Thursday, 7 May 2015

Golden Week: Iwaki san

Hiro's SIL and nieces came to stay for a night. We went on a trip to Iwaki san near Hirosaki in Aomori prefecture, about an hour and a half by car. It's apple blossom season at the moment, and Hirosaki is the capital of apples in all Japan. The day was a little hazy, and we couldn't see as far as Hokkaido, but it was a very pleasant day out.
Mt Iwaki

Shirakami Sanchi World Heritage Area from Iwaki san

Snow on the top

The summit of Iwaki san

We took the gondola. It was the first time for all of us but
Hiro's parents to take the gondola.  The first time I climbed
Iwaki san the wind was so strong I slipped as I grabbed a marking
rope and put a large gash in my head.....  This time was much smoother.

Beech trees on the way up the mountain.
There is a bus from Hiroasaki  via Iwaki Jinja, where I've walked from previously, 
that goes to gondolas at the 8th station

Snow by the gondola. Fuki no tou, a mountain vegetable on the gondola path

Magnificent Iwaki san and apple blossoms


Andrew Wright said...

Love how there are so many apple based products available around Hirosaki, except for actual fresh apples (not to say you can't buy them, just that they aren't anywhere nearly as widely available as apple cakes, apple juice, apple chocolates, apple chips, apple...)

Cecilia said...

Couldn't agree more!
Also, there's a michi no eki kind of place on Apple Road Hirosaki that we go to when in the area. It sells jam made by the local high school, for some reason though, they don't do anything with apple. This time they had marmalade only (I can't even imagine that there are citrus trees in Hirosaki). Usually there is blueberry? as well. It always puzzles me. I've thought to ask the staff, but the feeling that they will think I am a nutter and be utterly flummoxed overwhelms me and I haven't. Next time I'll have to summon up the courage!

Andrew Wright said...

The lack of widely available fresh fruit, especially in tourist areas, always frustrates us in Japan. Now and then you come across a greengrocer in some quiet local area or market and suburban or rural city regions might have a supermarket within easy reach (so in Hirosaki I found apples at the Ito Yokado). But if you are reliant on combinis then all you might find is a plastic wrapped Philippine banana. Otherwise it's fruit in jelly.

There's one stall in Shinjuku that sells rather expensive fresh fruit (including *holdshisnose*) durians) and seems to do a roaring trade.

Unfortunately for us, a dinner is not complete without some fruit at the end.

Cecilia said...

The attitude to fruit here is a bit different. It's more of a luxury good and is seen as comparable with dessert, not on par with vegetables. There is never anything I want to eat in the prepared food section of a conbeni here... chocoate yes, but onigiri, pasta, noodles, I:d rather eat at a tachigui noodle bar than eat convenience store noodles.
I'm totally with you on the lack of availability of fruit outside of greengrocers & supermarkets in central Tokyo / sightseeing areas. It takes a trip to a suburban shopping strip.. In the dept, store of the railway building at Ebisu, they have triangular (ok I mean prism? ) shaped watermelon if you:ve got money to burn!
I also dislike that apples here are so big... much too big for a comfortable snack.

Andrew Wright said...

I will guiltily admit that I rather like getting meals from a combini now and then. I have a thing for the hot meat and cheese buns, but not the noodles, except for the odd yakisoba roll (noodles on a bread roll, that's just weird). And when you are exhausted, it's late at night, and you can't stomach another salty hot Japanese meal then a combini salad is sometimes the only option. Sad really.

The big apples are good for sharing as a family. But somehow they don't seem to taste as good as a decade ago. Or maybe we have just got more discerning of apples here (Fujis being the favourite) and the difference isn't as great.

Cecilia said...

Not sure why I didn't get a notification about your post... have just seen it.

I did the rounds of a convenience store yesterday and even their chocolate bars were ones I don't like!