Friday, June 17, 2011

Risoukyo Flower Farm


Risoukyo is a little hidden gem in Towada. We found out about this place from The Insider newspaper. It is a large Japanese style garden with a waterfall, mill and restaurant. They also have local artisans doing traditional crafts like basket weaving and pottery.





The main attraction this time were these strange vertical flowers called lupis. They come in a variety of colors.


Along with lupis flowers, a few Japanese irises and peonies were in bloom. I really enjoyed the peonies and thought this particular type was more beautiful than the ones at the Peony festival!



It costs 500 yen to enter but we got free tickets for our next trip there. This place is very lovely for a stroll on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Directions to Risoukyo: (taken from little rain drops blog)

You will need to drive about 40 minutes from Misawa through Towada and to the foothills west of Towada.

  • Leave through the POL / Falcon gate. Continue straight as the road continues through many stop lights. It bends to the west as you pass under the expressway. Continue to Towada.
    As you reach Towada, the train line will be on your left. You will pass two schools on your right, separated by a stop light.
  • At the next major stop light, take the right hand Y. You will pass Aomori Bank on the right at a stop light.
  • Continue past two more stop lights.
  • As it seems you are leaving the city, you will pass another school on the right, set back a few blocks. There will be a stop light with no buildings nearby.
  • After this stoplight, the road bends slightly to the left. At the next intersection, turn right.
  • You will begin picking up signs to the Horse Park. Continue straight. Do not turn left to the Horse Museum. You will continue straight for about a half mile. Look for a road that angles to the right. There will be a sign with an iris on it. Shortly after this turn, look for a thatched roof building. there are two turn-ins to the parking lot



Dohtonbori is an okonomiyaki restaurant in Towada. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake, but savory instead of sweet. Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “grilled”.

All tables come equipped with a grill (they have chair seating and “Japanese” style seating but there is room for your feet underneath the table so you are actually sitting up anyway).

You can choose from a variety of bowls that contain meat, vegetables, egg, cheese and a type of rice crispy looking thing.

Mix the ingredients in the bowl thoroughly and scoop out onto the grill. 


Next, flip the pancake over and grill the other side



This one looks ready!


Finally you can put your toppings on top of the pancake. First “paint” the sauce on the pancake and add mayonnaise. Then sprinkle anori (dried seaweed) and katsuobushi (smoked bonito shavings) on top. This part is cool because the bonito shrivels up on top of the okonomiyaki!

the dried bonito shriveling up

Now it is ready to eat!

This was my first time trying okonomiyaki and I thought it was great! It’s a good place to go with a few friends. Enjoy!

- From POL gate, head towards Towada City.
- At the fork, follow the road left.
- After passing the Homac/WonderGoo/Hard-Off Plaza, turn left at the next traffic light.
- Turn right on the seventh traffic light.
*The traffic light near the giant Torii Gate is #2.
- The restaurant is on the right at that corner.

Primeiro Melon Pan Shop




You’ve probably seen these delightful confections while at a convenience store or supermarket here in Japan. What is it exactly? It is called Melon Pan (or Melon Bread). Does it have melon filling? no. Does it taste like melon? No. It is called this because of the shape. If you haven’t tried melon pan yet, I recommend it. I would eat it every day if it wouldn’t make me fat!

I often pick these up at Lawson’s or even some fresh ones at Universe but nothing compares to the ones you can get at the Primeiro Melon Pan shop in Towada! (located near Aomori Bank).

It is an extremely small orange building with parking behind it. They have very large, fresh, melon pan (chocolate and plain) and a few other desserts. There are about four seats in there to sit at a bar style  table, but I recommend just ordering you melon pan and going on your way.




- From POL gate, head towards Towada City.
- At the fork, follow the road left.
- After passing the Homac/WonderGoo/Hard-Off Plaza, turn left at the next traffic light.
- Turn right on the fifth traffic light.
*The traffic light near the giant Torii Gate is #2.
- Turn left at the next light. Aomori Bank is at that corner.
- The Melon Pan shop is on the left.
*It shares a parking lot with the Dental Clinic, drive through the alleyway to park.

Primeiro’s  hours are: 10am –7pm
They are closed 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month

Towada Horse Club Festival



If you have been in Aomori for a while, you should know that if Aomori city = apples then Towada =  horses. The Towada Horse Club had a festival on June 12th. There was a lot of American influences (including American Flag decorations, one of which was upside down, we asked them to fix it and they apologized and fixed it right away).


There were English and  Western style riders, opportunities to ride horses, a motorcycle show (many Harley-Davidson bikes!), a martial arts show and lots, and lots of dancing.(Western and Japanese styles ).

Please hover your mouse over the pictures to read short descriptions.





bon dancing


For me, the Towada Horse Festival kicked off the start of Festival season in Aomori. I hope to go to many that I missed last year!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Japanese Arbor Day



Many people went out on June 4th near Lake Towada for the “Japanese Arbor Day.” Trees were planted for soil conservation. Great job everybody, I’m sure mother nature appreciates all of your hard work! Take a look!



Botan Matsuri (Peony Festival) in Nanbu Town




I was very excited to hear that there would be a peony festival near Misawa since it is my favorite flower. I miss the peonies we used to have in our backyard growing up!


The festival is located in Nanbu town (even though ITT said differently). It is held from the end of May to the beginning of June. It is 300 yen to enter and view over 8,000 peonies with over 130 different species.  This festival was much MUCH smaller than the chrysanthemum festival, but I still really enjoyed it.

At the bottom of the hill, they sell different flowers (including peonies that you can plant at home) for very reasonable prices. DSC08126


Directions to Hase Farm Botan Matsuri:

Come out from the main gate and turn right at the second stop light. Follow the road and pass 7 stop lights. You will find Misawa Train station on your left. Here you will be on Route 10. Follow Route 10 (South) and pass the first light (you will see the toll road). At the second light you will turn a slight left. At the fourth light turn right (You will see a Lawson’s).

Stay on Rt. 10 until the Towada by-pass overpass. (Route 4).

Turn right onto the on ramp and then turn right again at the T-intersection. Follow Route 4 (south). At the fork, veer right. (you will see Towada Aeon Shopping Center at the next light).

Continue on Route 4 south. Turn left onto route 224 East.

Follow 224 until the first light. Turn a SHARP RIGHT onto route 134 (South).

Follow Route 134 and turn left at first turn.

Follow this road south until a 4 way intersection and turn left.

take the first left after the intersection and go straight for the park.