Heading to Hakkoda, we checked a few of the lonely planet recommended detours. At our first stop, Rob and I followed the LP command “must eat here” in Morioka. Driving into the city, we had our second “driving in a place we shouldn’t be moment.” We followed what seemed to be a parking sign for the center of town castle ruins park and ended up having to back out of a narrow trail. Oops. At least there wasn’t anyone around to scold us.
After finally succeeding in parking, we wandered around the old castle ruins park with moats and a the famous cherry tree splitting a huge rock to work an appetite for second breakfast. Since the all-you-can-eat soba was 1) pricey 2) not yet open 3) too much food, we decided to try the jaja-men (じゃじゃめん), a udon like noodle with miso paste. It’s a complex meal that involves eating 7/8 of a bowl of noodles then scrambling an egg with the rest to get a soup. Luckily, the restaurant, Pairon Honten (白龍本店), had an English sheet explaining how everything should be consumed.
The whole meal was 1000 yen or $8.30.
Extremely full, we left Morioka heading northeast to Lake Tazawako, the deepest lake in Japan. Unfortunately, none of the parks or viewpoints were plowed and the visibility wasn’t great so we just ended up doing a drive-by before continuing to Senboku.
Senboku is known for it’s old streets lined with cherry trees and preserved samurai houses. We wandered the streets, visiting one house where a descendant of the samurai family still lives, then sampled miso and soy sauces at the Antong brewery. We ended day near Hakkoda ready to checkout the ropeway the next day.