Travelling from Fukushima to Akita by local bus (Part 2)

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Japan Hour - Winter in Japan
Travelling from Fukushima to Akita by local bus

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Japan Hour (Synopsis Only):

Travelling from Fukushima to Akita by local bus (Part 2)

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Our local bus journey through Tohoku - from Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima to Yurihonjyo, Akita - in winter continues.

On the second day, we want to go to Sendai from Shiroishi Station in Miyagi Prefecture. After asking the locals, we are told to go to the next town, Ogawara, and then head west towards Murata and Kawasaki. But first, we take a 10-minute bus ride to Shiroishi Zaou Station, to check if there is a bus bound for Ogawara. To our dismay, there is no bus going to Ogawara from here and we are advised to go to the Zaoucho ward office and transfer buses. So we return to Shiroishi Station on foot and decide to take the first bus to Zaoucho the next morning. We check into a hotel in Shiroishi and call it a night.

On the third day, from Shiroishi Station, we take the 7.45am bus to the Zaoucho ward office. We arrive at 8.20am but have missed the 8.05am bus going to our next destination Murata. So we catch the bus departing at 10.10am and arrive at Murata Office in half an hour. We plan to go to Sendai via Kawasaki from here but have to wait nearly three hours for the bus. So we decide to make use of the time to go to Taniyama Onsen, the only hotel in Murata-machi with a hot spring. After relaxing in the hot spring, we return to Murata. We then find out there is in fact a direct bus to Sendai from here, but it leaves at 4.15pm, which means we have to wait even more.

Another alternative is to go to Sendai by a bus belonging to another transport company called Takeya Kotsu. Its bus bound for Sendai leaves earlier at 2.40pm. Naturally, we pick this option. So from the bus stop is in front of the ward office, we board the Takeya Kotsu bus heading towards Sendai Station. We arrive in Sendai in about 1.5 hours and want to make our way to Shinjo in Yamagata Prefecture next. So we hop on the bus bound for Shinjo at 4.35pm. It takes us over two hours to get to Shinjo. There is no bus from here which goes across the prefectural border so we have to go to Sakata the next day. The bus goes up to Ogawacho, after which we have to walk to Furukuchi.

On the fourth and last day of this local bus trip, we board the first bus to Ogawacho, which leaves Shinjo Station at 8.35am. The bus ride takes 20 minutes and later we walk for 9km along Mogamigawa to Furukuchi. After walking in the snow for two hours, we reach Furukuchi Station and then board the 11.35am bus to Kusanagi Onsen, which is 15 minutes away. We however have to walk another 4km to our next stop Kiyokawa. We find a bus stop here but realise there is no bus heading to Shounai on weekends. We are told to go to Amarume instead as there is a bus bound for Sakata from there. But the bus to Amarume only departs at 3.20pm, which means we have to wait for two hours. As we have to reach our goal Yurihonjyo by 7pm, we change our plans and walk 3km to Karikawa Station instead.

From the station, we wait for an hour before catching the 3.30pm bus to Amarume Station. We hope to find a connecting bus to Sakata from here and then take a direct bus to our goal of Yurihonjyo. It takes us half an hour to get to Amarume. Unfortunately, as it is a Saturday, the last bus to Sakata has left at 1.30pm. We try our best to find a way to get to Sakata but fail to do so. With a heavy heart, we have to end our four-day bus adventure at Amarume and have thus failed in our mission to reach Yurihonjyo in Akita.

Tips:

1) Some buses don’t operate on weekends or end their run earlier
2) Explore the various routes to your next destination, even if it means taking a bus belonging to another transport company

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