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Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

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Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

Hi

We're interested in traveling to Yamadera from Sendai and have a few lingering questions about how much time to allot for this daytrip.

We have a JR east pass and I believe we can travel directly from Sendai to Yamagata. I think the trip is an hour. How often does this run?

We wanna get there as early as possible because we got to get back to Sendai sometime in the late afternoon. Oh, and Yamadera- how strenuous is the hike up? How much time should we allot?

Lastly, I am interested in purchasing a tetsubin cast iron teapot( I understand it is made in Yamagata and another region)- where are the best places to get them in Yamagata? Are there workshops there?

And if it is not too much to ask: recommended places to eat near the Yamagata station, Yamadera or near somewhere where I can purchase the teapot?

Thanks!

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Sendai
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Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
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1. Re: Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

Hi brightJ,

>>> We have a JR east pass and I believe we can travel directly from Sendai to Yamagata. I think the trip is an hour. How often does this run? <<<

I think it takes about 1hr to travel directly from Sendai Station to “Yamadera” Station by JR Senzan Line. Trains would leave from Sendai Station at 8:14am, 8:48am, 9:35am, etc., but the schedule can be changed. Please find updated train schedules at

www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi

>>> Oh, and Yamadera- how strenuous is the hike up? How much time should we allot? <<<

You can take a look at Yamadera’s map at

…yamagata.jp/djst/ymdr/eng.html

I’ve never been to Yamadera, but would spend at least 3-4hrs there if I ever visit there.

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2. Re: Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

 Hi,

I'm not sure if this helps, but I found a Japanese website:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

敬典工房 正寿堂 山正

  (ショールーム)

〒990-0051

山形市銅町2丁目23番4号

TEL / 023-623-0371

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Name: Takanori Kobo Shojudo(or Seijudo) Yamamasho

(show room)

Note: there's a possibility that I may not get the name right,

since kanji letters are often read in several ways.

Address: 2-23-4 Do-machi, Yamagata-shi

According to a map I have, Do-machi is located in the northeast of JR Yamagata-kitamachi Station, which is only one stop away from JR Yamagata Station.

If you are interested and feel like going, take a cab at JR Yamagata-kitamachi. It won't be that long to get to the place. I'm not sure, but maybe costs within Y1000. If you do that at JR Yamagata, within Y2000 perhaps.

Show the address above to a cab driver and he will probably take you right away.

Incidentally, the price I found in their site ranges between somewhere around Y5000 to about Y18000.

For farther information, see:

Head Branch

TEL/023-643-6511

FAX/023-643-6513

E-Mail yamashou@chagama.co.jp

URL http://www.chagama.co.jp/

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3. Re: Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

<Name: Takanori Kobo Shojudo(or Seijudo) Yamamasho>

Oops, "Takanori Kobo Shojudo(or Seijudo) Yamasho" is the correct name. Sorry for that.

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4. Re: Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

Thanks Edokko and Shot- You guys are awesome. Keep those responses coming! It's my first time in Tohoku region and 3rd visit to Japan. In '99 I went from Tokyo to Fukuoka and stopped in 8 cities in between. I have some more Tohoku questions to ask once I get all my thoughts together...

I will ask around once we get to Yamagata as to how to get to the showroom. I know those tetsubins don't come cheap or light. But I am set on getting one.

About the hike to Yamadera: we will be getting our practice at the Great Wall( Simatai section) 2 wks earlier. Hopefully, it will not be any worse than that section of the GW!

brightJ

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5. Re: Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

Hi,

Many thanks to the knowledgeable folks on this forum for responding to some of my more unconventional and specific questions about Yamadera and Beijing that fellow travelers from other travel forums can not answer. We returned from our 3 wk long trip to China and Japan this past Sunday.

Here's an update on our trip to Yamadera, Tohoku region and purchase of tetsubin teapot:

We spend 4 amazing days in the Tohoku region( two days with locals from the Fukushima area and two days exploring Matsushima and Yamadera on our own). It is too bad our time there is so short and we had to return to Tokyo for a j-pop concert. Tohoku is such a beautiful region with such warm and friendly people. People were so patient with my very rusty preschool level conversational Japanese( which I have not practiced since the last time I was in Japan 7 yrs ago )! I will definately return!

Oh yes, back to the trip report. My friend and her husband picked up us from Fukushima station on Saturday morning and drove us to Ouchijyuku, a traditional Edo period Japanese hamlet with houses with thick thatched roofs. Ouchiyuku was a bit touristy on the weekend...but charming nevertheless. For lunch, we had the locally made buckwheat soba with a fresh leek which our friends told us to use to eat the soba with instead of chopsticks. We also tasted the charred stream fish flavored with salt, another local delicacy.

Afterwards, they took us to Aizu Wakamatsu's Tsuruga-jo ( crane castle). It was a pretty castle with a good view of the town and surrounding valley from the 5th floor.

The best part of the day was the end when we checked into a traditional Japanese ryokan in the Fukushima mountainside to enjoy Japanese onsen( spa) bath and elaborate onsen dinner. I am not sure whether to call that an onsen dinner or ryokan dinner. We spend some time exploring the different indoor and outdoor baths in the ryokan. My friend spent 2 plus hrs after the amazing dinner exploring all of the baths there that he swore he washed away his 2 wks old tan!! Actually I think he just washed away all of his grime from the trip. Then next morning, we spent one last time taking in the onsen experience. I went to the outdoor bath to see the view of the surrounding mountainside and stream after breakfast.

We were then driven to Goshikinuma, known as the 5 colored pools. The area is beautiful and we enjoyed our 1 1/2 hr hike to see every single pool there. We had a late sushi lunch in Fukushima City and then checked into our hotel by the JR station. We were then taken around the downtown to shop for yukata and sake and then grocery shop for the BBQ( meat, veggies, beer, sake). The sake in this region is fantastic but we couldn't find the special momo( peach) sake that was served with our dinner at the ryokan. We ate a BBQ dinner at our friends' condo and said our goodbyes.

The next morning, we left Fukushima by 9am for Sendai where we stayed for 2 nights before heading back to Tokyo. Sendai was in the middle of Tanabata Festival and all of the main streets by the JR station were nicely decorated. There were lots of tourists all over town. We checked into our hotel and took the JR to Matsushima right away. We spent almost 7 hrs exploring Matsushima. We spent some time exploring Zuiganji, a beautiful and interesting zen temple. Ate some local seafood, found and bought our tetsubin teapots and kokeshi dolls( we bought from a local dollmaker) and then spent almost 3 hrs on the smaller island. We felt an instant draw to this island. Something I just cannot describe. (I felt the same way about Yamadera and even though we finished our hike and exploration of temple grounds by 11:30am, we stayed an additional hour there sitting in silence.)

We went to Godaido and missed the once in 33 yr opening of the interior of the temple by just a week. We were a week early...

Lastly we went to the bigger island in Matsushima...by then all of the day tourists were gone and we had almost the whole island to explore in peace. We saw the beautiful sun set over the islands of Matsushima...an unforgetable experience!

The next morning, we left for Yamadera from Sendai early. We got there a little after 9am. There were alot of Japanese tourists coming in by the busloads. It was a slightly crowded climb up but once we were up on the temple grounds, the crowds thin out because there were several directions to go once you're up there. Yes, it was a strenuous hike and we sweated up a storm. But I think it was alittle easier than climbing the Great Wall because at least the steps were even! And I stopped every now and then to catch my breath. Also, by the time we got to Yamadera, I've had my practice climbing the Great Wall( 4 hrs) and then the hilly tomb of the first emperor of China in Xian. Yamadera is awesome. We stayed an additional hour just sitting in silence. Thoughts and reflections of this trip to China and Japan went through my mind. Basho's journey in Tohoku and his poems which I vaguely remembered from university crossed my mind. Maybe I will write a haiku while looking through the 970 photos from this trip...

We stopped by the Basho museum after Yamadera and though I can read some kanji ( but not enough), the Japanese explanations were too much for me to handle. My friend who does not speak a word of Japanese got even less from it. He does know alot more about Buddhism than I do though which had been such a blessing during the many visits to temples in China and Japan.

I thought of going to Yamagata to visit that tetsubin factory/shop but we ran out of time. We wanted to go back to Sendai in time to catch the Tanabata parade- a finale to festival. Besides, we also ran out of space in our one small rolling suitcase. We purchased 3 bottles of sake between the two of us...

The end.

Happy trails,

brightJ

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6. Re: Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

Great trip report, and it is in fact perfect timing for me as I'm heading that way this weekend with my parents. I also really like the Tohoku region of Japan, its always feels much less crowded than Kansai. I am so happy to read the positive things you've said about Matsushima, most of the Japanese people I have spoken to lately when I was planning my trip have not been so enthusiastic about it. Surprising since it's one of Japan's 3 most scenic spots. I'm not sure I'm going to have time to go to Yamadera, it sounds really interesting from what you say and what I have read, but I have planned to visit Geibikei gorge on Saturday morning and train times appear to be prohibiting doing both, or at least will turn it into a mad succession of train changes which wouldn't appeal to my parents.

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7. Re: Yamadera( Yamagata) and tetsubin questions

Hi,

I have never read such a great report as made on the Tohoku area thus far. I really appreciate your time and effort, brightJ. Yes, you make us feel we must visit Matsushima some day. I went once to Five Colored Ponds and Aizu Wakamatsu Castle, but I never made it to Matsushima. And, as you rightly pointed it out, Matsusima is the indispensable place to do the sights of in this country along with Miyajima and Amano-hashidate.

I have just learned this from a website: in 1643 Shunsai Hayashi, a Confucian, traveled around the country and gave a detailed account of Matsushima, which reportedly helped establish The Three Big Scenic Spots in Japan; in 1689 Basho Matsuo, awed by the beauty, composed a hike quite unlike his other masterpieces,

“Matsushima-ya, Aw Matsushima-ya, Matsushimaya.”

For those interested in Matsushima, let me paste this:

http://images.search.yahoo.co.jp/bin/query?p=%C0%E7%C2%E6+%BE%BE%C5%E7&n=5&b=2&c=image&rh=20&d=1&to=4

Thank you again, brightJ, your trip report did arouse the interest I have toward the Tohoku area.

P.S.

I may perhaps be wrong, but the peach sake you mentioned is Hana Momo Junmai Ginjo(=花桃 純米吟醸), which product is well-known in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture.

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