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No.236 (5/24/13)

The Insider's Picks: 10 Spring Activities Everyone Should Do in TOHOKU!

By Staff Writer

1. Rental Farm

There are some rental farms in Misawa. February through March, the farms ask for members who want to plant flowers and/or vegetables at public farms for 1,000 ? 2,000yen. They work until the end of November. You get your own plot of land (which is 120 inches squared) by Misawa city. Other rental farms are managed by some NPO associations. You can apply to rent your farm and make your own fresh vegetables.

2 .Picking Sansais

One of the major events of spring season is picking the edible mountain vegetables. Mountain vegetables, or Sansai, are edible wild vegetables, which grow naturally in the woods and swamp areas. In Japan , their havest season begins in April and ends in May. There are dozens of varieties of Sansai and will be out in full force at the market in the next few weeks. I will introduce some of them to you:

Flower Bud: Fuki no to

Fern: Kogomi, Zenmai, Warabi

Bamboo: Negamaritake

Leafy Vegetables: Gyoujya Ninniku, Fuki, Mizu

Stalks: Udo, Tara no me

These are just a few of the many vegetables that you could pick yourself, or at least find in the markets.

 

3. Tamagawa Hot Spring

Tamagawa Hot Spring is located in Senboku, Akita prefecture. Tamagawa has a flow rate of 9000 liters/minute (2378 gallons/minute). The hot spring feeds a 3 meter wide stream with a temperature of 98°C (204°F).

Tamagawa is surrounded by a gorgeous nature scene full of mountains, a lake, a beech tree forest, valley and more.

In the winter, it snows so much that the snow prevents Route 341 from reaching the spring. Route 341 closes from late November to late April yearly. During this time, there is a bus from Lake Tazawa to Shin Tamagawa hot spring. It takes 80 minutes. You have to stay overnight at one of the hotels. There are two hotels, Shin Tamagawa hotel and Tamagawa hotel. If you want stay over at Tamagawa hotel, you have to take snow vehicle from Shin Tamagawa hotel to Tamagawa hotel. Now, Route 341 is open and you can drive there yourself this spring.

 

4. JAL reintroduces the Misawa - Osaka route

Japan Airlines (JAL) had reintroduced its Misawa ? Osaka (Itami) route starting this March. Now, you can go Osaka very easily and in an hour and a half. There are so many places to visit in Osaka including: Univarsal Studio, Osaka Castle, Kuidaore and Tsutenkaku Tower and you can eat Takoyaki, which is the most famous food in Osaka.

Osaka is next to Kyoto , so while you are there you can get on the train to Kyoto and visit some historical shines and temples. Take some pictures of Maiko-san! It will be fun!

 

5.  Hakkoda Gold line walk

Hakkoda gold-line opened in the end of March. This is where the Hakkoda Gold line walk is held. The Hakkoda gold line opens on April 1 st every year. 2 days before, they call for the members to participate to walk the gold line. The snow valley height is 390 inches and you can walk in the snow valley for 5miles. It is amazing to walk into snow valley. There are some points where you can reach the top of the snow valley. The scene from the top is beautiful. It is the first thing to do in the beginning of spring. You should try to try it once!

  




6.  Shirakami Mountain Beech Forest Walk

One of the World Heritage Nature Forest , Shirakami Moutains nature trails, opened on April 25 this year. Seven hiking courses and five climbing courses are available for free to anyone. (The trails range from 15minutes up to 8 hours depending on the routes you take.)

Check the route maps from the link: http://www.shirakami-visitor.jp/course.html

Popular spots: Anmon Water Falls , Jyuniko(lake), Kurokuma Water Falls, 400 years old Mother Tree.

 

7.  Visit Oirase Gorge in Towada and Enjoy Sukayu Hot Spring!

Visiting Lake Towada around this time of year is another option. The contrast of fresh early green and remaining snow is absolutely gorgeous. The route to Hakkoda Gold Line will be reopened in April. Skayu Onsen is one of the best hot springs in Aomori , which has easy access from Oirase Gorge by driving for about 30 minutes on a winding road.

Make sure to wear layers since the area is definitely chillier than Misawa.

http://www.sukayu.jp/index2.html

 

8. Risoukyou Flower Park (April through October)

From June 1st through July 31st, the park will be filled with beautiful flowers such as Lupine, Paeonia Lactiflora, and Iris etc. You can bring your pets to this park and enjoy the gorgeous view.

Check the map and how to acces at the Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/NDKfc

Official Website: http://www.risoukyo.com/

 

If you visit the flower park festival, it is an option to visit Komakko Land ( Horse Park ) in Towada. It is a great place for a picnic around this season. You can enjoy the free slider. Horseback riding is also available for 300 yen -1000 yen.

Official Website: http://komakkoland.jp/index.html

 

9. Miyako Jodogahama Boat Cruise

In the southwest of Iwate prefecture, Jodogahama is well known for a beautiful white sand beach. The scenery from 40 minute cruising is outstanding. Feeding seagulls on the board is quite an interesting activity. There is a free shuttle service within the park for every thirty minutes on weekends and holidays from April 6th through October 27th.

Official Website: http://jodo-yuransen.jp/

 

10. Morioka Municipal Zoo

African elephants, giraffe, lions, monkeys, are some in the variety of animals at the zoo.

Great news is the fee per adult costs only 500 yen, and elementary school students and younger are FREE! Take the toll road to Morioka I.C. and drive Route 46 by passing AEON MALL MORIOKA. Then, take Route 106. It takes about 40 minutes from the toll road.

Official Website: http://moriokazoo.org/

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