World Heritage Motsuji to Gembikei Valley

World Heritage site Chusonji to Geibikei

Around Ichinoseki Station and the castle town

Whole day

For the main sites (under construction)

World Heritage site Motsuji
to Gembikei Valley

 

Experience pristine beauty, quirky local foods and history.

Half day 1
 

The estimated times are for car travel, although this course is possible to do by bus. 

9am

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SPOT 1: Motsuji         (estimated time to look around: 1hr)

The Pure Land Garden is based on Japan's oldest garden manual. 
Motsuji, during the time where the Fujiwara clan were in power, had an incredibly magnificent temple which was decorated in jewels, gold and silver as well as 40 temples and 500 monk residences but was destroyed by fire in 1226. None of the original structures of Motsuji remain but remnants of foundations, halls and corridors can still be seen. The tranquil Oizumigaike Pond is at the center and as you walk around the circumference, you will notice signs indicating the structures that once were.

 

Address: 平泉町平泉大沢58

Phone: 0191-46-2331

Hours: 8:30~17:00(From Nov 5th to Apr 3rd  until 16:30)

Further info: http://www.motsuji.or.jp/en/

15min drive

10:15am

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SPOT 2: Genbikei            (estimated time to look around: 25mins)

Sculptured by nature, admired by Date Masamune. 
A gorge formed by the rocks deposited by eruptions of Mt. Kurikoma over the course of tens of thousands of years into a stream of water. The dynamic landscape extends for about 2 km where you can see unique rock formations and waterfalls. The scenery that changes every season is complemented by the constant flow of emerald green water.

 

Address: 一関市厳美町字滝の上地内

walk

SPOT 3: Dango          (estimated time to look around: 30mins)

Experience the famous 'flying dango'.

The main attraction besides the sparkling emerald green waters of Genbikei is the 'flying' dango (kakkou dango) experience.
To order flying dango: 1) put money into the basket 2) knock on the wooden board 3) watch as your order gets hoisted up 4) wait for your order to 'fly' towards you.

Here are some dango shops nearby for those who want to explore further:


Kakkoya 郭公屋, open: 9am-4pm (closed between December to March)
Address: 一関市厳美町字滝の上211   Ph: 0191-29-2031

Itsukushi Dango いつくしだんご館, Open: 9:15am~4:15pm (April to Nov),
                                                                     9:30am-4pm (Dec-Mar - closed Wed)
Address: 一関市厳美町鴻ノ巣132    Ph: 0191-29-2033

 

Takimi Dango 滝見だんご, open: 9am-5pm (closed Wednesdays during Jan and Feb)

Address: 一関市厳美町字滝の上291-2

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walk

10:40am

11:10am

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SPOT 4: Sahara Glass Park            (estimated time to look around: 30-45mins)


A glass theme park with over 100,000 glass products collected from around the world. There're a wide range of highly artistic works as well as everyday products. Bring some life into glass at the studio by blowing it to create your own original souvenir (the final product can be mailed to you if you have an address in Japan!).

Address: 一関市厳美町字滝の上263-1

Phone: 0191-29-2288

Hours: 9:00am ~ 6pm(Dec-Mar 5pm)

walk 7mins

12pm

12pm

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SPOT 5: Roadside Station Genbikei        (estimated time to look around: 60mins)

 

Enjoy Ichinoseki's food culture for lunch~
The food culture that represents Ichinoseki is 'mochi' aka rice cake. There are various mochi menus such as "Japanese mochi set" where you can try 8 kinds of mochi or "Chikara-mochi Ramen" at "Restaurant Pettan-kun". Fresh produce grown by local farmers and confectioneries are available at the roadside station.

Address: 一関市厳美町字沖野々220-1

Phone: 0191-29-2000

Hours: 9am ~ 6pm (Apr-Oct), 9am ~ 5pm  (Nov-Mar)

walk

1pm

1pm

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SPOT 4: Ichinoseki Museum            (estimated time to look around: 60mins)

The origins of the Japanese sword
A facility that introduces the history and culture of Ichinoseki. One of the main exhibitions is on one of Japan's oldest swordsmiths, the Mokusa Swordsmiths, with displays of precious Mokusa swords that were used during the Kamakura period. (English pamphlets are available - displays are in Japanese)

Address: 一関市厳美町字沖野々215

Phone:  0191-29-3180

Hours: 9:am ~ 5pm(closed on Mondays)
English brochure: https://www.city.ichinoseki.iwate.jp/museum/imagem/file/1441348852_01.pdf

Hope you had a great trip!

 

Half day 2
Work

World Heritage site Chusonji to Geibikei

Glide through timeless landscapes and view historical relics for an unforgettable experience

Estimated times for this course are for car travel, although it's easily possible with public transport too (it will just take a little more planning and time).
Ichinoseki Station to Hiraizumi Station (7mins on the Tohoku Honsen train ), Hiraizumi to Chusonji is about a 20min walk or a short bus ride. To catch the train to Geibikei you will need to pop back to Ichinoseki Station. 
Ichinoseki Station to Geibikei (33mins on the Ofunatosen train).
Buses are also available. Head to the Ichinoseki Tourist information center for information.

9am

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SPOT 1: Chusonji           (estimated time to look around: 90min)

 

Chusonji is a temple that was founded in 850AD by priest Jikaku Diashi and was registered as a UNESCO world heritage in 2011. 

The most impressive remaining attraction of Chusonji is the golden hall - Konjikido (a designated national treasure) which is intricately crafted utilizing gold leaves, mother of pearl, lacquerwork, paintings and wood/metal. It is truly a marvel that gives you a sense of what would have been in Hiraizumi's golden days.

Address: 平泉町平泉字衣関202

Phone: 0191-46-2211

Hours: 8:30~17:00(3/1〜11/3)、8:30~16:30(11/4〜end of Feb)
Admission: 800 yen (to enter Konjikido and Treasure Hall)

Further info: http://www.chusonji.or.jp/en/

30 min drive

11am

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SPOT 2: Geibikei           (estimated time to look around: 90min)

Relax and enjoy a 90min boat-trip down and up the Sasetsu River through towering rock formations.

Geibikei is regarded as one of Japan's top gorges as well as having a spot in the '100 landscapes of Japan' and is beautiful anytime of year with the landscape transforming each season. Part-way through the boat-trip, there is a stop off point of around 20 mins before heading back. Here, you can have a walk around the gorge and participate in a fortune stone throwing challenge. On the way back, you will be treated to a beautiful song performed by the boatman/woman.

Address: 一関市東山町長坂字町467

Phone: 0191-47-2341

Hours: 8:30am~4:30pm(Apr 1st〜Aug 31st)、8:30am~4:00pm(Sept 1st〜Nov 10th)、8:30am~3:30pm(Nov 11th〜20th)、9:30am~3:00pm(Nov 21st〜Mar 20th)、9:30am~3:30pm(Mar 21st〜31st)
Admission: Adults 1,800 yen, Students 1,200 yen, Infants 200 yen

Further info: http://www.geibikei.co.jp/en/index.html

walk

12:30pm

SPOT 3: Geibi Resthouse      (estimated time to look around: 60min)

 

Located a few minutes up from the boat pier is lunch. The freshly-made, 100% buckwheat (soba) noodles are popular. 'Geibi Soba' is served with seaweed, wild vegetables, raw sashimi and raw egg - a popular dish that has been loved for over 20 years.
There's also the grilled freshwater trout and Ichinoseki's specialty “mochi” on the menu.

Address: 岩手県一関市東山町長坂町376

Phone: 0191-46-2211

Hours: 

Further info: http://www.geibikei.co.jp/en/souvenir/index.html

walk 2min

1:30pm

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SPOT 4: Tozan Washi - traditional Japanese paper   (estimated time to look around: 30min)


"Tozan Washi" is known as one of the cultural heritages of Oshu Fujiwara. Traditional techniques have been passed down for over 800 years to date. It takes about 15 to 30 minutes to pour raw materials into wooden crates, color them, and add patterns. It's an experience that both children and adults can enjoy. If you have an address in Japan, you can get your finished product mailed to you.

Address: 岩手県一関市東山町長坂町390

Phone: 0191-47-2424

Hours: 9am~5pm(Apr〜Nov)、10am~3pm(Dec〜Mar)

Further info: http://www.echna.ne.jp/~nobuhiko/index.html

Hope you had a great trip!

Short course 3
Work

Around Ichinoseki Station and the castle town 

A charming introduction to the city and its food culture - plus a quaint little gem to jazz things up

 

10:15am

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SPOT 1: Tsuriyama Park   (estimated time to look around: 50min)

 

Tsuriyama Park is located on a small hill 90 meters above sea level. It's a popular park where you can relax and indulge in nature. The view from the top overlooks the Iwai River and the city surrounding. The stone steps leading up to to the gazebo is famous for cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, and the Japanese garden is a known for its azaleas.

 
Address: 〒021-0874 岩手県一関市字釣山

walk 9min

11:15am

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SPOT 2: The former Numata Family Samurai Residence  


The house of the Numata family who worked for the Ichinoseki feudal clan in the late Edo period. The building is considered to be from the early to mid 18th century and has a history of about 300 years. The layout of the kitchen and seating area, the size of the earthen floor, the format of having three entrances are valuable in the way they show the process of transitioning to a samurai residence from a farmer's residence.

Address: 一関市田村町2-18

Phone: 0191-21-8188

Hours: 9:00~16:00(Apr~Oct 9am-4pm) 10:00~15:00(Nov~Mar)
Closed on Mondays, public holidays

walk 4min

11:45am

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SPOT 3: Sekinoichi Brewery  

Sekinoichi is the prime place to experience some of the best brewed sake and beer that Iwate has to offer. The white-walled storehouse that incorporates Western architecture with ancient Japanese architecture is designated as a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property. At the Kuramoto Restaurant, you can enjoy traditional and contemporary local cuisine paired with Sekinoichi's esteemed sake and beers.

Address: 一関市田村町5-42

Phone: 0191-21-1144

Hours: 9:00~17:00 closed on Tuesday and some public holidays
 

walk 4min

1:30pm

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SPOT 4: Jazz Spot Basie 
 

Have the finest sounds resonate throughout your whole body.
Black leather sofas, over 25t of records and JBL speakers in dimly lit cafe. It's a sacred place of Jazz where fans from all over the country come to enjoy. It's so well known that both Count Basie and the president of JBL visited. It's a wonderful place to chill and rest your feet - coffee and alcohol are also served (be sure to treat the recorded music as if they are live performances - meaning you must stay quiet). Live performances are also held here occasionally.

Address: 一関市地主町7-17

Phone: 0191-23-7331

Hours: 15:00~ closed on Wednesday

Supplementary ideas

- Kyoya Dye House and Urashima Park
Address: 一〒021-0884 岩手県一関市大手町7

- Shoeidoh: A Japanese confectionery shop and cafe

Address: 〒021-0893 岩手県一関市地主町3−36 

Hope you had a great trip!