Thursday, May 5, 2016

Golden Week Adventures 2016 (Part 1) / ゴルデンウィークの冒険 2016(パート1)

We decided to head up to my wife's home town of Aomori for Golden Week.  Once again, we were traveling with our friends Yukio and Reiko.  Last year, we drove back to Tokyo from Aomori (well, Yukio, Reiko and my wife did as I do not have a valid international driver's license).  This year we were heading up to Aomori by car.  We would be leaving Tokyo right after my wife's gets off work and would drive straight to Kitakami in Iwate Prefecture where we will stay the night.  We will spend the next day exploring Tono before heading up to Aomori.


Our first stop was the Sano Parking Area in Tochigi Prefecture. We stopped here to grab a bite to eat.  Sano is known for Sano Ramen, so of course that is what would have for lunch.


Not only is there a large restaurant / souvenir shop area in the main building, outside there are small booths selling different kinds of delicacies as well. 
Sano mascot Sanomaru welcoming us to the Ramen city of Sano.
My wife and I had Sano Ramen with curry rice.
Our traveling partners and main drivers - Yukio and Reiko.
My wife and I with me sporting my Seattle Dick's Burger 60th Anniversary T-shirt that was given to me by my sister! Back on the road after lunch.
僕と妻。僕が着てるT-シャツはアメリカの実家シアトルの有名のバーガー屋の60周年記念のものです。妹から貰った! 食べ終わったら、旅が続く。
At the water dispenser, you can also get hot water, green tea or green tea with roasted rice. I took a picture of this because I think my American friends would find it interesting.  And its all free of course.
Next stop - short nature break at Asaka.
This is where I picked up the bottles of Shizuoka Cola with tea and Cherry Blossom Cola.
And for snacks, some Miyako Salted Donuts.
It was so cold, I decided to buy a cup of corn potage from the vending machine.  Yes, you can get corn soup as well as coffee or cocoa.
I know this isn't a good picture but this is the hotel we were staying at for the evening in Kitakami in Iwate Prefecture.  Montein Hotel.  It may be just a business hotel but it does include a nice large bath and outdoor bath on the top floor.
My wife in our hotel room.  Our friends are in the room right across from us. As we are not staying at a ryokan and because it was wet and cold, we decided to have dinner at the yakiniku restaurant that was located virtually next door to the hotel.
私たちの部屋。友達は向かいの部屋に居る。 旅館に泊まってないので、天気も悪かったし、夕飯はホテルの隣にあった焼肉の店に決まりました。
The yakiniku restaurant - Yamanaka-ke.  The restaurant also serves Morioka Reimen.
Beer time after a long drive...uh, ride.

Beer before meat!
Yakiniku time!
Korean salad / 韓国風サラダ
Morioka Reimen (before adding the kimchi).

This is to be added to the reimen.
And ice cream for dessert.  It was so delicious.
デザートにアイス。 本当に美味しかった。
Instead of going right back to the hotel after dinner, there was an amusement park like place next door as well so we went exploring.
My wife challenged Reiko to a game of air hockey...and lost!
Then it was our turn...and I won!
Tie breaker between me and Reiko.  It was a long and hard game...but I won by one point!

Back at the hotel, it was time to enjoy the bath.  Unfortunately for the women, it wouldn't be open to them until the morning.
View from the bath (it was only me and my friend there so I was able to take these pictures).
Soaking in the bath.
Of course I enjoyed the outdoor bath as well.
View from the outdoor bath.

Dinner may not have been included in our stay, but breakfast was!  It was an all you can eat buffet.  After breakfast, we would be spending most of our day in Tono - town of the legendary Kappa (a water deity) but I will write about that in my next post. We will head to Aomori at dusk. To be continued...
夕飯は付いてなかったが朝食付きでした。朝食はバイキング。 今日の予定は河童の街遠野に遊びに行く。夕方位に青森を目指す。 旅がつづく。。。

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