Monday, August 18, 2014

Mid-summer Trip to Iwate Prefecture

EMU JR East Shinkansen E5 series, super express "Hayabusa (falcon)", stands at Morioka Station
 
It's "obon" week again in Japan. Obon is a Buddhist festival to recognize ancestral spirits. The souls of the dead are believed to return to their families during the festival. It's an occasion for people to visit their relatives' graves to pray and make offerings of food and flowers. So, many people take holidays, and go back to their hometowns. My hometown is Tokyo, but I also took a summer vacation and went to the north with my family. This year's destination was Iwate Prefecture, some 500km north of Tokyo.

To visit Iwate, the Tohoku Shinkansen train is convenient. The newest model EMU JR East E5 series, a super express train "Hayabusa (Falcon)" is very comfortable with a maximum speed of 320km/h (199MPH). A total of 28 sets, 280 units, are operated on the line. It is a major fleet of the Tohoku Shinkansen trains, currently.

After arriving at Morioka, the main city of Iwate Prefecture, I met with my old friend and visited Morioka Handi-works Square together. The handi-works square is a reputable sightseeing spot for visitors to experience making local crafts and meals including pottery art, woodworking, dyeing, making toys, and cooking. I tried to cook local noodles, "Reimen" as I was hungry. Reimen is a Moriokan's "soul-food", which is cold noodles topped with egg, water melon and cucumber. It's a very special feeling to eat my self-cooked meal.

To be continued...

 
 I cook local noodles, "Reimen" at Morioka Handi-works Square near Morioka Station
 
More information about the Tohoku Shinkansen: