Galaxyrailway.com news: The Iwate Galaxy Railway Line runs through the Iwate, Aomori, and Tohoku regions. Our next train journey will take us along this line. Our two-day journey begins in the Morioka City of Iwate Prefecture. This is where the local line runs from Morioka Station. Kintaichi-Onsen Station is the end of the railway line. It stretches 17 stations across a distance totaling 78.4km. This line runs alongside the Iwate-Numakunai, and Ninohe stations. These are the transit stops for the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train.
The Iwate Galaxy Railway Line was part of the JR Railway’s Tohoku Line. The railway was reborn as a third-sector railroad in 2002 when the Tohoku Shinkansen route was extended from Hachinohe to Hachinohe. Named after Kenji Miyazawa’s most famous novel, “Night on the Galactic Railroad,” the railway was named.
We take the train from Morioka Station to Aoyama. A passenger suggested we visit a former military equestrian training facility built in 1921. We walk about 10 minutes from Aoyama Station to the Morioka Fueai Oibaba Plaza, a beautiful, historic brick building. The Third Brigade Cavalry used it as an indoor riding area for horses when the weather was poor. Five years ago, the Morioka Fureai Ozabaa Plaza was transformed into a multipurpose facility that can be used for social events and sports training.
The uniqueness of the building is also because trusses instead of vertical poles support the ceiling. They were built over 100 years ago. The ceiling supported by a truss structure was an engineering innovation developed in Europe in the 19th century.
We return to Aoyama Station, then travel to Kuriyagawa. Yamato, a local restaurant, recommended that we have lunch. The restaurant is located just a short walk from the station. We ordered the grilled ribs, skirt steak, and noodles with beef bone broth.
We then take the 1.20 pm train to Shibutami Station. It takes us 10 minutes. The Old Shibutami Village, located around Shibutami Station, is famous as the home of 19th-century poet Takuboku Ishikawa. Many places have been connected to him. These include Jokoji Temple, where he was born, and Mount Iwate, as well as the Kitakamigawa River, which were his themes in poetry. The Takuboku Memorial Hall houses his original works. You can see, among other treasures, the pages of his famous “A Handful of Sand” book.
We decided to forgo the above and go to a cafe known for its pizzas and coffee. Villa Tamayama has been a popular local cafe for over 20 years. We enjoy the cappuccino made with handpicked coffee and the authentic Milano cheese pizza baked in an oven.
Asking the cafe staff asked for recommendations, they told us about Takuboku Park (also known as Shibutami Park). It’s a short 25-minute walk from the cafe. This monument is the first to be engraved with a Takuboku poem. You can also find his other memorial poetry monuments in Tokyo or Hokkaido.
We return to Shibutami Station, where we catch the 4.25 pm train from Iwate-Numakunai Station. Near the station, we stop by Fugate, a meat shop. It was established in 1965 and sold Iwate Tankakuwagyu beef and Iwate Gyu beef. Iwate-gyu beef is made from Japanese Black cows. Its fine marbling distinguishes it. Iwate Tankakuwagyu beef is Iwate’s only brand name beef. It has a long history of more than a century.
We ask Fugane’s proprietor to recommend a hotel. Lucky for us, he’s on his way to Yutoland Himekami for some meat delivery, so he offers to take us to the hotel. The hotel was opened in 1998. Its rooms offer a beautiful view of Mount Iwate. We are served steamed Iwate Tankakuwagyu beef, rainbow trout sashimi, and ostrich-fern tempura as dinner.
1) Morioka’s specialties include cold noodles
2) Poetry lovers should visit Shibutami to see Takuboku Ishikawa’s birthplace.
Morioka Fureai Oibaba Plaza
2-6-8 Aoyama. Morioka. Iwate
2 -1-12 Mitake, Morioka-Shi, Iwate
Funatsuna44-16, Shimoda, Morioka, Iwate
5-5 Tsuruzuka, Shibutami, Tamayama, Morioka, Iwate
Oide 893-11, Shimoda, Morioka, Iwate
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