Lake Tazawa, 2006

The time we spent at Lake Tazawa ‘田沢湖’ was one of the days I remember most clearly of all the days I spent in Japan. Absolutely one of the places I would recommend to visit. The sparkling blue waters were so clear, and the colours would vary in hue with the fluctuations of sunlight and cloud cover. Purple mountains in the background accented the periwinkle lake. Such a sweet, serene image. Pictures don’t do the lake justice–at least mine don’t.

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Ohmygosh don’t even get me started on our meal. Even my mom reminisces about it from time to time. It certainly wasn’t anything extravagant by any means. Merely a simple but incredibly well-done meal. The restaurant location was impeccable. We had a full view of the lake through glass walls. It was perhaps the only one by the lake, actually. Quaint and very clean, like pretty much everything in Japan is. Our meal began as it always did: with a small garden salad. I cannot stress how delicious those salads are. For weeks in college where I eat salad every day, it can get to be pretty unbearable. But in Japan it’s a true pleasure every time. Not since then has the difference between eating actual fresh produce and supermarket “fresh” produce been more apparent. The best part was yet to come–the pasta! Pasta in Japan may sound like a sham, some fake, wannabe food (like crab rangoon and general gau’s chicken in Americanized Chinese restaurants).

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Yet it was undeniably one of the best pastas I’ve ever had. Perfectly creamy alfredo sauce, spaghetti cooked al dente, tomatoes off the vine, and earthy, crisp vegetables. Divineeee. Irreplaceable; nowhere else in the world would that pasta dish taste just as good. And I can attest to this because Hokkaido is hugely famous for its high-quality agriculture and dairy products. Best milk I’ve ever had? Hokkaido. Eggs? Hokkaido. Fruits? Hokkaido. Lunch was topped off with a simple fruit plate of strawberries, oranges, and honeydew. Unbeatable.

The rest is kind of just history at this point. We visited the Morioka, 盛岡, Village to visit their local, handicrafts stores–which was cool, but less memorable. Part of that was also the Bukeyashiki, 武家屋敷, Museum of old Samurai weapons and armour, things like that.

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Oh, but what was awesome was the Shion Hotel we stayed at. Gorgeous lake views just like the night before! Also another hot spring hotel, which was mind blowing because hot spring hotels are ridiculously expensive–high-end ones like ours would be $600/night if we booked it ourselves and weren’t on a tour. Hotels in Japan also charge by head, and not room, so we were doing it right. Our tour was particularly lucky since it was the flagship tour–the first one they were doing for Hokkaido and the tip of Honshu , so we got all the perks of being guinea pigs. It’s never a bad choice to end your day bathing in hot springs by the lakeside. Never. And like all Japan tours run by Signet, the night before your last night in Japan includes karaoke for the entire group! Funsies.

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Lakeview from our room! 🙂 And a cornucopia of foods for dinner.

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