Samstag, 5. Mai 2012

May 5 - Ishinomaki, Zao Town
Yuki's parents had invited us to spend the whole weekdend with them driving to 2 different Onsen`s in the Miyagi prefecture. Therefore we got up at 7:00 and left the house at 9:00. Our first stop on theway to the first Onsen was a park called "Splash Shiroishi" where "lawn cherry blossom" ( literal translation, no one knew the real English name or if there is an English name at all) were in full bloom => sooo beautiful!!!

lawn cherry blossoms

lawn cherry blossoms

Yuki`s parents and I eating Soypaste Soft Icecream
From there we went to a famous noodle restaurant in that area, where we had to line up for about 45 minutes in front of the restaurnt before we could eat Shiraishi Umen noodles (the restaurant was japanese style and I recognized a slight improvement of my left food, I think I could sit a little bit longer than a few days ago:-)
People waiting in front of the restaurant
The lunch place was our starting point for short walk to the Shiroishi Castle. Yuki and I went inside, Yuki`s parents stayed outside and were waiting for us. Yuki and I were lucky because when we entered the Castle a very enthusiastic Castle-guide picked us and gave us a lot of information about that Castle (even though he spoke in Japanese, Yuki translated very well for me)

Shiroishi Castle
In March 1995 the Castle was restored as a completely restored donjon in wooden architecture. The restoration was done for the first time in 120 years since the castle was dismantled in 1874. The donjon of Shiroishi Castle is three-storied with a heigt of 16.7m. It boasts one of the highest and largest donjons in Japan as a restored wooden donjon after war.
Actually this Castle was the smallest one of all Castles I had seen so far. Special about it was the fact, that it was completely made of wood (Japanese Cypress). Usually the government doesn`t allow to build wooden buildings heigher than 13m (for safety reasons), but the local mayor was very convincing and so the Castle is 16.7m heigh.
Shiroishi Castle

View from the third floor of the Castle to the Mt Zao Aera

Children`s day
May 5th is a public holiday in Japan. Several years ago it was called "Boy`s day", now it is called "Children`s day". Everywhere in Japan you could see those "fish flags" hanging on a rope: the black big fish stood for the father, the big red one for the mother and the small blue one for the boy.

Our last sightseeing point for that day was at a place, that was famous for the so called "wooden stones" (Zaimoku-Stones or cliff). At that place the children's festival was celebrated too and the "fish flags" were hanging on a rope over the river

Zaimoku Stones/Cliff and "fish flags"

Zaimoku Stones/Cliff

On the right bottom side in the last picture the impact of the earthquake on March 11, 2011 can be seen (the debris pile was caused by the earthquake).

After visiting that place we finally drove to our first accomodtion (a family run Onsen place, where Yuki's parents regularly stay). We arrived there at about 16:50 and Yuki and I started listening to our audiobook CD no 2 and 3 immediately. For dinner at 18:00 we had to take a break from our CD but after dinner we finished no 3.
The dinner was really good and except us only one other couple including their dog stayed in the room. The owner of the Onsen and the guests talked together and Yuki was busy interpreting for me:-) The owner of the Onsen told us that he had an old Mercedes Benz and that all cars should be like this. He complimented german people on the good quality, our products have and was sorry that he couldn't remember a single german word.
After the dinner Yuki and I took a nice warm shower and bath at the Onsen (this time, we could look the door and spent some private time in the bathroom). The water was so hot, that I couldn't stay in the bathtub for a long time. After the bath I was really tired and even though the cushion was to thick and hard and the mattress was very hard either I managed to fall asleep deeply immediately (bedtime at 23:30).

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