South Korea & Japan Winter Trip 2007 - Day 15

Kakunodate Travel Blog

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South Korea & Japan Winter Trip 2007 - Day 15

27/12 Morioka (盛岡), Morioka Park, Lake Tazawa-ko (田澤湖), Kakunodate (角館), Akita(秋田), rehearsal of Kanto (竿燈)Festival

It's long trip today!!  We supposed to go to Lake Tazawa-ko and stayed in Kakunodate tonight, but the girl in tourist information centre told us there was nothing to do in the Lake during the winter and Kakunodate was just a small town.  Since  there was only a few hotels/hostels in the Kakunodate, it's quite expensive to stay there.  As a result, the girl suggested us go to Lake Tazawa-ko in the morning,  then to Kakunodate in the afternoon and  stayed in Akita at night.

Thanks for her advice, she was very useful.  It's great that we didn't require to pay any deposit via the online hotel reservation system and you can cancel it before you came, of course you have to give some advance notice.  Also, you can book the hotel in the same day you stay there.

So we cancelled our booked hotel in Kakunodate & Akita and booked a new hotel in Akita that could allow us to stay for 2 nights in this morning!

We took the Shinkansen(新幹線) to Lake Tazawa-ko, it's very stable and fast!!!  It took more than hour to take a conventional train to Lake Tazawa-ko but it just took 20 minutes by this super express JR!!!!

Of course, it's much more expensive, but it's just a good experience to try this high technology in Japan!!!! 

So this is the Lake Tazawa-ko JR station!

So we store our backpack in the locker at JR station.  It's funny that they put a notice on the locker to warn people not to put their baby in the locker.

The JR station is not very close to the lake, we had to take a bus to there for around 20minutes

After 20 minutes, we arrived the Lake...

So here is the Lake Tazawa-ko...very big and beautiful~~

Snow mountains~~

It is the deepest lake in Japan (the maximum depth is 423.0 m). Because of its depth, it never freezes!!

Although the lake didn't freeze but some water on the beach was frozen!!

The ice crystal!!

Naughty Alban was trying to destroy the ice!!!

It's great that there was not many people here!!!  It's like we owned the lake!!!!

Since there was no people, so we could make many different silly posts and take as much pictures as we want!!!

Alban & me were the models of the first round silly picture taking!

Front & back

Looking at something...tried to be cool!!

Then Michelle and me.....I actually shouted!!!!!

A normal shot! skin looked so perfect!!!

Then we played that silly game!!!  Flowing a little stone  to the lake and see who could make the most far away!!!  It's not surprising that Alban was the winner but I looked cool, wasn't it?

As the schedule of the bus wasn't that frequent and if we took the bus back to the JR station, we had to pay much more for taking JR express to  Kakunodate.  So after some simple calculation, we decided to take a taxi!!!  We asked the staff in the souvenir shop to help us to call the taxi!!!  haha..I our trip was so luxury!!  I had never expected we would take taxi twice in Japan!!!!

While we were waiting the taxi driver, I tried to call ask for a free ride in the road, however, nobody showed us!!  I guess the Japanese may not understand the sign of asking free ride!!!

So we were back to the JR station and take a bus to Kakunodate!!  A little snow mountain in the town, it's very impressive!!  A clean and nice lake, recommended for visit!!!  If you come in summer time, you can have more activities to do!!

I got the map of Kakunodate for the tourist information centre of the lake and read it in the bus!!  Kakunodate is close to the lake, it took only an hour to arrive there...  So you can see the digital board in the front of the bus.  It shows the station name and price, you pay when you take off.  It's very easy to handle.

So this is the small tourist information centre in Kakunodate!  This town is unbelievable small!!! We were supposed to keep our backpacks in the lockers of the JR stations, but the staff here was very nice that allowed us to place our backpackers here for half price!!! nice she is!!!  We ate the apple we bought from Morioka here and wanted to share with her.  Guess what?  She helped us to cut and give it back to us, but we insisted to let her eat some of that big red apple from Amoroi!!!

Kakunodate is a small town and most of the areas were residential areas.  Some of their houses were opened for public visit but many of them were closed during our visit!!  What a shame!!

So this is the house of Nishinomiya's (西宮) family.

The Nishinomiya-ke house thrived as a landowner from the Meiji to the Taisho Eras, and the main house and storehouse are still the same as they were at that time.

Old Japanese cups and plates.

Nobody in this town as well.

There was a big clock in front of this shop and I was so tempted to ring it!!!  So I did it and the shopkeeper went out and we ran away!!!  So funny!!!

The house in Doraemon is exactly like this...

This house is open fir visitors

We went to a random souvenir shop here, the shopkeepers here were so surprised to see us as there were not many tourists to come especially in winter.  He said it's not a good time to visit and invited us to come back in spring, so that we could see the beautiful flowers.  Perhaps, there are even less foreigners visit this small town, they were even more curious to Alban, and gave him a Japanese name!!!

Now, all the leafs were gone, I guess it must be very beautiful in spring

You see it's empty!!

Actually, I was quite enjoy this kind of silent and comfortable atmosphere.

This picture was searched in internet for the spring time, I wish I could come back, it's so nice!!

First time to see a shop selling the Japanese uniform, Alban wanted to try, we persuaded him to try, but he didn't try it finally.

We headed to Akita in late afternoon, there was no other passengers except us!!  so free~~

This is the Akita JR station, not many people and had some artistic sculptures there.

We took quite a long time to find the hotel though the hotel was actually only 10 minutes to the JR station.  It's quite bad actually as we carried our heavy backpack and there was heavy raining suddenly.  We stopped in a hotel and thought it was the hotel we booked.  It was actually strange that the front desk staff didn't recognize us and asked us many questions as normally when we entered the hotel they can identify us and arranged the room to us immediately.  Then the manger told us we were in the wrong hotel, it's weird that they've the same name in the signboard but different name inside the hotel.  The manager told us they were twins hotels and directed us to the another hotel.

We walked in rain for a long way and we turned into a small lane that was very dark and there was grave on the another side.  I was quite scared due to the darkness and the grave but I guessed Alban and Michelle didn't notice that, so I didn't tell them  until we arrived the hotel.  I was so afraid the hotel was located opposite to the grave, I guess we would change the hotel if it really did.  Luckily, we met a Japanese woman, she was so nice to bring us to the hotel!!! 

This is our hotel, it is nice indeed and not close to the grave at all.  We passed through it but we didn't notice this hotel!!

We're so hungry after a long way, so we took a bus to the JR station.  Actually, it was really close, we could walk but we was just lazy!

This is the big shopping centre in the Akita JR station and we was lucky to see some people practice for the competition for Kanto (竿燈) Festival.  I wish we could be in Akita  to join the festival.

He was so great, we had no idea how could he did it.

See this video!!

Kanto Festival, the biggest festival of the Summer in Akita Prefecture, is also known as the one of the four biggest summer festivals in Tohoku (northeastern) area. Every year, it is expected to have 1.1 million people come and watch the performances of lanterns like big ears of rice.

The Kanto Festival (a national important intangible folk cultural heritage) originates from the Horyaku period (1751-63). It was the ceremony of prayer for good harvests and purification and is connected with the old ceremony of Neburinasgahi, in which people purified and protected themselves from evil spirits. Since then, people in the Kubota castle town of Akita clan carried on the event. It was named "Kanto" in 1881 (Meiji 14). It comes from the biography about the visit of the Meiji Emperor. The Kanto festival has-been the event that expresses the culture and customs of the local people of the Akita clan for about 250 years. Nowadays lots of people visit Akita from everywhere, even abroad, to enjoy this summer festival of Akita.


Our dinner tonight, quite a lot!!!

There is advertisement everywhere, there is TV on the auto drinking selling machine!!!

After a long day, we walked back to the hotel and relax.......

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photo by: tj1777