DAY 9 Kakunodate and Furusato Farmstay

DAY 9 Kakunodate and Furusato Farmstay

October 22nd, 2019

I’ve put our Furusato farmstay/homestay in a separate post, which you can find here.

Our day started with the 07:42 shinkansen bound for Kakunodate in Akita prefecture. Beautiful scenery out the windows as the autumn leaves had started, making for some lovely viewing. This was also our first ride on a bullet train and it was cool seeing how fast we were going on Google Maps when it could keep up! I hadn’t had any time to look for the vegan ekiben (train bento) so breakfast was pickled plum onigiri and a banana:

Kakunodate is an old castle and samurai town in the Akita prefecture. It’s one of the more popular areas in Tohoku, the northern region of Japan, in spring for the blossoms. There are some samurai family houses open for the public to view, and other houses which are private as the families still live there.

It was quite busy as there were lots of coaches, and of course food and product stalls to meet the tourists. I bought some grilled dango with a soy sauce coating:

One place on my to-do list was Ando Fermentation, known for their miso and other products such as soy sauce and pickles. I sampled some on offer and regretted I couldn’t buy any to take home thanks to restrictions for carry-on luggage:

We spent a lot of time walking around the town and we passed a shop selling dango and senbei crackers. After confirming with the lovely staff about the ingredients labelling on the senbei (sometimes the sauce they dip the crackers in has a fish base, other times not) I bought a packet. I love senbei so much and these were so good:

We spent time browsing in a souvenir shop that was full of Akita inu dog merch and I couldn’t say no to Dee’s plea for a Akita inu plushie because they are so darn cute. I did draw the line at her buying the really large size as it would have taken up one cabin-baggage bag. Or a plane seat. Maximum cute overload:

Happy Cow said there was a vegan options restaurant a few minutes away, but there was no sign of it apart from a souvenir shop which smelled so strongly of mothballs from across the street that we couldn’t face going inside to ask.

We spent more time just walking around looking at the shops and going in to some side streets. Manhole covers in Japan are frequently decorated and often relate to the local area or region. It’s no surprise that there are people who go to Japan wanting to photograph as many as possible. The Iwate prefecture for example has a selection of Pokemon manhole covers!

We went on a rickshaw ride back towards the station when it was getting closer to the time we had to leave. Our driver(?) was super fit!

We were due to meet our Furusato farmstay hosts, Mr and Mrs Kawai, at 3:30 and they were waiting for us. After our greetings they took us for a little drive around Kakunodate and because they saw Dee carrying her Akita inu plushie, they took us to the backyard of someone’s house they know to see an Akita dog. He wasn’t very interested in having his photo taken!

For the rest of today’s travels please read my full Furusato farmstay post.

On to Day 10.

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