My return to Japan in March revolved around attending the United Nations third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR). Posts about that amazing event, the organisations and the people around the world putting their energies into mitigating the impacts of disasters will be found at Awareness to Action.
Being my seventh short trip to Japan I consider myself to be just below expert level at maximising a JR Pass! This time I opted for a 14 day pass – only being Japan for 12 days – and headed north out of Tokyo, doing a loop through Yamagata, Kakunodate, Ichinoseki to Sendai for the WCDRR.
Stay tuned for many posts on the cold, the old and the bold. Here is my itinerary – full on as usual.
Day 1: 6:30 arrival at Narita. Six visits to Tokyo is about enough. This time around, into Tokyo and out again at 9:30am to Yamagata. Afternoon wasted training to Sendai to miss a football match.
Day 2: Yamagata sights and places such as Kayjo Koen Park, Yamagata Prefectural Museum and Yamagata Gallery of Art. Afternoon in Zao Onsen, white out.
Day 3: To Oishida and then out to Ginzan Onsen. Wait for my post in which I will controversially suggest ‘don’t bother’ with Ginzan Onsen.
Day 4: Nearly 4 hours mainly by local trains to Kakunodate. Good look around the town, merchant houses Nishinomiya House and Ando Warehouse
Day 5: Kakunodate is famous for its preserved Samurai houses. Given it was still winter – and with a blizzard raging – few places were open. I did get to in to Iwahashi and Aoyagike Samurai Houses, as well as the Ishiguro Residence, Hiraruku Memorial Art Museum, and of course a visit to Kakunodate Fire Department
Day 6: Blizzard continues. Braved the loop bus around Lake Tazawako. Then stayed indoors by spending a few hours on the Akita Nairuku Line to Ainui and return
Day 7: Train via Morioka to a pre-arranged guided tour of the Hiraizumi World Heritage area. Fantastic. Then to Sendai.
Day 8 and Day 9: WCDRR in Sendai
Day 10: WCDRR event in Rikuzentakata, about 3 hours travel each way out of Sendai.
Day 11: Shiogama and Matsushima, before training it to Misato in Saitama. Go to watch Kashiwa Reysol play a football match. (every trip needs one game)
Day 12: A few hours strolling Tokyo’s Jimbocho book town and Koishikawa Kōrakuen Gardens before heading to Narita.
Easy. Even had a few hours spare to sleep occasionally.