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Koyo Chasing in Tohoku Japan (#9) and some last minute shenanigans

rbjhan

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Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
Matsushima
One of Japan's 3 most scenic views....TBH I don't quite get it....:p
But hey look at this! Must be true then.

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First up I went to Fukuura Island.
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Godaido, not to be confused with the one in Yamadera...
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Well I think I very much prefer the Yamadera version...
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
I haven't been to Amanohashidate, but Miyajima was way better than this...
Underwhelmed, I skipped the sightseeing cruise ship and went for something I know would be good ;)

Oysters all you can eat!
Okay the exit sign was in the way, it was 2300 Yen not 300🤣
Still, 2300 Yen for 45mins non stop oysters is a good deal!
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So I paid, and was led to a table... there were already two men sitting there and later another joined, then the four of us started!
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Interestingly I noticed they all opted for the 2800 Yen option which comes with rice and miso soup. I mean, aren't you here for the oysters?!

Yummm
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No time for pictures. This was 45 mins of hard work!
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Probably will stay away from oysters for a while...
 

rbjhan

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Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
As mentioned before, autumn colours this year was quite late due to high temperatures.
Originally I wanted to go to Naruko, but after furiously checking Koyo reports for two weeks, decided to move up further north. Hachimantai would be ideal. However I was quite late in booking hotels and couldn't find anything....until one day saw something became available, must be a late cancellation. Anyways, all set to go.

*about Hachimantai.
Part of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Hachimantai is in Akita and Iwate prefectures, mountainous, with lots of very good onsens!
I was hoping to find accommodation in the Akita side, near Tamagawa onsen or Goshogake onsen. But ended up in Iwate near Matsukawa onsen.
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
Hachimantai Heights
This is truly the middle of nowhere :cool:
But being in Japan, there's a shuttle bus picking up guests from Morioka station every afternoon at 2pm, not just for this ryokan, several hotels nearby as well. The bus ride took about 1 hour.

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Picture from hotel website.
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Reception area.
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I was warmly welcomed and quickly shown to my room, a 7.5 tatami Japanese room.
(Note that Japanese rooms are measured by the number of tatami mats, as it's made in standard size. If you make hotel bookings on Japanese sites this info will be clearly listed.)
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Lovely autumn colours outside!
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
There's a bridge overlooking the Matsukawa river not too far from Hachimantai Heights, about 15 mins walk.
It is a great view spot for the autumn colours.

Certainly the best I've seen this whole two weeks😍 (the weather helped!)
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Mount Hachimantai I think?
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rbjhan

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Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
I paid 11K Yen for the accommodation plus dinner and breakfast.
As you can imagine I was slightly worried what the dinner might be...when ryokans need to cut cost food is always the first thing! (Hence my disappointment with Kai Nikko since they are not cheap)

Pleasantly surprised I'm happy to report. Sure it's not Ichijoh, but for what I paid I think this ryokan was great value.
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Futon was set up during dinner. Very comfortable and I slept very well.
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Onsen picture from hotel website.
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Side note, before I came I thought guests would be mostly Japanese in such a remote area.
Wrong! Lots of them are from Taiwan and HK.
Did not see another Aussie in all of Tohoku though ;)
 
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
Morioka is where the Akita Shinkansen (the red one) join up with Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen.
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Coulda gone straight back to Tokyo I guess, but I wanted to have some more gyutan ;)
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As it was a sunny day (must be the first time this trip!), decided to see Sendai from above.
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In Japan I really like those buildings with nothing else but restaurants...why don't we have them here?!
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rbjhan

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Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
Back to Tokyo!
Generally I like to stay in Tokyo station/Kyobashi/Ginza/Hibiya area.

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Gochome
Opened in July! I like new hotels :cool:
Room was spacious (Tokyo spacious of course)
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Didn't like the bathroom though with a shrub!
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Thank god there's the onsen so I didn't have to use the shrub! Picture from hotel website.
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Washing machine accepts IC cards so no need to go hunting for 100 Yen coins.
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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422
I wrote about the last minute flight cancellation by Virgin, well now they drop HKG-MEL for good! Not surprised sadly...
Luckily found my flight home with CI, just need to get to TPE first ;)
Good thing I always have some avios available (bought during promos), after checking the dates and the usual suspects NRT, HND, KIX, NGO...found a CX 5th freedom flight from NGO to TPE, J was not available but for a 3 hour flight I thought PE would be adequate.
The flight was a few days earlier than my original flight to HKG, so I dropped the Shikoku part altogether and decided to go from Tokyo straight to Nagoya.

Bought a Platt Kodama green car ticket for 9500 Yen.
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No Gran Class on Tokaido Shinkansen, but this is comfortable enough - and generally not full in my experience.
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rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
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422
Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Nagoya
There are a few hotels directly connected to Nagoya Station, one of them being Marriott.. But I was way too late and they all charged something like 20K Yen (or more!)...hmm I only need a business hotel....
So looked a bit further and found this one in the Sakae (main commercial) area, reviews on IKYU were very good and it was only 8400 Yen!

The room I booked was called "Double room with shower", coz there's no bath. For many Japanese people that might be a deal breaker...I actually prefer a shower than a shrub, but there's onsen in this hotel so it really didn't matter!
The room was perfectly fine for a one night stay and I liked the neutral colours.
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rbjhan

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Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
422
Not sure why but I suddenly wanted Yakitori for dinner...
Found one near the hotel and went straight in. First I was quite happy to see they had ipad menus and it's multilingual.
Until I looked at the English menu o_O
I don't think we should call that English, do you?
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More like Romaji Japanese....
Anyways, pictures did help, I was mostly happy with what I ordered 🤣
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