We woke up our last morning in Kakunodate to find that for the first time on our trip the sun was first to rise. It was an excellent discovery, jet lag had hit us harder than usual on this trip. It was both hard and easy to get moving. Our futons were warm and comfortable and we had a view out into the countryside which we could have spent hours enjoying from bed.
Episode 12: https://youtu.be/t6WVLAv2eBE
We had a lot to look forward to today, as with most days on the trip, getting out of bed ended up not being all that difficult.
How could we stay in bed when we had a nice hot private onsen in our room? We had some time before breakfast, a wakeup soak was the perfect way to get the body moving, and we could continue enjoying the beautiful view.
Breakfast was delicious and plentiful, a theme at the Wabizakura. The food has been outstanding at this ryokan, we looked forward to every meal. The chef and his crew were masters at the intricate both in terms of presentation and taste.
We didn’t linger at breakfast too long, we had to pack and get ready for our journey to our next destination, and of course we had to squeeze in one last soak in the onsen.
This ryokan enjoys a beautiful setting out in the countryside, giving it a quiet and isolated feel. The perfect place to relax and recharge. This does offer a challenge though, public transportation does not service the immediate area around the ryokan. Not to fear though, as those who run this establishment seem to have thought of everything and they provide shuttle service into town, either to an attraction or the train station. By the time we got down to the lobby to say our goodbyes our shuttle was waiting. One last scenic drive on our way to the station.
Our train for the day was the Komachi, the same train we changed to in Morioka on our way to Kakunodate. We would retrace our steps back to Morioka, but instead of heading North we would head South down to Sendai. The whole trip took an hour and a half with no changes, although at Morioka the stop was a little longer than most, we linked up with a Hayabusa as we witnessed a few days prior.
Sendai station is a big one as you would expect for a big city. Many platforms and a lot of shopping and eating available, all without actually venturing out into the city itself. When you do leave the station on the main floor you’re exited out onto a very large raised pedestrian walkway. Walkway is a bad description actually, it’s more like a second story of a mall, minus the mall, all open to the outside. It’s there to efficiently move people from the downtown of Sendai into the station allowing them to avoid a major road and large bus terminal below.
Once we navigated the walkway and were back down on ground level we had a quick 15 minute walk to our hotel. We were staying at The Westin Sendai which was situated in a large glass tower. Our room on the 36th floor had unbelievable views out over the sprawling city of Sendai. It’s a beautiful hotel, clean, modern and well appointed. Our temporary home for the next 4 nights.
It was late afternoon by the time we were in our room, and the big bed was calling to us. We fought it though, we had a big city to explore, and despite needing a nap we ventured out.
We decided a leisurely stroll through the large series of shopping arcades was in order. Nothing too strenuous but something on our list to visit and the perfect activity considering we were feeling a little weary.
It was a great afternoon exploring all the shops. Everything you could possibly need could be found in the arcades. Including food, and by the end of our stroll we were ready for dinner. The hotel had provided us with a tourist magazine which along with a lot of great information about the attractions in Sendai, highlighted a bunch of restaurants. And one spoke to us, not only was it in the arcades near the end of our walk, but it was a tendon restaurant. Tendon is short for tempura donburi, tempura served on rice, one of my favourite meals. On top of that, we both still had tempura cravings after missing out on what looked like fantastic tempura in Hakodate.
The place, Tempura Tendon Tenya (location down below), was fantastic. Quick service, reasonable prices but most important of all, it was delicious, incredibly delicious. Highly recommend this place. It’s a chain, you should be able to find locations elsewhere if you do not venture to Sendai.
It was late evening by now, and we were full and extra sleepy. We headed back to the hotel for an early night, we had big plans for our first full day in Sendai.
There were several locations featured in this episode
- Kakunodate Sanso Wabizakura (Ryokan) – An amazing modern ryokan which maintains a traditional feel. The food was top notch, prepared by a 2 Michelin star chef.
- Kakunodate Train Station – A quiet little station with an open platform allowing for views out to the mountains.
- Sendai Train Station – The kind of station you would expect to find in a big city, lots of platforms and lots of shops and restaurants to explore.
- The Westin Sendai – Our home for the next 4 nights. The views out over Sendai from our room on the 36th floor were astonishing.
- Daiso ¥100 Shop – A staple, and a great place to visit if you need any sort of items while visiting Japan. Unbelievable quality for ridiculously affordable prices.
- Mitaki-san Fudo-in (Temple) – Amazing to find such a beautiful temple tucked away in and among the shops in the arcades. Slightly dazed from the lack of sleep I completely missed the torii gate which gave it away, and happened into the alley thinking I really stumbled onto a hidden treasure. 🙂
- Tempura Tendon Tenya – A place we found in the tourist magazine our hotel gave us at checkin. It was a delicious meal and finally squashed the cravings we had for tempura since being denied back in Hakodate.
Thanks for watching/reading!