Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Girls Gone Hiraizumi

Last week I developed a tic in my right eye. I blamed it on a friend who works in the department at school, but the likely culprit was stress and lack of sleep. I was told to try a new product - a single use self-heating eye mask. I was a little doubtful at first but... WOW! It was awesome! A few nights of good sleep with the wonder eye masks and I was feeling somewhat better, but what I really needed was a little bit of R&R. Luckily for me, Monday was a holiday and some friends and I had planned a long-weekend getaway.

The gang: an American grad student doing her PhD thesis research in Tokyo, my sempai (student senior to me) from school, a friend through Girl Scouts

The location: Hiraizumi in northern Japan.

The purpose: to see the famous temples


a bad fortune tied to a tree branch for good luck

the stream used in the Heian period for poetry/drinking parties


and Takoku no Iwaya

What we REALLY did: EAT, eat, eat, and then eat some more! When Japanese people travel within their own country they have a fascination with food, local dishes and special products. This means Genghis Khan (grilled lamb) and potatoes in Hokkaido, apples in Aomori, a special beef dish in Sendai, okonomiyaki and takoyaki in Kansai... The list is endless. Guide books and travel magazines are full of glossy photographs of these local specialities and include lists of restaurants. These specialites then find their way into the omiyage, the souvenier gifts brought home by the traveller for family, friends, and co-workers. My Japanese friends were shocked to discover that travel to a Westerner does not automatically imply discovering local delicacies to quite the same extent. I'm quite happy that this trip we most definitely travelled Japanese style and stuffed ourselves silly with the local specialities.


9 different types of mochi (rice cake)

wanko soba - 24 single bite sized bowls of noodles to be eaten with a thin soup and a variety of fixings

dinner at the hot springs hotel

Moffle - mochi waffle

(Yes, I know I am becoming Japanese with my fascination for taking photographs of meals I am about to eat. I just hope I don't go over the edge and start taking photos of airplane food!)

When we booked the trip, we had been warned that the season for fall colours would be over. I'd disagree, however!

I think the photos express it better than I ever could in words...


  1. Hi Sarah, I finally linked your Atsuhime episodes on my site. They were a great help in catching me up in my absence!

  2. Wow, I'm jealous! Looks incredibly beautiful and very much like fall there still. And what beautiful food - you keep taking those pictures, girl! Great to hear you got some R&R and got rid of that tic. I'm developing a tic from writing (or not writing) a paper that's due on Monday. love and hugs, Cath