Summer Roadtrip: Day Two (Inakadate → Hachinohe)

After wolfing down our breakfast at the hotel, it was off to see some rice-paddy art!

INAKADATE: Rice-paddy Art

Jumping in the car, not long after arriving in Inakadate village multicoloured rice fields came into view. The view from the observation deck was incredible! An intricately designed artwork made from seven different varieties of rice-plant spread out before us.

Inakadate: Rice-paddy Art

Starting in 1993, Inakadate Village has been creating giant works of art from rice every summer.

There are two locations for viewing the giant rice fields and both are easiest accessed by car or taxi after getting off at Inakadate Station. (There is a shuttle bus that runs between the two sites during the event period.)

Visiting period is between June ~ mid-October, with August offering the best view.

Admission: Adults 200 yen, Children (Primary school or younger) 100 yen.

Rice-paddy Art (1)

INAKADATE: Japanese Swordsmith

Just a couple of minutes’ walk from the first observation deck lies another hidden gem! At ‘Katana-no-iori’ or the ‘Swordsmith’s Hamlet’ you can meet an authentic Japanese swordsmith.

Recognised by the ministry of cultural affairs, you know that swordsmith Mitsugu Nakahata is the real-deal the moment you meet him. He will carefully show you the process of making a Japanese sword as well as the correct way to appreciate it. Bow to the sword once before taking it in both hands, feeling its weight and admiring the beautiful and unique tempering patterns in the metal.

It takes five years of study and practice to be recognized as a swordsmith. These days, Japanese swords are recognized across the world for their beauty and craftsmanship as a work of art. It is incredibly exciting to see the real thing up close!

Katana-no-iori (刀の庵)

Learn how to handle a real Japanese sword from an authentic swordsmith!

Katana-no-iori is located just a 5 minute walk from the Rice-paddy Art observation site 1.

Visiting is possible during the Rice-paddy art period, usually from 10am~4:30pm (500 yen entry).






HIROSAKI: Farmhouse Restaurant ‘Akatsuki’

After all that excitement, it’s time for lunch at ‘Tsugaru-Akatsuki’ farmhouse restaurant.

Be treated to a special home-cooked meal at the home of some local ‘obaachan’. Almost all ingredients are grown locally and there are no added flavors or preservatives, so you can enjoy a natural taste that has been enjoyed throughout the years. The movement began as a passionate initiative of these local women to pass on knowledge of local cuisine and food culture to the next generation, before it is lost forever! It is such a homey, welcoming vibe that we almost yelled out ‘tadaima’ (I’m home!) as we walked in.

Tsugaru Akatsuki Farmhouse Restaurant

Taste authentic local cuisine whilst engaging with some very friendly locals!

Best accessed by car though you can also walk 5 minutes from Ishikawa station.

Reservations required! Please call ahead before visiting.

Phone: 0172-49-7002

Lunch set: 1500 yen




Tsugaru Akatsuki Farmhouse Restaurant

‘High-tabi’ Magazine

‘High-tabi’ (‘high’ from ‘highway’ + ‘tabi’ meaning ‘travel’ in Japanese) is a great magazine full of travel information and ideas.

NEXCO East produces the magazine to provide travelers with useful travel information and recommended routes for a fun and safe highway journey around all six prefectures of the Tohoku region! Check out the homepage for more info

Visit the ‘High-tabi’ homepage here (Japanese/English/Chinese):


HACHINOHE: Tanesashi Coast

With our stomachs and hearts more than satisfied, it was off to see some epic natural scenery! We found out about a beautiful place called the ‘Tanesashi Coast’ in a copy of ‘High-tabi’ magazine that we picked up at one of the Service Areas along our journey. The Tanesashi Coast offers the most amazing contrast between fresh greenery, ocean, dramatic rocks and the blue sky. We had fun just taking a walk around, searching for interesting rocks and breathing in the fresh ocean breeze.

Apparently on Saturday mornings they offer morning yoga here, too! I think we might have to come back!!



Tanesashi Kaigan (Tanesashi Coast)

The perfect spot to stop on a weekend drive! Enjoy the beautiful scenery, the famous ‘squeaking’ sand, or enjoy a picnic!

Events often held on weekends, including morning yoga on Saturdays!






Tanesashi Kaigan (Tanesashi Coast)



HACHINOHE: Miroku Alley

We decided we’d make Hachinohe our home for the night. Parking the car, it was off the let our hair down and check out the night-life! Our destination was Hachinohe’s alley of street-food stalls – Miroku Alley!

There are around 26 street-food stalls set up in Miroku Alley, all selling local specialties, seafood and all kinds of tasty dishes. Make the most of it by bar-hopping to a few stores that catch your eye! Enjoy the chance to strike up a conversation with the locals sitting next to you – one of the best ways travel stories are made!

I wonder what stories are to come tomorrow…

Miroku Alley  (Miroku Yokocho)

Over 26 different street-food stalls and bars can be found in Miroku Alley – you will be spoilt for choice!

Business hours/calendars vary for each stall, but not you’ll find something tasty whichever you choose!






Miroku Alley (Miroku Yokocho)

Read more about our roadtrip!

Day Three: Nanbu → Sendai

Is your stomach ready? The only thing that will get us up early is the largest morning market in Japan!! How much local food can we fit into our bellies before it’s time to head back to Sendai?

Day One: Sendai → Hirosaki

Follow us as we set-off from Sendai City, check-out Japan’s amazing ‘flying dumplings’ before taking on the Wanko-soba challenge!! Who will win…?

Read more about NEXCO East’s Tohoku Expressway Pass here!