Hananomaki, in Iwate pref. is a home of famous novelist, teacher, agricultural researcher, Kenji Miyazawa. Next to his memorial stands a restaurant named after his classic fantasy.
Early next morning the boat docked in the port of Akita. We drove out into the sun already intense, and that's an becoming start of our holiday in the north east.
Half a day's drive from Hiroshima carried us up to Kyoto. We spent the hot muggy afternoon visiting old temples which the ancient capital of Japan is famous for.
The night was spent in Tohno, a rural village that has come to be known as the heartland of folklore.

This was attributable to the work of Kunio Yanagida, who audited, compiled and published the old stories in the mountains, of god and of spirits that had been verbally passed on through the generations but were on the blink of oblivion.
Tohoku region was once called Michinoku, literally, end of the road.

To most of the main-islanders this was once a realm of barbarians. And even after they were subdued, the land never lost its mysterious charm to its name.

A signpost warns of blackbear sow and cubs, often sighted by the roadside up here.
Cheers, to the sun setting in the sea ofJapan.
In my Uni days I was a keen motorbiker making annual pilgrimage to Hokkaido. Not being able to afford the ferry boat, I even rode all the way from Kobe to H'kaido and then back. Following the same roads now albeit in a car, memories of those old days did flash back.
Right in the centre of Japan's most traditional city looms up Kyoto tower offering an almost amusing contrast.

From the look out on the top, you can see those historic temples, shrines, palaces and all that's left behind since the city's birth as the capital in 794AD.
Few would disagree Hokkaido as the nation's top of summer holiday destination. But this time we decided to go a bit off the trend, to visit 'Tohoku' region in the north east end of the mainland Japan.
Here in Iwate you can find small breweries, and they even boasts of homegrown genuine hopps - a feat only achievable in the cool northern climate.

- Tohoku 2

With rekindled interest, the seniors in the community are holding nightly recitals to anyone wishing to wander around Tohno of the past.

Next day we woke up early, walked thru the woods with still morning dews on, to visit the "Kappa Swamp", where Kappa, a mischievous amphibian creature lived in, once upon a time.
Visited Chu son ji temple, a remnant of Fujiwara clan's northern dynasty that saw its heyday in late 12th century.

The summer grass
tis all that's left
of ancient warriors dreams . . .

Basho's famous Haiku poem says it all.

Tohoku in summer '07 - I
On day 3. We reached the port town of Tsuruga, where we went aboard a northern bound 'Shin Nihonkai' ferryboat.

In the large deck space are swimming pool, sauna bath and even ping pong table - Once aboard, no time to get bored.
On Day2 we drove up along the west coast of Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, known for its great bass fishing.

The Shinto gate, Torii, resembles the floating Torii of Miyajima in the west.