabbage.
     
  10. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I love watching the ground crew bowing as you leave the aerobridge.
     
  11. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  12. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    By mid afternoon we had started to feel the cold and decided to move on to Yokote where we had 2 nights booked at a business hotel. We had come there to check out the Kamakura and Bonden Festival which is held on 15th,16th and 17th February every year.
    To quote Japan-Guide;
    "The festival features many igloo-like snow houses, called kamakura, which are built at various locations across the city. Within each kamakura there is a snow altar dedicated to the water deity, to whom people pray for ample water. A charcoal brazier is set up to provide warmth and grill rice cakes. In the evenings (18:00 to 21:00), children invite festival visitors into their kamakura and offer them rice cakes and amazake, a type of warm sweet rice wine with zero or very low alcohol content. In return, the visitors make an offering to the water deity at the altar."
    After staying in the town for a couple of days and experiencing the amount of snowfall it can receive even in a lean snow year, I'm not sure why the concern about lack of water but who am I to question a 400 year old tradition?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    After making a few new friends inside some of the igloos and having dinner at one of the many stalls that were set up we decided to call it a night. Tomorrow was shaping up as a ski day.
     
    #212 PMG, Mar 1, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
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  13. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Awesome. Looks a little bit like Nikkoyumoto did (and im sure many other places) except that was by the lake not the river.
     
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  14. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    @Heinz Excellent as always, Did you venture off piste much at Tazawako, did their look like much in the way of decent trees??
    I saw a photo of it on a bluebird day and there looks like some great alpine above and it perked my interest haha
     
  15. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not too much. Much of the time vis was pretty poor so was happy to lap the fresh on the trail. Did a bit when the top chair opened - some nice tree lines before opening up again above the skiers right lift.

    You thinking of any other areas on your way? Amihari I think is also worth a look.
     
  16. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Not sure if it will happen or not, Snow isnt looking that great down south so thought id swing north if its really terrible.. We would be blowing off 4 days in Naeba as we have a further 5 days in yuzawa later on as well. But seeing as we are flying into Osaka we bought a full JR pass and we may aswell use it if the snow isnt amazing.
     
  17. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Hah, Just had a look at Amihari and its closed due to lack of snow... It does look good though!
     
  18. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's only Christmas Eve. When are you flying out?
     
  19. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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  20. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ah okay. Next week still looks quite good for snow if not epic. Things can turn around pretty quickly as you know.
     
    #220 PMG, Dec 24, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  21. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Yeah its more of an emergency plan. As mentioned earlier in the thread, booking.com is great haha.
    Id be alright at kagura for a while and its got a fair bit up top but im hoping to explore a few of the smaller resorts this time!
     
  22. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    So this year im doing Iwate! Ive got 5 days there on the way through from Hokkaido.
    Accomodation seems rare as hens teeth. Or possibly just snapped up by the booking.com book everything types.. Did you guys manage to book through an accom site or did you end up hunting out ryokan?? Other option is stay in Morioka and self drive... not much in the way of Drying rooms though it seems. Other option is stay at Appi but the skiing looks better at Shizukuishi area...
     
  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I used Japanican or Rakuten for that trip. Found them much better than Booking.com for Japan. Got a good deals on resort hotels at Hachimantai and Tazawako. Also many hotels only open for bookings a couple of months out.

    I also spent some of that time at a business hotel opposite Morioka station, which was very convenient for the various buses for day trips. You won't have drying rooms. though I just kept my gear in my room - wasn't a problem.
     
  24. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Too early yet.
     
  25. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    For off the radar places def. these are the best. Also you can go the Rakuten Japanese language site in Google Chrome and you'll find a fair few more places than on just the English side. As PMG alluded to, some of them won't put up availability till Sep-Nov so maybe tentatively book one place but just keep checking in.
     
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  26. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jalan can be worth a look. The local tourist offices can sometimes be quite helpful in getting reasonable accommodation (e.g Tazawako sports centre and ryokans). A few airbnbs are showing up too in this area.
     
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  27. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    @Heinz - thanks for planting the seed. Just did a couple of weeks and it was brilliant.
    @Ramenman ......... we dropped a few hundred thousand Yen in Tohoku........so hopefully the favourites will still be operating next year. ;)
    A few days to go before home.
     
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