Japan Diaries 4: Day 306

Day 306: September 3, 2022

Saturday – Mashike Road Trip

It's the weekend again. The weather is beautiful today, which means it's a perfect day to go out of town with the family once more. However, because I have an All-Rumoi ALT get-together in the afternoon, my family and I will be unable to do our usual overnight camping, and we will also be unable to visit distant towns and cities.

Route 231 - Mashike
Driving down Route 231 to Mashike

Mashike manhole cover

The good news is that I went to Mashike (増毛町) with my JTE last weekend and got to experience fun activities that my family would undoubtedly enjoy. As a result, it's a simple plug-and-play day trip for us.

First stop: Former Mashike Station

We left our home in Rumoi at around 8 AM and arrived at Mashike 30 minutes later. Our first stop is the Former Mashike Station. Although there is nothing much to do here, visiting this historic building is a big thing for me as I got to finally see one of the places shown in the 1981 film Station featuring Ken Takakura

Former Tomitaya Ryokan and Kazemachishokudo Information Centre

Kazemachishokudo Information Centre

This building was one of the shooting locations of Ken Takakura's 1981 movie Station 

Inside Kazemachishokudo Information Centre

We then visited the nearby Kazemachishokudo Information Centre which is just a stone's throw away from the Former Mashike Station. The Kazemachishokudo Information Centre has several stamps including those of the Mashike Station. The building has a Showa-era feel to it and like the station was also used as a filming location of the 1981 film Station.

Kunimare Sake Brewery

Free sake tasting at Kunimare Sake Brewery

Kampai with Mr. Sake Bear

Refilled water at the famed spring water fountain of Kunimare Sake Brewery

From there, we drove to Kunimare Sake Brewery to check out what souvenirs we could buy and also to try the free sake tasting. I was so satisfied with the taste of the sake that I bought a bottle of it. 

Mashike Itsukushima Shrine

Check out this beautifully engraved wood

Akita Clan Former Jinya No. 1 Daiba Ruins

The view from the Akita Clan Former Jinya No. 1 Daiba Ruins

Our next stop is the Mashike Itsukushima Shrine. My daughter and I paid respects and offered some prayers in the shrine. Although it's not part of the itinerary that I made, we made our way to the Akita Clan Former Jinya No. 1 Daiba Ruins only to be disappointed to see only a marker and a plaque.

We need to cross the Shokanbetsu River to reach Mashike Riverside Park

Tsuribashi Bridge

We went down to the Shokanbetsu River

Look who got her shoes wet...

We then drove to Mashike Riverside Park to enjoy the view of the Shokanbetsu River. We enjoyed taking photos in the park and also along the riverbank we didn't immediately notice that we had been in the park for more than an hour already. 

The highlight of our trip was our visit to Maruzen Sato Orchard. My family and I enjoyed the grape picking and also the eat-all-you-can activity. I probably ate several kilos of grapes during our 4-hour stay.

Late lunch at Sushi no Matsukura

Ella and KC tried the tempura set.

I had the sweet ebi bowl. Pricey but worth it.

Surprisingly, after all those grapes, we were still hungry, so we drove to Sushi no Matsukura for a late lunch. I ordered the sweet ebi bowl, which was tasty but pricey. My wife and daughter had the giant shrimp tempura set meal, which was delicious but significantly less expensive than my meal.

Nord Marina

Checking out the scenic view at Nord Marina

After lunch, we decided to head back home as I still have the get-together with the other ALTs at Joshua’s place at 5 PM. However, before leaving Mashike, we made one more stop at Nord Marina to check out its scenic view. 

That evening, during the get-together, I got to meet the new Rumoi block ALTs namely;
  • Miranda – Obira Town
  • Jonathan – Tomamae Town
  • Ryan – Haboro Town
It was really a fun night with these guys. We talked about a lot of things time flew so fast. Speaking of which, I got home at around 10 PM.

My wife and I stayed up for a bit to finalize an itinerary for tomorrow. We settled to visit one town but decided to visit as many spots as we could. So with that, see you, tomorrow guys!

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