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Gono Line: Tsugaru Plains

On the second leg of my journey, I passed through the ticket gates and headed to another annex in the station to catch the new Hybrid train bound for Akita. There are a few different Hybrids, the one I rode on was the Shirakami 4 bound for Akita via the Gono Line. Notice at how large the windows are. You can catch full views on either side on every Hybrid.

Our lovely MC for the train ride was Ms. Yoko of Aomori Prefecture. She explained a little about the history of the area we were passing through by offering us a little light entertainment with singing and a little dancing. It was great.

Leaving Shin-Aomori station behind, the first views I caught were of a tractor as it turned over a field. I also noticed a few farmers toiling away in the mid-afternoon sun. You really get a sense of the backbone of Japan when seeing people at work on their own farms from a train's window.

Often pictures appear inverted because like I mentioned earlier this is a switch back train, so every other station we must turn our seats to face the opposite direction in order to be facing the direction the train is moving in. We must've switched five times. In this map in the above picture is the direction our train took. As you can see we covered a little bit of the interior of the Tsugaru Plains then down the coast. There's a lot of history here by the way, but didn't have time to stay because I had to be in Kakunodate by midday the next day.

The next views were of small rural stand alone shacks out in the middle of nowhere. If you are the type of person, like me, who enjoys long scenic train rides, and you really want to see Japan in all of its naked splendor, the train trip is essential.

Just about every Japanese wants to at least make one trip to see the Sea of Japan once in their life time. I remember driving along this coast four years ago, now I'm on a train. The train is the best way to travel there.

I saw an old hunched back lady standing in an open solitary field all by herself watching as our train rolled by; she followed us with her weary eyes as we passed through a section of her farm; I saw kids waving at us and cheering us on and shouting "Ganbaro Nippon" which means "Do your Best!" in Japanese. .

The impressions I picked up from this second leg of my journey were of an older and much more isolated park of rural Japan. Not many Japanese know of the Tsugaru Plains so I intend to return here someday in the future. At about this point, after passing Goshogawara we were not even a full hour into our train ride. The next post will continue on this line until we reach Akita.


  1. Do you have any idea why the old ladies have this bent back? I heard that Japanese have great diets so I'm just wondering why. I know Asians are not big milk or cheese eaters but you can get calcium elsewhere.

  2. Hi Sandra, Thanks for commenting.

    I heard it's because they've been walking knock kneed and pigeon toed their whole life. And that this over time creates poor posture.


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