DAY 13 Hiraizumi
DAY 13 Hiraizumi
October 26th, 2019
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Hirazumi Run Run Loop Bus
From Kakunodate station, we caught the Akita shinkansen at 10:00. There was a festival on at Kakunodate station at 10am so we missed it, but we did get to see some of the setting up and later on social media, it looked like a fun event.
We had to transfer at Morioka station, and not long after we were at Ichinoseki. We didn’t have the traditional ‘ekiben’, or bento box you can eat on the shinkansen so we bought some onigiri, popcorn and fruit from the convenience stores.
Ichinoseki itself isn’t so much a holiday destination but more often used as a base for people exploring the area. I’d booked our hotel here as it was near the train station, where our bullet train would stop, and the station also had connections to the places we were going to explore.
We left our bags at the hotel before check-in, and went to a nearby supermarket for bananas and I also got some senbei (rice crackers) and two types of mochi. I also reserved some seats on the next shinkansen from the ticket office at the station.
By the time we finished, the next train to Hiraizumi was well over an hour away so we caught a taxi. The fare was 2700 yen for about a fifteen minute drive but one of those money-well-spent moments as we were both tired and couldn’t stand the thought of waiting around for an hour and a half for the next train.
The Hiraizumi Run Run Loop bus pulled up immediately at the station, and we bought our tickets from the driver. It was 400 yen per person, hop-on hop-off.
Our first stop was Motsu-ji, a Buddhist temple designated as a UNESCO cultural and heritage site. We had a leisurely stroll around the pond there:
From there, we got back on the Run Run bus and went to Chuson-ji, which was lovely in the autumn. We walked up a hill (me sweating in the humid weather but everyone else in jackets!), and there were a number of stalls and shops selling things like trinkets and figurines, boxes of mochi and more:
I had noticed the Hiraizumi guest house on Google Maps as having possible vegan options so we went there. There was a ticket machine where you selected and paid for your food (you then give your ticket to a human). The only vegan-seeming options were the French fries (Dee got those), the cold soba noodles and the two onigiri which I mistakenly thought were plain, but one was umeboshi and the other seaweed with a sauce which may well have been fish based (I didn’t eat it). The cold soba had a dipping sauce which I didn’t have as it was likely fish based. On their own like that the soba was forgettable, though the wasabi on the side was the hottest I’ve ever tried and sliced spring onions at least added a little flavour:
Luckily we made it in time for the last Run Run bus back to Hiraizumi station. There was no bus back to Ichinoseki station where our hotel was despite the timetable saying it should be arriving, so we waited a while for the no-show buses (along with many others) before catching a train instead. Trains are not very frequent on the JR Tohoku line between Ichinoseki and Hiraizumi, something which can easily knock three hours out of your day if you’re waiting for trains to and from those locations.
We arrived at our hotel, Kura Hotel Ichinoseki (click here for a review), at around 6pm and got some dinner food from the convenience store before calling it a night.