Arrived at the train station and we were welcomed train delay news for 2 hours. It was actually my first time to experience train delay in Japan. We were told that there was an accident that caused the delay. We don’t want to ruin our vacation so we waited patiently at the station while drinking beer to keep us warm on still a snowy Noboribetsu.
I took the time to catch up with my siblings too!
Train finally arrived and we are off to a long journey. It is time to leave Hokkaido. Rode a train for 6 hours and 38 minutes including 1 hour transfer in order to arrive at Sendai. Sendai is a city in Japan’s Tohoku Region, northeast of Tokyo on Honshu island. It was already around 7:00 PM and after we put our things in the hotel, we went out to eat. Must try in Sendai is gyutan or beef tongue. There are plenty of gyutan restaurants around Sendai and one with the best review is Rikya. The gyutan tastes extremely delicious! Very soft and very tasty. Even the soup and side dish tastes yummy too.
Walking back to our hotel, we came across a restaurant who has plenty of people at 9:00 PM. It caught our interest so we decided to check out Ootoya. This restaurant was actually part of our must-visit list last year when we took the Tokyo-Hakone-Yokohama trip but due to time constraint, we were not able to do it.
Ootoya is a Japanese food chain that offers a wide variety of Japanese teishoku (meal sets) that are healthy, cheap and authentic. You can also convert your drink in the meal set to unlimited drink bar which includes sodas, coffee and tea. The prices here are very reasonable, price range for each meal set is around 820 yen to 1,200 yen considering that they have the same menu for lunch and dinner, this place is highly recommended for value of your money. Most restaurants in Japan offers cheap menu on lunch and much fewer in the evening so if you are on a budget, Ootoya is a good dinner option.
After two dinners, went back to our hotel to recharge for the next days adventure. Stayed at Toyoko Inn and as usual i just had coffee for breakfast since i want to get an extra hour of sleep. Checked out at our hotel early and left our luggage at the concierge.
Then we went out hunting for cherry blossoms! First stop was at Tsutsujigaoka Park which is known for beautiful cherry blossoms. There are over 360 Sakura trees, including Yoshino cherry (Prunus yedoensis), double-flowered cherry trees, Higan Cherry and Ukonsaukra known for its flower’s pale golden color.
During spring, people gather and enjoy picnics under the cherry blossoms tree which is long standing Japanese tradition called Hanami.
It was such a beautiful sight! People were in a very relaxed mood and at the same time very festive. I can see a group of young and old Japanese men and women making the most of the beautiful weather and the breathtaking scenery. They were talking, eating, playing cards and mahjong and others were just there to take a nap. From a girl who came from a tropical country, i am in awe. This was my first spring experience. Another item i ticked off in my bucket list on this trip. It is amazing how i experienced snow the other day and spring this day! It was unbelievably incredible experience.
Just when i thought that it was an awesome sight, we moved on to our next stop which is 30 minutes away from Sendai. We stopped at Funaoka Station, walked a few meters to be welcomed with this sight.
Shiroishi Riverside is an eight kilometer long stretch of the Shiroishi River lined on both embankments by nearly 1200 cherry trees. With 10 degrees weather we strolled the riverside and i kept saying “wow, wow, wow” along the way.
The most famous view of the area is the “Hitome Senbonzakura”, a spot about halfway between Funaoka and Ogawara stations from where on a clear day you can see 1000 cherry trees in combination with Mount Zao in the distance.
There is a small place where there are food stalls in case you are hungry or thirsty while walking along the riverside. Got really thirsty and how cute it is to drink a cola in its limited 2017 Sakura bottle design.
It was truly breathtaking and for the first time, i did not complain about too much walking which i normally do. I did not even noticed that we walked one train station to another! Ended our walk at Ogawara Station where we rode a train back to our hotel to gather our things.It was an awesome day of exploring beautiful places with cherry blossom trees. Talked to several locals and even them who can view sakura each and every year is still in awe of its beauty how much more for tourists like me.
The most memorable souvenir that i got was these two sakura-designed hankies from Sendai Tourism. They aim to promote the city to tourists and would want everyone to spread how awesome their sakura season is. I promised them i will write a good review not because i was told to but because i am truly amazed by this wonderful place. If you want to experience a memorable sakura hunting, i am recommending Sendai. I assure you that it is worth the trip aside from the fact that there are few tourists so you can have a post-worthy photo.
I was emotional as we leave Sendai because in our short stay here, i fell in love with the place and the people and it also means that we are going to our last destination. What made me excited is that i will meet my cousin in the next city that we will explore!♥
If you are hunting for Sakura, here are the best Sakura Spots in Japan. This photo is at the JR Pass Office at Narita Airport.