Third and final installment...
After spending the morning in Oirase Gorge, we went to the lakeside town of Yasumiya and found a nice restaurant that served soba (buckwheat noodles) with wild mountain vegetables. Oishikatta desu! (It was delicious.)
We walked along the shore to the statue of two maidens by Kotaro Takamura. Then inland to Towada Shrine, built in the 9th century.
|I love the dragons which provide the water for the purification fountains of Shinto shrines.|
K then bought tickets for a boat that would take us along the south shore of the lake and area where the Tachikawa bomber-trainer we had seen at Misawa Aviation Museum had ditched in 1943. The tour boat business has been under bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of the Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. I hope enough people decide to bring them business again. The area is just as interesting and as beautiful as ever and there is no reason to stay away.
|The boat leaves Yasumia and follows the shore around the Nakayama-hanto Penninsula into the deep caldera called Lake Naka-ko (where the airplane ditched), then returns. The Towada Prince location is on the west shore.|
Towada is one of the clearest lakes in Japan. Looking down through a few meters of water at the aquatic plants on the bottom I was reminded of Lake Tahoe on the border between California and Nevada.
A picture like that makes us feel happy that she is OK and more comfortable about being away from her.
After a wonderful "Viking Style" breakfast (as such buffets are called in Japan - as if the Vikings ever had it so good) we went for a walk along the shore then up hill and across the highway to find a bell tower. The automatic bell instrument was a gift from Germany to the people of Japan as a symbol of friendship. It took some finding as it set amid a forest. We checked out of the hotel and drove around the north side of the lake on our way back to Hachinohe City, a route which takes one to higher elevations and some beautiful overviews of the lake.
On the way down the mountain, stopping to top off the gas tank, I snapped this pic of a farmer with his diminutive tractor at the gas pump talking on his cell phone. Old ways and new ways found together in modern day Japan. Let's hope the former are not lost as we will need them as fossils fuels become more and more expensive, making such things as tractors, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and even cell phones more costly - not to mention the cost of importing food from far away.
Returning the car to Hachinohe City, we bought bento lunches in the train station for the ride home and boarded our bullet train for the 3 hour trip to Tokyo. While there is some nice scenery in between, the first fifteen minutes of the ride is mostly tunnels, so I just closed the window shade for a while.
|Harvested rice paddies. Somewhere in Iwate Prefecture.|
From Tokyo it was an hour and fifteen minute ride on a highway express bus to Itako City, next to our home town of Kashima City, and then an hour by car to pick up Momo at Lake Hinuma. A long day to be sure.
It was a fast paced trip, but we managed to take in quite a lot. After a journey, it's always good to come home to familiar things, relax, and think about what one has experienced. Momo was glad to see us and obviously happy to get home as well.