Saturday, 7 November 2015

10.08.2015 ~ Travel from Yamagata to Morioka

We had very little sleep last night due to extra hard bed (and the heat for M). We decided not to go to Sendai and so the quickest way to progress to Morioka was to get the Shinkansen back to Fukushima and change for Morioka. Breakfast was good with a good variety but neither of us could eat much. We checked out and caught the 10:02 Tsubasa Shinkansen to Fukushima where we planned to change for the Yamabiko 177 at 11:24 & then change again at Sendai for Komachi 13 at 11:54 to Morioka to arrive 12:33.

As we pulled into Fukushima at track 14 the Yamabiko 45 Super Express which was headed to Morioka pulled in at track 13! so we quickly jumped on and found seats, what luck! This train went full speed and was so fast! Absolutely whizzing past stations - no slowing down the trains passing through use the middle tracks well away from platforms. There were a lot of tunnels on the journey from Fukushima, lots of mountains I suppose...?

(The layout of the cemetries interested me as they
seemed to spread along paths and in between houses)

We arrived at Morioka at 13:15 and got a taxi to the hotel (¥520). Neither of us were feeling that good at this point so as it was too early to check in we left our bags at the front desk and sat in reception to use the WiFi to plan the rest of the day. The things I wanted to do in Morioka were too far out of the city and disappointingly the bus map was not as useful as we'd hoped. We ended up rescheduling the rest of the trip so that we'd fly to Hokkaido tomorrow instead of the day after and get to Tokyo a day earlier too. By the time I'd bought the flights to Sapporo and then to Tokyo on Japanese language websites (kowai!) it was time to check in, so we took the bags upstairs to the room. This was the worst hotel we'd booked but at only ¥6400 a night I should have known it wasn't going to be great. It was grubby, faded, used and altogether unpleasant. So we went straight out again with the intention of catching the city loop bus...

We did not catch the city loop bus. I have no idea what bus we caught as it didn't follow any of the routes on the bus map we'd got from the hotel. After realising we were thoroughly lost we got off in a street full of handicraft shops which was a small consolation. We found a Family Mart and asked where we were and with their directions were able to walk for 10 minutes to reach the park we'd been aiming for to go to the Morioka Culture & History Museum (¥300 per adult entry). There were some really good exhibits and artefacts though no English whatsoever so we could only appreciate them aesthetically.

We bought a traditional wooden toy from the gift shop which is similar to ball & cup but more complex. We asked for restaurant suggestions from the gift shop desk which also happened to be the Town Information Centre (!) and the lovely lady handed us a map with suggestions of restaurants that sold the 3 types of Iwate speciality noodles.

We wandered around for a while but none of the places at street level appealed to us, so by snap decision we found ourselves on the 5th floor of the building opposite 'Sugawara' at a restaurant called 'Gecca'. This restaurant was the best thing about Morioka so far. We were seated at a table with a big hot plate in the centre and though our waitress had next to no English (but infinite patience) we muddled through and ordered a lot of food to make ourselves feel better. 

 (M was very excited!) 
(So much food!)
(M the chef in action)

(M is pointing to the restaurant)

¥7240 worth of food and drink later (which we were thrilled with and would have loved to have been able to tip the waitress as she really gave great service and attention) we headed back to the hotel where I stayed in the lobby to try to finalise/confirm flights from Aomori for tomorrow (to no avail) while M showered. Then after I showered we packed all the bags so we could just leave in the morning as we had a long way to travel to get to Aomori airport...

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