Road Trip on Sanriku Railroad in Iwate (Part 2)

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Road Trip on Sanriku Railroad in Iwate

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Road Trip on Sanriku Railroad in Iwate (Part 2)

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This week, we visit more tourist sites as part of our two-day trip along the Sanriku Railway Kita-Rias Line in Iwate Prefecture. This local line has 16 stations and covers a total distance of 71km. We end the first day at Tanohata Station and spend the night at Hotel Ragasou. On the second day, we head by train to Iwaizumi Omoto Station. Once we arrive at the station, we look up the train schedule. We have until 11.40am to catch the next train. So we visit the Omoto Disaster Defence Centre first. This building serves as a disaster prevention facility - it functions as an emergency shelter and even has clinics and a library.

We speak to some residents who tell us to visit Ryusendo, one of the biggest limestone caves in Japan. It is 30 minutes away by bus. As we have time till the 10am bus, the locals recommend we go to Kumanohana. This is where the fossil of the Moshiryu dinosaur was discovered for the first time in Japan by a geologist visiting the Moshi area in 1978. After this discovery, the excavation of dinosaur fossils took place all over Japan.

We next go to the Kumanohana viewing platform. It is one of the best viewing points in the Sanriku area. After this, we head by bus to Ryusendo. The temperature in the cave is about 10 degrees throughout the year and the total length of the limestone cave is said to be over 5,000m. Ryusendo has several underground lakes and we visit Underground Lake 3, which is 98m deep and deep blue in colour.

We take the bus back to Iwaizumi Omoto Station and head by train to Taro Station, two stops away. We reach Taro after 15 minutes at around noon. Our next train departs at 1.30pm so we have lots of time to explore the area. There are several stores near the station and we drop by a photo studio to ask which restaurant is worth going to for lunch. We are told to try out a soba restaurant called Hanaya Sobatarou, which used to be a hotel. We order the pork cutlet set and zaru soba. The restaurant owners grow the soba in Taro themselves. They wanted to lift the spirits of the locals with the white flowers of the soba plant after the devastating tsunami of 2011. So they started to sow soba seeds with their friends and now harvest and sort the soba by hand. The zaru soba dish features Juwari soba, made with buckwheat flour.

We return to Taro Station and ride on the train to Ichinowatari, which is two stations away. It is located in the middle of the mountains. We reach the station at 1.45pm and the next train only leaves at 3.35pm. We walk towards the residential area to ask the locals about tourist sites. One of them recommends we go to Onatsube beach. Situated between the cliffs of Sanriku, it is popular among swimmers. It takes us 45 minutes to reach the beach on foot.

After seeing the beautiful beach, we take the train to the goal of this trip, Miyako. It is the terminal station of the Sanriku Railway Kita-Rias Line. During this two-day trip, we have visited 10 recommended tourist spots.


Tips:

1) The Kumanohana viewing platform is said to be one of the best scenic spots in the Sanriku area
2) A popular tourist site in Iwaizumi is the Ryusendo limestone cave and its beautiful underground lakes

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