– Welcome to April ! April prepares her green traffic light & the world thinks GO
This April, we are all surrounded with news of vaccination progress at various stages in countries and its so called “political diplomacy” being talked about And Japan is also not left behind in these sweet talks – But, Hahaha, Japan is really left behind, at least in progress of vaccination to its citizens, for sure, only to keep extending the state of emergency month on month.
However, the Tokyo’s state of emergency is only a ‘light lockdown’ meaning I am not been bound to the house, as there is no such enforcement here, and we are free to pretty much do what we want –
the Japanese government believing & relying on each individual to take responsibility for their own actions!
And so, with all the ‘green’ and ‘fickleness’ seeming to begin this April, here is what our April looked like. April for us was busy and exciting with lots of adventures! Hope you all like the pictures and enjoy Japan…
April started with a Trip to Tohoku, to celebrate a Campaign “Destination Tohoku” by JR EAST – What a feeling to be a participant in the inaugural run in “Party Shinkansen” from Tokyo station! The opening ceremony was drastically toned down considering the ongoing situation of Corona.
And then the travel with John Daub – A famous Japan YouTuber and Producer of ONLY in JAPAN, on an unbelievable ‘Private Shinkansen’ ride ? with lots of compliments and souvenirs from JR EAST.
Believe it or not, the Japanese service is incredibly polished and amazing – The welcome that we got at Morioka station after alighting from beautiful Shinkansen was visually incredible. This is what is really unique to Japan, I suppose.
Japanese Reimen Noodle, it’s not Ramen! Yes, this is Morioka’s famous Reimen Noodles and should be had for sure for it’s authentic and uniqueness. This restaurant is very close to the station and one can just hop out for this lovely dish and return to the next Shinkansen…
After a sumptuous lunch, the Train journey starts from Morioka to the Sanriku Coasts’ town, Miyako, by JR Yamada, to encounter and feel the beauty, just out of the postcard.
One can even travel on a JR Bus and almost the entire stretch goes along this path, along the stream. One cannot get tired of taking pictures and videos as every stretch offers different beauty.
And the stations where train stops are again a paradise for photographers – In few second stops, one can run and capture these unique looking stations and have competition who captures the most stations…
At Miyako, awaits another train journey on Sanriku Railway to Kuji station and this runs along the coast – The sea on one side and steeply rising mountains on the other, there are superb views from the carriage.
Miyako City (宮古) in Iwate Prefecture was one of the northernmost cities to suffer devastating damage from the 2011 Tsunami. The rising waters swept across many of the city’s coastal districts, destroying homes, businesses, port facilities and a large part of the local fishing fleet. Some of the tsunami’s most unforgettable videos were filmed in Miyako, depicting a huge black swell overtaking the seawall protecting the town and sweeping boats and cars and everything in its path along with it. But now this region is been redeveloped to preserve the beauty but with safety.
The Kosode Coast, where Kuji is located, is a scenic palette of blue seas and rugged rocky outcrops. Here, the culture of ama (female free divers) is six centuries old. In a harsh marine environment where water temperatures never exceed 20 degrees, even in midsummer, ama dive to a depth of 10 meters for a minute at a time, equipped not with an oxygen tank but traditional tools and swimming gear and reliant on nothing but experience and touch. They make their livelihood from fresh sea urchin, abalone and seaweed. For these women who are born and raised around the sea, this is less a job than a way of life. I could not witness ama diving, as it is April !
And right on the entrance of Sanriku side of Kuji station is Sanriku Rias-tei, the shop which sells just 20 boxes a day of the famous sea urchin lunchbox. The popular item often sells out minutes after the 7am opening, earning it the nickname . The bento box filled with uni on rice is a sight to behold. I couldn’t buy the same as I was there in afternoon? – So plan to be there before 7am to grab a lunchbox for the travel in Sanriku railway. “Ghost station bento”
Another train ride on Sanriku railway from Kuji, back to Miyako. By now was probably tired and went in to a hotel onsen to relax. This region has lots of onsen options for one to relax after an hectic day – Cannot put a pic in onsen here?
Next morning being a rainy day, still did some relaxation on Jodogahama Beach, or “Pure Land Beach,” one of the most famous places of scenic beauty on the Rikuchu Coast. The vivid contrast of the sharp, white rocks, green pines, and deep blue sea has been compared to the Pure Land or Paradise by a Buddhist monk named Reikyo, hence the name “Jodogahama.” This is just 20min. ride from Miyako station.
And having a ramen, yes spicy ramen in such a rainy weather blows your mind.
All this just sitting opposite the beach in a rest house.
Several short walking trails lead from the beach to the visitor center, the boat piers and to several viewpoints in the surrounding pine forests.
Can you imagine to be sitting in this bus terminal at Jodogahama visitor center waiting for bus to come and the bus gets late and you have a train to catch !
After one is done, the bus brings one back to Miyako station for other exploration or to return to Morioka.
Had to say bye to these lovely Mascots at Morioka, leaving Iwate for Sendai.
Sakura had gone from Tokyo but it was in full bloom in Shibata, Sendai.
Did not want to leave from this place, Funaoka castle Park, a popular spot for sakura viewing, with around 1,000 somei yoshino, a small mountain where the former Funaoka Castle stood until the Meiji Restoration, a river lined with sakura on its banks, and even a slope car that travels up and down the mountain. Due to the pandemic, slope car was not operational but walking up the mountain by itself is so pleasurable, just to catch this glimpse.
On return, witnessed a lovely ritual of 2 Shinkansen – The Red and the Green, kissing or mating and people on the station eagerly watching as this is rare and doesn’t happen at all stations, except very handful.
Returning back from the travel had to go for 入学式： Nyugaku-shiki, school entrance ceremony for our son, as he enters his Junior High School.
How perfectly it was managed under this Pandemic, gives a sense of sincerity towards the milestone ceremonies for students, that they remember life long, as they just graduate only once from Elementary school to Junior High School.
Treated our son with a lovely and healthy lunch. This set had a delicious desert set too which came after the main course.
After Sakura comes the Wisteria, in Tokyo – This, Kameido-tenjinsha shrine is the famous wisteria viewing spot in Tokyo.
Being late about a week, still was able to view wisteria’s magnanimity. Lot had shed already in water giving a lovely on a perfect sunny day in April.
And if you are here, how can you miss admiring the gorgeous Tokyo Skytree.
Celebrated Mrs. Roy Kapur birthday with a lovely cake and a soba lunch,
At a famous Tenya tempura, . Japan’s number one Tempura/Tendon chain.
And our April ended with a start of a Trip to Okinawa…
See you all in Okinawa for more stories in May…
Have a happy May and Just be Great !