Mogami to Ichinoseki
Distance: 50 miles
Total Distance: 1312 miles
Photo Album

IMG_0889 Perhaps it was the cooler mountain temperatures, or fatigue from a long day of riding, but for whatever reason we both woke up in our roadside camp in Mogami feeling refreshed and ready for another day of riding. We got on the road around 8 and enjoyed a couple hours of very pretty riding through the pine forests and mountains surrounding Nokuraonsen. By late morning we had descended out of the mountains and were starting to get into a more urban setting. Fortunately, we had picked out a route that involved more climbing but took us away from the main roads and went in a more direct line to Ichinoseki and Hiraizumi.

Although we had some tough climbs along the way, we both really enjoyed this part of the ride–lots of twisting ascents and descents through dense forests and bamboo groves, often without seeing a car for 20 or 30 minutes at a time. In many ways it reminded us of the first week of our trip through the mountains between Hagi and Tsuwano, and we enjoyed feeling a little more isolated again.

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Another tunnel through the mountains

Eventually, this route also changed into more mundane urban riding as we dropped down into the area north of Sendai. At this point, we merged onto a major north-south highway (Route 4), and followed this for quite while until we reached the town of Ichinoseki, just a few kilometers south of Hiraizumi. We tried calling ahead to find a place to stay in Hiraizumi, but most places were either full or too expensive. At this point, we were hot and tired and ready for a shower and a day to rest up, so we went to the Ichinoseki station and found a place there instead.

After unpacking and cleaning up we went out on the town, determined to eat at a sushi restaurant! It took a little searching since most places are closed on Sunday evenings, but we eventually found a little sushi bar just a few blocks away. We had a great meal there, prepared by an extremely tiny sushi chef in his mid 80’s who could barely see through his inch-thick glasses but still managed to put together a delicious assortment of nigiri for us. He was also very patient in explaining what each one was, made sure we took an informative brochure with us when we finally left.

Satisfied now that we had our first “real” sushi meal, we went back to our hotel and went to bed. We were both really looking forward to doing some sightseeing in Hiraizumi and resting up as much as possible before heading north through the Tohoku region.