Misawa Weekend- Ryosendo Cave and Kitayamazaki Coast

Cement Factory- those sinks are for sale!

Sunday was a pretty epic road trip around the Aomori Prefecture.  We started with a quick trip to the cement factory, a collection of shops on the grounds of a former cement factory.  It’s a huge used goods store and some of the finds are pretty awesome. The kitchenware store has everything you need to set up your own noodle or takoyaki stand.  I’m not sure if the equipment works but it was pretty tempting!  Alternate career, here I come!  There were also many statues, books, magazines and furniture.

Seafood for sale
Creative Display

Next was lunch at Hasshoku Center, informally known as the Hachinohe Fish Market.  We went to a restaurant with delicious sushi followed by a walk through the market.  It was awesome.  There were many vendors, including produce, meat and lots and lots of fish.  It was bustling and some of the seafood was unfamiliar in appearance to me.

Grill area and people waiting with their trays of food

The coolest part of the market was a section with many small charcoal grill coals where you could cook and eat your purchases.  Argh!  I was so full from lunch but it looked so cool!  People had shrimp, whole fish, oysters and scallops to grill.   Mmmmm, hopefully someday.  Even if I don’t go back, I’m definitely hitting up the local Yokosuka oyster grill shacks next Spring.

Admiring Ryosendo Cave, picture by SMS

Then we piled into the car and drove down to Ryusendo cave.  It’s a huge limestone cave with about 700 of its 5000 meters opened to the public.  There are three lakes and the blue water is so amazing, still and deep.  There are suspended lights in the water that provide hauntingly beautiful illumination.  Apart from the lakes, the other amazing thing was the huge staircase within the cave that brought us from the surface of the lake to about 35 m above.  I never thought I would have a fear of heights in a cave!  Actually, it wasn’t the heights so much as the steepness of the staircase.

After admiring and walking through the cave complex, we headed back to the car and drove off to the East coast of Japan.  It’s part of Rikuchukaigan National Park but we were specifically heading to the sea cliffs of Kitayamazaki Coast.  The park seemed closed apart from a busy construction crew but we headed out to the first and second (of three) lookouts.  It was totally gorgeous and I really wanted to walk down 530 stairs to the beach, but SMS pointed out that it was close to dinner and that there would also be 530 stairs to walk up.  I still felt up for it until halfway back from the second lookout along the fairly level stairs to the first viewpoint and then I decided I was weak from hunger.  So, no beach for either of us!

The coast drive itself was eerie and spectacular.  A lot of the coastline was devastated by the 2011 tsunami and now there are several industrial construction sites fortifying the coast with sea-walls, lock-type walls to regulate water levels and huge shoreline concrete reinforcements that look like a giant’s set of jacks. It was Sunday and there was no activity so combined with the fog, it felt very other-wordly, abandoned and even post-apocalyptic.  I sense a new setting for the next successful dystopian young adult series!

We started to head home and ate at an Italian restaurant that was ok.  It fit the bill- food + now.  We had wanted to see the Kuji cliffs and the Japanese women Ama divers but we ran out of time.  It was a very full day!

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