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)。!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.