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Hachinohe


Hachinohe has its own beauty.   Its energy can be found along the great Ohashi bridge during a gorgeous sunset.    It could be that wonderful collage of scenery where the water meets the horizon, or the factories plumes of white smoke wafting along the clear cloudless sky.   Even on cloudy days the birds and the sound of tugs can  evoke distant memories of a lost in timeless beauty moment.  If you are standing on this bridge then you are standing on a piece of local history, and the window to the soul of Hachinohe.


I arrived in the early morning via highway bus; the first time by overnight bus.   The first time I came to Hachinohe was by car about 5 years ago.   My gf and I had been through this area before in search of great food and natural hot spring back then, but this time I was there exclusively for the nihonshu and great company.



It was an unseasonably cool wet quiet morning when our bus pulled up to Hachinohe Station.   Being cooped up in a bus for ten hours was no fun, so the coolness in the air was a welcoming experience for me.     Don't get me wrong, Willer Bus is a cheap and affordable way to travel.   And like  all of my other travels, this trip was epic!   I will have fond memories for a long time.  


Mr. Komai of  Mutsu Hassen Breweries was our host for two days.    We boarded our tour bus and started our journey along the coast to a few scenic look-out points.

海席料理処 小舟渡

鮫町小舟渡平10八戸市青森県 031-0814:   We then had lunch at a very delicious seafood restaurant overlooking some jagged rocks dotting the coast.    That morning there was a slight overcast.

This restaurant was partially destroyed during the March 11th quake and tsunami.   There was flooding all the way up to the windows.   Where this picture was taken was all underwater.

The first order of business was the sake.   Mr. Komai reached in the fridge and poured us this delicious otoko yama to get us in the mood.   We were expecting Hachinohe's legendary sea urchin for lunch.    The sea urchin is one of my favorite local delicacies and one where I like to travel far and wide for.   In my experience I find that sea urchin in Kanagawa and Tokyo taste sour whereas in the northeast it's sweeter and creamier.   
There were 15 people on our tour, and over half of them were from Tokyo and only two from Yokohama.    We all shared some great laughter, and pleasant moments.  The best group ever!

I still haven't gotten used to sitting traditional Japanese style, but I managed without tearing or breaking anything or injury.   
The cool calmness was soothing that afternoon as we walked along the footpath.   If you sit here you can command some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean.    From this point while relaxing on these benches there is a certain awareness.  There was an intersection of souls here from as far back as the ancient peoples of the Emishi to the present.   The dynamics of beauty could be stretched thinly along this coast where people have died and loved sunset after gorgeous sunset.   

Being here you wouldn't think just forty minutes away there's an American military installation.   The areas in and around Hachinohe are pristine and well looked after, and you wouldn't even notice such places were here.   Even the skies over this area are not polluted with the noise of jet planes and military attack helicopters; not like in Okinawa.    I didn't even see one foreign national the who weekend I was up there.    

The next stop was this black tail seagull sanctuary.  蕪島  This was the most eerie shrine I ever set foot on.    I was literally surrounded by millions of seagulls.
In this five minute video snippet I walk around the whole shrine taking in some of the most eerie sounds of these amazing birds.   This shrine is 100% dedicated to the protection and preservation of these birds.    The seagull is the master of ocean navigation making them some of the best aerial species in the world.   When I look at them I marvel at eye presence.   
What a mighty and mysteriously beauty fowl of air.    This shrine was dedicated to their existence, a wild life refuge reserve. 
Afterwards, we headed to the brewery to enjoy more delicious eats and drinks at the Mutsu Hassen.
The tour was excellent.  Unfortunately I misplaced my camera and wasn't able to post pictures of the tour of this lovely brewer.    The cedar ball is a full rich brown which signifies sake that is ripe and ready for drinking.   
If ever up this way I highly recommend trying the Nanbu Senbei crackers.  They are excellent and the dried fish skins.
We had 30 minutes to drink as much sake as we liked.   I immediately went for the premium stuff, like the daigenjyo.    After the lovely brewery tour, and after much imbibing we went to our hotel.   An hour later there was an amazing dinner party and then an amazing after-party.    You'll have to use your imagination for that because there are too many pictures.   
If you want to understand the Japanese, you need to do what they do, and love what they do.   I love the great north.   I love these types of tours and I love meeting people who share the same passion and love for the rice brew as I do.   
The finisher for this trip is the isaribiki!   One of my favorites.   There may be a part 2 for this post, not sure.    

Comments

  1. Wow~ just wow~ the places you visited look amazing and I can't help but envy you for being able to travel to such beautiful places. I always wanted to visit Japan but like most everyone else life sort got in the way and I never got to go there. Your visit to Hachinohe has given me a fresh perspective in life and that is you only live once. I don't know much about sake but I know they taste great, so you know what, I think I'm gonna have me some taste of it in Japan.

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  2. What a great place. Lots of things to do, the food looks fantastic, the people look so warm and friendly. There is something about visiting a bay/wharf area that is very zen and relaxing. It has a very comfortable feel and the stress level is next to zero. I want to go there NOW!

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  3. Your photos and description remind me so much of the northern coast of California - foggy, rugged (and also with plenty of seagulls as Alfred Hitchcock found out when he filmed "The Birds" there!). What a wonderful tour you had! I'm envious!

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  4. Gorgeous and breath taking. Looks like the perfect vacation spot. Good food, drinks, and meeting wonderful people. I often wondered about the sitting down part, I can see me not able to get up from that spot. You sure captured a spot I would love to go to.

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  5. The seafood restaurant certainly offers a great view for diners. The food looks wonderful too. A trip to a city by the sea sounds wonderful.

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  6. A refuge for seagulls seems so strange for me, where I come from they're everywhere. The elegance of the sanctuary and all the birds in your one photo seem to be very spiritual. The other surprise for this American is when you were referring to brewery. That made think of beer. I feel so cosmopolitan now that I know a brewery is where they make the amazing sake you've been able to drink. Thank you for that.

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  7. Good friends, good food, and beautiful places, what more can you ask for, right? Looking at every single one of the photos you took it almost feels like I'm right there. I really love the photo of the two benches by the cliff. I wish I could just sit there for hours and enjoy the scenery. When I go there the food is definitely something that I'll need to get use to, but just by the look of them they look delicious. But truth be told I don't know much about Japanese foods other than sushi and sashimi, but I do like those two a lot if that counts LOL~ Anyhow, thanks for sharing your wonderful story and the beautiful photos.

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  8. I'm getting hungry looking at the delicious looking food and the big bottle of sake! I've often found that visiting less "touristy" places made all the difference to really knowing a new country.

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  9. You look like you're having a blast in Japan! I guess you live there. Do you mind if I ask you what you do for a living there? I only ask because I'm also thinking of going to either Japan or Korea to teach English maybe because I hear they pay good money for English teachers. I got a friend in Korea and he loves it there, but I've always been more interested in Japan. Man~ a hot sake and the lady on the left side at the bottom picture, that sounds like a good day.

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  10. Good food, drinks, and friends now that is a party. I am getting hungry looking at all this wonderful food.

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  11. Next time take me with you. Looks like a great time. The food really looks good.

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  12. Had a nice meal and party it looks like. Bet it was nice meeting new people.

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  13. And a grand time was had by all... I seriously want to go on that tour! The scenery, the food and especially the sake -- gonna start making plans!

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  14. There's something about Japan that puts all sorts of imaginations in my head. I'm not saying that all's great in Japan and that you'll never have any problems there, but for an outsider looking in it's certainly a fascinating place that begs to be explored. I admire your courage to take a chance and try living abroad. I want to do the same that you're doing in Japan but I never quite found the courage to do so. It's really nice to at least enjoy your experience as a third person though, it makes me want to visit Japan and see for myself if living there could be an option for me. Thanks for the share.

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  15. My friend has been to Japan last year and cannot stop raving about the food, the cities and sceneries. It seems that I have to make a trip to this great country. i don’t know for sure, when I will get time but one thing is for sure. I will visit Hachinohe and try sake. These 2 are must. What say?

    ReplyDelete
  16. My friend has been to Japan last year and cannot stop raving about the food, the cities and sceneries. It seems that I have to make a trip to this great country. i don’t know for sure, when I will get time but one thing is for sure. I will visit Hachinohe and try sake. These 2 are must. What say?

    ReplyDelete
  17. My friend has been to Japan last year and cannot stop raving about the food, the cities and sceneries. It seems that I have to make a trip to this great country. i don’t know for sure, when I will get time but one thing is for sure. I will visit Hachinohe and try sake. These 2 are must. What say?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hachinohe is very similar to my town. Also we have a lot of seagulls.

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  19. U made me nostalgic. About 6 years back, I visited Hachinohe. I still have some photos of the place. I simply loved the scenic beauty, the food, the sake of course the hospitality. It will remain one of the best trips of my life.

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  20. U made me nostalgic. About 6 years back, I visited Hachinohe. I still have some photos of the place. I simply loved the scenic beauty, the food, the sake of course the hospitality. It will remain one of the best trips of my life.

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  21. The pic with two benches is a real beauty. It is simple yet captures the truth of life. it is a place where one can rest his body and soul and contemplate his entire life. u made my day by sharing this pic. Thanks a ton.

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  22. The pic with two benches is a real beauty. It is simple yet captures the truth of life. it is a place where one can rest his body and soul and contemplate his entire life. u made my day by sharing this pic. Thanks a ton.

    ReplyDelete

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