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Japan Hour

Local Bus Trip In Ibaraki, Tochigi And Fukushima Prefectures - Part 3

Places visited during Team Tagawa's and Team Matsumoto's "tag" game are a shop serving speciality ramen featuring a secret ingredient and a farmer's market which sells Ishikawa's brand-name beef. 

Team Tagawa and Team Matsumoto continue their game of “tag” while racing across Ibaraki, Tochigi and Fukushima prefectures. Both teams are now heading to the fifth checkpoint, Taiko no Bo in Fukushima. Team Tagawa is walking to the checkpoint, while Team Matsumoto is going by taxi.

Team Matsumoto spends 5,000 yen to cross the border from Tochigi to Fukushima by taxi, takes the 11.40am bus from Life Park Iriguchi to Shirakawa Station and then catches the 12pm bus to Asahicho Nichome. 

Team Tagawa reaches Taiko no Bo after walking for 9km. As the “it” team, they must wait for the “fleeing” team, Team Matsumoto. After they “tag” Team Matsumoto by taking their photo, Team Tagawa becomes the “fleeing” team and can do the mission to earn taxi money. Team Matsumoto, as the “it” team, has to wait for 15 minutes. 

Shirakawa ramen is a famous local ramen in Fukushima Prefecture. There are around 100 ramen shops in the city, one of them being Taiko no Bo. Team Tagawa’s mission is to eat a bowl of its speciality ramen and figure out its secret ingredient. The team correctly guesses truffle oil and wins 2,000 to spend on taxi rides. They now have around 2,300 yen in total.

It is now 12.25pm and both teams are informed that the sixth and final checkpoint is the Anshinkan farmer's market in Ishikawa Town. It is 20km away from Taiko no Bo. The next bus leaving for Ishikawa Station from the Nakata bus stop is at 12.50pm. Team Matsumoto, the “it” team, is freed at 12.30pm. Both teams hide from each other but Team Matsumoto manages to “tag” Team Tagawa just before the 12.50pm bus leaves. Team Tagawa now becomes the “it” team and must wait until 1.05pm to be “freed”.

Team Matsumoto, now the “fleeing” team, catches the 12.50pm bus from the Nakata bus stop to Ishikawa Station. After being freed, Team Tagawa has to wait until 2.35pm to take the bus to Ishikawa Station. 

Team Matsumoto arrives at the final checkpoint's nearest bus stop at 1.30pm. They go to the farmer's market called Anshinkan. The team members must cook a local dish featuring suiton flour, soy sauce, meat and seasonal vegetables and eat one bowl each. Team Matsumoto completes the mission in 40 minutes and wins 2,000 yen in taxi money.

The goal is now revealed to both teams - the observation lobby of Fureai Science Museum Space Park, located in front of Koriyama Station in Koriyama City. It is 28km away from Anshinkan. There is also another treasure chest at Sukagawa City Hall, halfway between the final checkpoint and the goal.

Team Tagawa takes the 2.35pm bus to Ishikawa Station from the Nakata bus stop. They arrive at 3.15pm and take the bus leaving for Sukagawa Station at 3.30pm. 

Team Matsumoto is at Ishikawa Station and catches the 3.30pm bus to Sukagawa Station. They are worried Team Tagawa will “tag” them at the station, so they decide to look for the treasure chest to win some taxi money and get ahead of Team Tagawa. Team Tagawa reaches Sukagawa Station at 4.25pm and the bus to Koriyama Station is at 5.15pm. So they make use of the time to take a taxi to Sukagawa City Hall to find the treasure chest. Both teams find a treasure chest each and this time, the two treasure chests have the same amount of 2,000 yen inside. 

Team Tagawa, the "it" team, takes a taxi back to Sukagawa Station. The other team does not have enough money to take a taxi to the goal, which is 13km away from Sukagawa City Hall. So they travel by taxi to the Moriyama Nakamachi bus stop in Koriyama City at around 4.50pm and then plan to take a direct bus from there to Koriyama Station. They use up all their remaining taxi money, alight 150m before the bus stop and must wait for the bus which goes to the goal.

Team Tagawa finally boards the Koriyama Station-bound bus at 5.15pm from Sukagawa Station. They arrive at Koriyama Station about 10 minutes late due to a traffic jam. The team rushes to the goal - the observation lobby of the Fureai Science Museum Space Park - and reaches at 6pm. They are ecstatic when they crack open the ball here with confetti inside and see the sash with “winner” written on it. 


1)    Shirakawa ramen is famous in Fukushima Prefecture
2)    Visit the Anshinkan farmer’s market which sells Ishikawa beef and fresh local vegetables

Source: CNA


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