Unplanned Trip To Metoki Village in 三戸青森県 (SanNohe Aomori Prefecture)

 

I greeted 2017 with the idea of exploring Iwate and other prefectures in the Tohoku region… actually, it is kind of 見学 (ken gaku)… travel and study (生活の勉強)。!

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Iwate Galaxy Railway…Line 3 is heading to Hachinohe city in Aomori Prefecture. Line 2 head s to Morioka City, the capital of Iwate Prefecture.

It was so  frustrating at  first  to  get lost  somewhere in  a village called 目時町 (metoki  town). It was unplanned. We had no idea where to explore. We just decided to stop by the first village in the border of Iwate and Aomori.

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Houses are unexpectedly bigger and spaces in between are wider than I thought. I  was also  a bit shocked  with the  kind of train  stations that some areas of Iwate  and Aomori Ken have.  Yung masasabi mong “mas mabuti pa yung istasyon ng tren sa pinas!” You won’t really believe it’s Japan . Para akong bumalik sa period ng mga samurais.

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Tickets to Metoki Station. The IGR system is the old fashion type compared to yokohama where I used to live. At IGR, you need to give back the tickets to the train pilot before moving out of the train. And press the “open button” on the door. It isn’t automatic.

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The old Metoki station. Line 1 going to Hachinohe city

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The only public phone available near the station.

We arrived at Metoki station at around 1:17pm. The first thing that greeted us was a public phone surrounded with snowpowders. For how many years it stood there and still operational up to this day, I don’t know how long . But in cases like ours getting lost in the middle of nowhere, a public phone is somewhat the best friend you can rely on.

My partner and I waited at the station, trying to configure whether to go back or heading north instead. We were lucky enough that an old man came into the station. No choice but to speak Nihongo eh. According to the 時刻表 (jikokuhyou) or the timetable for the train’s schedule, next train heading to north which was 八戸市 (hachinohe city) was 2:32pm. We still had more than an hour to wait.

The old man (Mr.Sataro) offered to show us what his village looked like. So while walking through the snowy-filled road going to the old Metoki bridge, Sataro San shared to us a bit of the history of “Nohes ” in the prefectures of Iwate and  Aomori. 戸 (Nohe) is a kind of district where  in during  the era  of the samurais , they divided  the lands and formed a government in each district. Thus, 10 戸s   (Nohes) were born. Ichinohe  (1st  district), Ninohe (2nd district and where I currently live) ,  Kunohe  (9th district)  were all given to Iwate prefecture, while the rest of the  districts  went to Aomori prefecture.

We went to the honeybee farm. Entry is not allowed to avoid disturbing the bees as they may create a havoc to the entire village. Live wires surround the farm to keep the farm safe from strangers.

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The jungle of the wild pigs and bears.

One interesting area in Metoki was the forest filled with wild pigs and bears. Actually, there were footsteps of such animals at the entrance of the forest. Scary!

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Before we left Metoki, a hospitable villager invited us to taste a native fruit that looked like an apple, fresh from the tree. And we brought home with us some of his best harvested apples from his farm as well. Next time we might have a chance to go back to that village, we will surely bring him some of the best delicacies from Ninohe city.

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With a villager who owns an apple farm

At 2:32 pm, the train to Hachinohe City departed. From Hachinohe, we made a little research of the Shinkansen’s (bullet train) schedule and fare heading to Hakodate Hokkaido. Lucky enough that the price is affordable and a bit near to my place.

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At Hachinohe Station, Aomori Ken

There was not so interesting thing to do in Hachinohe. It is a typical city like Yokohama although the latter is more にぎやか (nigiyaka…. lively). So we just looked for the McDonalds store, had some snacks and a chit-chat. The store is somewhat  3 kilometers or more from Hachinohe station.

We went home with  a satisfied heart for the travel experiences and meeting kindhearted  Japanese along the way, and a satisfied stomach after more than a month of McDonalds fasting.

Next  in line…Okunakayama Kogen to try snowboarding.

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