trategy article:The Place of Gold Production “Michinoku Gold” A Journey Through Golden Shark fins and the Culture and History of Gold

trategy article:The Place of Gold Production “Michinoku Gold” A Journey Through Golden Shark fins and the Culture and History of Gold

Connecting by local train and bus 「New Tohoku Journey」
The Place of Gold Production “Michinoku Gold” A Journey Through Golden Shark fins and the Culture and History of Gold

「The Place of Gold Production “Michinoku Gold” A Journey Through Golden Shark fins and the Culture and History of Gold」 allows participants to learn about Japanese history, culture, nature and food culture under the theme of GOLD through visiting the most famouse of the World Heritage sites in Hiraizumi 「Konjikidou of Chusonji」 and a city famous for gold mining 「Kesennuma」
(local guide and facility guides will assist you)

Highly Recommended for people who…
・are intersetd in Japanese history and culture
・want to treat themselves to something special
・are seeking a special gift for someone special

Click here to see the tour and purchase.

※This tour is planned for personal travelers who wish to make use of public transportation(e.g.,local train and buses) and communicate with local people and enjoy local delicacies surrounded by magnificent nature. This is your chance to dive deep into Tohoku.
※using JR-PASS is recommended.

Highlights

All About Chusonji Temple, center of Hiraizumi World Heritage
Licensed Tour Guide will assist you all the way around Chusonji Temple and Motsuji Temple.
This 4-hour tour is customizable depending on season, weather and your request.
Japanese Heritage under the theme of gold
From the night view lit up in golden colors to the famous Golden Shark Fin Soup in Kesennuma, you can feel the spirit of Japanese heritage through ‘Food and Gold’.

Itinerary

  1. Meet at ‘一BA(Ichiba)’, Ichinoseki Eki-mae Tourist Information Center
  2. Ichinoseki Station to Hiraizumi Station(JR Tohoku Main Line)
  3. Highlight: The World Heritage Chusonji Temple
  4. Chusonji Temple to Ichinseki Station ( local bus)
  5. Highlight: Shopping and strolling around Castle Town
  6. Ichinoseki Station to Kesennuma Station(JR Ofunato line)
  7. Accommodation: Kesennuma Plaza Hotel
  8. Highlight: Otokoyama Honten Sake Brewery Tour, Sake Pairing Lunch
  9. Highlight: Naiwan(Inner Bay) stoll and shopping
  10. Kesennuma Station to Ichinoseki Station (JR Ofunato)
  11. Departure at Ichinoseki Station (access to your next destination)

1:Meet at ‘一BA(Ichiba)’, Ichinoseki Eki-mae Tourist Information Center

9:45
meet at the 「9:45(please do not be late)」
Please come to 「Ichiba Ichinoseki Station Tourist Information Center」 at the west exit of Ichinoseki Station by 9:45.
※if you can’t make it on time, please contact us on the tourist chat as soon as possible

Tour will begin after checking 「your tour confirmation mail」and「your name」,You will receive an itenerary and tickets.
※You can check your baggaage at 一BA and pick them up after Chusonji Temple tour.

2:Ichinoseki Station to Hiraizumi Station(JR Tohoku Main Line)


10:10
Tour begins here.
Our first destination is the World Heritage ‘Chusonji Temple’.
Let’s take theJR Tohoku Main Line train bound for Morioka from Ichinoseki Station to Hiraizumi Station.

Let’s take JR Tohoku Main Line for Morioka
JR Tohoku Main Line for Morioka is at platform 2

Ichinoseki Station (leave at 10:16)→Hiraizumi Station(arrive at 10:24)

The 535.5 km JR Tohoku Main Line is the third longest line in Japan that connects Tokyo Station with Morioka Station.
Tohoku Main Line, which runs parallel to Tohoku shinkansen in many areas,is highly recommended for local tour as it stops at every major station, which makes transfers to other trains easy and convenient.
This is an hourly train.

8-minute ride to Hiraiumi
Hiraizumi is the second stop from Ichinoseki.
From the train window, you will find yourself surrounded by rich nature of Iwate while seeing the beautiful scene of the Kitakami River, the largest river in the Tohoku region, as well as Iwate-san mountain that shows many faces according to the seasons.

Meeting with a tour guide
Your tour guide from「Iwate Hiraizumi Interpreters & Guides Association」 will be waiting in front of Hiraizumi Station.
Tour will begin after checking「your tour confirmation mail」and 「your name」

3:Highlight: The World Heritage Chusonji Temple


10:30
Licensed Tour Guide from ‘Iwate iraizumi Interpreters & Guides Association’ will assist you all the way around Chusonji Temple and Motsuji temple.
This 4-hour tour, including lunch break, is customizable depending on season, weather and your request

Let your guide know If you wish to…
・learn more about the world heritage
・stroll around the area
・take lots of pictures
・get some rest
・eat local cuisine
・experience something that is only possible in Japan etc….


Benkei mochi, Shoeido on the pathway to Chusonji

baked mochi coverd with sweet paste

Hondo, Main Hall, Entrance

breathtaking beauty

Best season is October~November, season of autumn leaves

red and yellow leaves look beautiful scatterd among traditional Japanese-style house

If you have any requests,

Iwate Hiraizumi Interpreters & Guides Association are there to help you



※your guide will take you to your choice of restaurant (price range 1,000yen-2,000yen)
lunch cost is not included in the tour.

4:Chusonji Temple to Ichinseki Station ( local bus)


14:30
board on local bus back to Ichinoseki.your local guide will see you off here.
Your guide will be with you until the end of your Chusonji Temple tour.


Chusonji Temple( leave at 14:48)→Ichinoseki Temple( arrive at 15:10)

20 minutes to Ichinoseki.
The bus gets a little crowded on weekends and National holidays as toursits as well as local residents share the bus enjoy the view of the castle town or take a nap, it’s your call.

Tips

○Get on the bus
get on the bus from the rear and take a numberd ticket called ‘Josha ken’.
the number on your ticket is shown on the display above the driver.
please do not lose the ticket as you need it when you get off.
○on the bus
Please do not bring strong-smelling foods like fish, garlic or sausage.
all the buses and bus stops are non-smoking.
Please put your mobile phone in silent mode and refrain from talking on the phone. Put on earphones when listening to music etc..
○getting off the bus
match the number on your ticket with the one on the display to determine your bus fare.
(※Tour participants do not need to follow the tips above as bus fares are included in the tour.)

5:Highlight: Shopping and strolling around Castle Town


15:10
arrive at Itinoseki Station and walk back to 一BA
一BA is a community hub that is founded and operated by five Ichinoseki related companies and business representitives (all of them are from Ichinoseki) that want to vitalize the area.
一BA works as a tourist information center where toursts from around the world can gather. It also features a coworking space as well as a local goods shop.

Use 一BA as a homebase, storolling around castle town and Ichinoseki Station is easy and fun
You have an hour until the next activity.

※If you feel like walking aound the area, check below for some ideas.
If you feel tired after the Chusonji tour, please take a rest at 一BA.
Browse in the shop or post your photos on SNS might help you feel refreshed.

※be sure to be back to 一BA by 16:00. You have a train to catch.

50-min castle town stroll
Sekino-Ichi Brewery
Founded in 1918, with carefully selected ingredients from Iwate, Sekino-Ichi has brewed various kinds of Sake. The brewery is also known by its craft beer.
You can choose to take home your favorite sake, snack and Japanese style tableware at the tax-free shop in the facility.
You can also enjoy sampling a variety of sake.

50-min castle town stroll
Former Numata Family Samurai Residence (Tangible cultural property designated by Ichinoseki City)
This valuable building was built over 300 years ago and was the residence of chief counselors. You can have a glimps of the life of the samurai during the period.

50-min castle town stroll
Tsuriyama Park
A hillside park overlooking the castle town.
The view of Iwai river running through the city is impressve.
The park is a very popular photo spot for cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.

There are many more things that you can do during this extra time.
For more imformation about the area, please ask 一BA staff.
※be sure to be back to 一BA by 16:00. You have a train to catch.

6:Ichinoseki Station to Kesennuma Station(JR Ofunato line)


16:17
Board JR Ofunato for Kesennuma Station at Ichinoseki Station
JR Ofunato line for Kesennuma is at platform 3
The 62 Km JR Ofunato line is a local train that connects Ichinoseki Station( inland area) with Kesennuma Station ( coastal side)
The locals fondly refer to the line as ‘Dragon Rail’, since the railroad tracks wind like a dragon.


Ichinoseki Station(leave at 16:17)→Kesennuma Station (arrive at 17:38)

※JR pass holders do not need a ticket. Show your JR pass to a station attendant at the ticke gate.

80 minutes ride to Kesennuma Station
Ofunato line may not be the most popular line for tourists but there are actually many sightseeng spots such as Geibikei Gorge and Kesennuma along the line.
From the train window you will see the beautiful scenary of Iwate all year around as the train runs through areas that are rich in nature.


Geibikei Boat Ride

Inner Bay of Kesennuma

7:Accommodation: Kesennuma Plaza Hotel

18:00
Shuttle bus will take you to the hotel
Shuttle bus will be at the bus stop in front of Kesennuma Station (refer to the photo).
Let the bus driver check 「your tour confirmation mail」 and 「your name」 as you board.



Enjoy a natural hot spring that comes directly from 1,800m deep in the ground as well as fresh seafood such as abalone, swordfish and Kesennuma’s famous golden shark fin soup.
Kesennuma Plaza Hotel is located on the top of a hill overlooking Kesennuma bay, the view is simply amazing.
At night, the view of the port lit up in golden color can also be seen.


savor the seasonal seafood including golden shark fin soup.

enjoy the amazing view of Kesennuma bay while sitting in the outdoor bath.

relax in the soothing atomosphere.

10-minute walk to the inner bay area where you can see the golden night view.


Night time
Mishione Yokocho is also recommended during night time.
opened in 2019, Mishione yokocho is a collection of restaurants and bars.
walk about 10 minutes from the hotel, accompanied by the lights from the port,mishione yokocho is right ahead of you.

Mexican, Indonesian, Okinawan cuisine, Ramen, Bars…this is the best spot for restaurant/bar hopping.


Mishione Yokocho, photo from facebook

Mishione Yokocho, photo from facebook


Early time
Fun to walk around the inner bay area in the early morning
Wake up with the sun and experience the hustle and bustle of an authentic fishermen’s life.

Ke-arashi, the frost smoke, signaling the coming of Winter can be witnessed on chilly mornings in late fall and winter.


bonito in summer, saury in autumn(Reference: Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division)

mystical scenary of Ke-arashi(Reference: Kesennuma Tourism Promotion Organization)



take a morning bath and have breakfast at the hotel  after the storoll check-out time is 10:00

8:Highlight: Otokoyama Honten Sake Brewery Tour, Sake Pairing Lunch


Second Day
10:00
meet at the lobby after checking out.
walk through Kesennuma city.


Otokoyama Honten Sake Brewery Tour
10:30
Feel the sea breeze while walking. 10 minutes from the hotel, you will see the first destination of the day ‘Otokoyama Honten.

Established in 1912, Otokoyama Honten has been making various kinds of Sake for over a century. Some of their brands are: ‘Kesennuma Otokoyama’- brewed with a traditional technique passed down for generations.
‘Soutenden’-pairs best with seafood. Sake-based Fruit Liqueurs are also available.

The sake brewery tour takes you behind the scenes.
You can learn about each step of sake production by watching the process.
At the end of the tour, you are welcome to enjoy samples.
Explaind clearly from the knowledgeable staff,you will soon start tasting the subtle difference between each type that then allow you to find your favorite.
choose to take home your favorite sake at a shop in the facility


Sake Pairing Lunch
12:00
Our next stop is a restaurant called 「91(nine one)」
The restaurant is located in the bayside tourist spot 「Muka-eru」
5-min walk from Otokoyama Honten.

91 searves dishes that are made with seafood and vegetables that Kesennuma’s climate, soil and water have nurtured.
Pairing Otkoyama Honten’s Sake that is made under the same climate is so enjoyable.
(non-alcoholic drinks are also available.)

eat on the ocean view terrace when sunny.
savour your food at this open atmosphere restaurant.

9:Highlight: Naiwan(Inner Bay) stoll and shopping


stroll around inner bay area, shopping
13:00
enjoy shopping around Nai-wan(inner bay) area after lunch
Nai-wan(inner bay) area once seriously damaged by Great east Japan Earthquake is now a new beacon of hope for Kesennuma.
The facilty is a collection of cafes, restaurants, shops as well as a shared work space and even a radio station.
enjoy the view of Kesennuma bay from the seaside terrace, one of the most popular photo spots in the area.


13:49
Board ‘Shinai Jun-kan Bus’ (city loop bus) at Minami-machi bus stop back to Kesennuma Station.
The bus stop is very close to Nai-wan (inner bay)
Kesennuma Local mascot 「Hoya-boya」 decorates the bus.
※arrival time may differ according to the weather and traffic conditions.
※bus fares are not included in the tour(adult:200yen,children under 12:100yen)

10:Kesennuma Station to Ichinoseki Station (JR Ofunato)


14:15
Board JR Ofunato line for Ichinoseki at Kesennuma Station
JR Ofunato Line for Ichinoseki is at platform 3・4
※JR pass holders do not need a ticket. Show your JR pass to a station attendant at the ticke gate.


Ichinoseki Station (leave at 14:21)→Kesennuma Station(arrive at15:40)

80-minutes ride to Ichinoseki
Boarding earlier than yesterday, the view from the train window may be very different. In Japan, colors that represent seasons are: pink in spring, green in summer, red and yellow in autumn and white in winter. It is simply amazing to see scenery that changes with the seasons so vibrantly.

15:40
arrive at Ichinoseki Station
Tour ends here. We hope you enjoyed it.

11:Departure at Ichinoseki Station (access to your next destination)

You can go to Tokyo, Sendai or Morioka, Hakodate from Ichinoseki Station by Shinkansen.
*Train schedule below is subject to change, please check at Ichinoseki station.

Tohoku Shinkansen: For Sendai・Tokyo
Ichinoseki Station(leave at 15:50)→Sendai Station (arrive at 16:22)/Tokyo Station (arrive at 18:04)
Tohoku Shinkansen: for Morioka・Hakodate
Ichinoseki Station(leave at 16:14)→Morioka Station(arrive at 16:54)/Hakodate Station( arrive at 20:20)


The Place of Gold Production “Michinoku Gold” A Journey Through Golden Shark fins and the Culture and History of Gold​​​

This tour allows participants to learn about Japanese history, culture, nature and food culture under the theme of GOLD through visiting Ichinoseki and kesennuma.
Enjoyment and excitment awite you at every destination.
Dive deep into Tohoku. Take lots of photos at some of the best photo locations in the region.

Click here to see the tour and purchase.

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