Japan Day 10: Road Trip, Day 3

We woke up to the phone ringing and the people telling us that check out time had come and gone. Actually, Scott and Susan woke up to that, I didn’t bother answering my phone. I took a quick shower, wanting to experience the Ryokan shower once more and then we were on our way. We had to make it back to Scott and Susan’s place today because Ian had was flying home fairly early on Sunday. So we all packed back in the car and headed home.

Our original plan was to go see the castle in the morning. When we stopped at the train station yesterday they told us that the castle had closed the day before but that the grounds were still open. Somehow when we left the Ryokan we drove by the castle and even pointed it out, but Scott (who was driving) failed to stop. He later pondered why he forgot to stop but couldn’t figure it out. So in the end we didn’t get to see the castle.

We had two choices to get back to their place. We could go through this gorge which Scott and Susan had done before which they said was absolutely beautiful but really crowded or we could go up and over the mountain which Scott and Susan had not done before and would most likely be beautiful. It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, we were having freakishly good weather and my vote was to go through the gorge because it sounded fantastic. Susan has a little thing about being in cars for long periods of time and since the day was so beautiful they figured that the gorge was going to be even more crowded than normal I was outvoted and we went up over the mountain.

We ended up driving in circles for a bit in Hirosaki looking for the right roads to take but we eventaully found where we were going and headed up towards the mountains.

The road up the mountain was quite beautiful. We stopped at a large bridge and I snapped a few photos. Scott had a good time pretending to ditch us as he drove off when we got out of the car which resulted in me throwing snowballs at him. Here are my pictures from the area.

After that little stop it was time for us to keep on heading up the mountain. We came across an onsen way up on the mountain and a few really nice hotels. We were driving along and right off to the side of the road was this absolutely gorgeous natural spring. Not to mention the beautiful mountain peak in the background. We stopped for some more picture taking. It was nice that we found this little treasure because our next discovery wasn’t so pleasant as we were to shortly find out.

About 200 yards up the hill from where we stopped to take some pictures we found out that the road had been closed for the winter, the day before. This wasn’t good at all. At first we thought it meant that we would have to backtrack all the way down the hill and then go through the gorge (this made me a bit happy actually) but by scouring the maps we found an alternate way over the mountain. Along the way we saw signs for roller luge which got Scott and I really excited but it ended up being closed as well. We finally did make it over the mountain and into Aomori.

We stopped in Aomori for some lunch that was long overdue. We found ourselves a nice little ramen shop and had some real Japanese ramen. It was delicious but Scott warned us that we would most likely be needing a bathroom shortly after eating it. He was correct, we all made it home but not a minute too soon.

We were all pretty burned out from the trip and Ian had to get up early the next day so we decided to have a nice quite night at their house. Scott and Ian ran to the grocery store and got us some meat which we proceeded to grill up in Scott and Susan’s living room. The food was delicious, especially the chicken.

We just watched a little TV after that and then all went to bed. The road trip was a huge success in my eyes and I am very glad we were able to do it while I was there.

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