When you mention the name “Aomori”, most Japanese people would think about the words “far”, “countryside”, “cold”, and probably “apples”. Well, all of those are correct but I hope people’s perspective about this place change which is actually my goal in today’s post.
Our second day started early as we went to visit a local fish market in Hachinohe city. As a person born in a place where seafood is the main industry, I was expecting to see a familiar scene. I expected to see a lot of people buying seafood, vendors inviting people to check and buy their products, and of course, I expected the fishy smell; however, to my surprise, their market was very clean. All their products were neatly sliced and packed and the vendors were busy arranging their products in their stalls. Though you could easily see that most sellers here are already too old to work (population issues).
|Traditional Japanese breakfast|
In Japan, people really practice “ClAYGo” or “Clean As You Go” policy so please don’t forget to clean up after eating!
After our hearty meal, we went to see the ocean near the city’s tourist information office. Unfortunately, the office was still closed when we went there so I never got the chance to see what was in here. The office was overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. This made me imagine how the people around here live because as for me, I wouldn’t mind living in such a place if I could always see the beautiful scenery.
In this place, some residents do Yoga and probably other kinds of exercises. I think it is also possible to do picnics here. We, on the other hand, just lied on the grass and stayed there for a while, took pictures and relaxed.
Then, we stopped over a convenience store before driving to our main destination – Nanbu town.
Nanbu is mainly a small agricultural town. In this town, we were lucky enough to be invited to experience their future tourism plan. Along with the colleague and two other foreigners, we were able to experience the local life of Nanbu.
First, we checked their local produce in a small roadside market. Mind you, these products are by far the biggest vegetables I have seen in my life! And they are all organic and a bit cheaper than those sold in the Philippines!!!
|Packed like a bouquet of flowers!|
In this place, we met Hiro-san, the son of a local farmer in the area. Their family manages a lot of apple farms in the town. He is also one of the people spearheading their local tourism promotion. They have a mission to promote their place to not only Japanese locals but also, foreigners. In their tour package, they want guests to experience 3 things: a) Activities, b) Food, and c) Nature and relaxation.
Our first activity was fruit-picking. The locals would introduce and teach their guests how to choose a good quality apple and how to pick it. In this place, I was able to understand the painstaking task most farmers do to keep their apples in their best quality condition. Each apple is turned towards the sun so the apples can evenly ripen. The redder the apple, the sweeter and the juicier they become. The apple trees we saw there are only 10 years old so that’s why it’s not difficult to pick the apples. We tried 2 kinds of apples although I forgot to take a photo of the golden apples.
Our next stop was a local restaurant/bakery/museum/souvenir shop. I saw a variety of vintage items here like a telephone, old-school TV, record player, and other stuff. They also sell different kinds of bread (Anpan or red bean bread), coffee, and other souvenirs. When going on tour in Japan, always prepare your body for a lot of food you need to try! I ate Japanese curry, soba, and anpan in this place. We also tried their homegrown and homemade grape juice and carrot juice. The hosts were all very inviting that they make you feel at home very easily.
|Bread, bread, bread|
|They also sell charms|
|Coffee from different countries|
|Pictures and postcards|
|Our view outside|
|Curry rice and their homemade grape juice|
|Anpan with sesame seeds|
The next place we went to was a hotel. Here, we met other locals and officials who are also part of the tourism promotion program. They showed us the other activities foreigners can do around the place.
We went to a pond where they catch catfish, picked Maple leaves (souvenirs for colleagues) and we also played ice hockey (well, I just watched while they played).
|Ice skating rink|
|Indoor swimming pool|
After a tiring day, guests can enjoy going to an Onsen (hot spring) and/or the indoor swimming pool. I wanna say that I never imagined swimming in a place known for its cold temperature; however, the place was warm enough for a dip in the pool.
To know more about Nanbu, try to check some web pages featuring the other activities and places you can visit there. The place is definitely a must-go-to place if you’re planning to travel to Japan anytime soon.
Here are some links I found on the web: