Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tohoku Road Trip: Day 1- Matsushima & Ginzan

The next morning, we went downstairs to get breakfast at Ikeuo no Yado Inn in Matsushima.  We had a table right next to the outdoor fish tank that overlooked Matsushima Bay.  Here was our breakfast:
Breakfast at Ikeuo no Yado
The sashimi was the best part of breakfast
Breakfast also came with bacon and sausage

View of the outdoor fish tank from our table
After eating we went on a walk back to Fukuura Bridge.  When we went the night before, the gate to the bridge was open, but this time it was closed.  We realized that we had to pay 200 yen to cross the bridge (whoops).  We crossed the bridge and arrived at Fukuura Island.  We really enjoyed walking around and seeing some of the other islands from Fukuura Island
Walking around Fukuura Island
Fukuura Bridge

View of other islands

"Oh my God, is he dead?"
Turns out he was alive

We left Fukuura Island and checked out of our hotel.  We found a parking spot nearby and made our way to buy our tickets for the ferry ride around Matsushima Bay.  My friend picked up a discount coupon for the ferry ride at the hotel before we left, so it only cost us 1,350 yen (as opposed to 1,500 yen).

We had some free time before the next ferry left, so we walked across the street to the Zuiganji TempleZuiganji Temple is one of the most famous Zen temples in Tohoku, but when we went it was under construction.  We were able to see the grounds around the temple, but we couldn’t go in.  The caves that we passed along the way were absolutely breathtaking.  I was amazed that they hadn’t collapsed due to the way that they were formed/ constructed.
Caves on the temple grounds
At Zuiganji Temple Grounds

After walking around the Zuiganji Temple grounds we went to catch our ferry around Matsushima Bay.  It was nice seeing some of the other islands from the boat.
Islands in Matsushima Bay
Once we got back to the mainland, we went to get lunch at Matsushima Sakana Ichiba.  Many kinds of souvenirs are sold here, and there are also many restaurants.  We both wanted to try the famous Matsushima Fried Oyster Burger (350 yen), so we each got one and split a cooked scallop skewer.  The burger was very delicious!
Matsushima Fried Oyster Burger and Scallop Skewer
Next was dessert.  We went to a nearby shop that sold Zunda Mochi, or rice cakes covered in sweetened mashed green soybeans.  I’m not a bean fan, but decided to try it anyway.  I would suggest it to people who really enjoy Japanese soybeans, or edamame.  
Zunda Mochi
After we had eaten we decided to make a quick stop at Godaido Temple before we left Matsushima.  It was a lot smaller than we both thought but it was still very beautiful.

Godaido Temple

Godaido Temple Bridge

The small, quiet town of Ginzan was about a 2-hour drive by car from Matsushima.  There are bridges across a river running underneath the town that connects each side of the town.  As we walked past the hotels and further away from civilization, we found a beautiful waterfall!

The area behind Ginzan was green and beautiful.  Walking through the forest was very relaxing.

Ginzan Hot Spring Town
Foot baths in Ginzan

Shirogane Waterfall in Ginzan
After spending about two hours in Ginzan, we made our way to Yamagata!  We stayed at Hotel View Kuroda in Tendo, Yamagata.  When we checked in, the receptionist said that our room would be a smoking room, but my friend and I don’t smoke, so we requested a non-smoking room (which we had originally requested when we made the reservation weeks before).  They kindly let us stay in a premium non-smoking room without charging us extra.  
Premium non-smoking room at Hotel View Kuroda

We were pretty exhausted by then, so we decided to get dinner at the hotel.  They were serving duck hot pot that night, which was pretty good. 
Dinner at Hotel View Kuroda
Duck Hot Pot

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