Today I visited Akiu and let me tell you: nothing was as I expected it to be.
First of all, I was at JR East travel service Center. Here I bought two one-day Tickets and my Shinkansen Ticket. Then I wanted to take the next bus. I could. I only had to wait more than one hour. During this time, I answered a survey for foreigners (this took me about half an hour because there were so many questions) and when I was done, I received an eraser (I chose Taiyaki style) and a self-made Kimono bookmark which was really beautiful! Then I walked to the bus stop and waited.
After about one hour inside the bus, we finally arrived at Akiu. A very beautiful small town with an amazing landscape! I first walked through Rairaiku George and had an amazing view at the river and several Waterfalls (very small ones though).
Then my route led me to the Akiu Craft Village. Here I just walked around and had a look at all these beautiful handcrafted souvenirs.
I didn’t buy nor make anything and just walked back after some time. Now I got to the Akiu Tourist information center. I wanted to go to Akiu Otaki, too and asked about the bus, just to find out the last possible one would leave in one hour. So, I started running through Akiu to get to every stop I wanted to see. I had to skip the National Garden and the Onsen because I had no time for this.
I visited the Supermarket and bought some food-souvenirs there and in another tiny shop. Then I walked to Toto’s Kitchen (a shop I highly recommend) to eat their famous and much recommended Reirei. When I arrived there, I found out they sold Sakura Taiyaki and Sakura ice cream (and so many different sorts of both, too. Like Pizza-Taiyaki or Black Sesame ice cream and so many more), so I had to order at least the Sakura Taiyaki. I tried both (the Taiyaki and the Reirei) and both were amazing! The Sakura Taiyaki was not made with ordinary dough, but with some sort of mochi dough, so it was all white on the outside. Inside there was Sakura Anko.
The Reirei was some kind of Taiyaki too. It was made with dough and Anko inside. This was baked then fried and topped with crushed nuts and sugar and salt. Amazing! The best Taiyaki I ever had!
Then I had to hurry to get my bus to Akiu Otaki. Here I also hurried and literally ran up and down several stairs and tracks through the forest to get to the fall, take some quick pictures and run back. It was really exhausting but I had fun and I made it for the next bus back to Akiu.
When I arrived in Akiu again, I walked to the public Onsen and took a bath here. I thought it would be just as I used to know an Onsen, but here there were no provided towels nor shampoo so I had to borrow everything. Everyone inside offered me something and I was really thankful. I enjoyed the hot bath a lot, but afterwards I really had to get a cold drink. I walked to the Supermarket again and bought iced apple juice and almost emptied the bottle in one go.
Then I ate my received-as-present-from-home noodles and walked back to the tourist information center to take the next bus back. Sadly I just missed one, so I had to wait for almost one hour again.
When I arrived at the train station, I hurried outside of the bus to catch my next train to Sendai Station. Being in the train, I realized I forgot my Souvenirs in the bus. I screwed myself for that and just took the next train back. Here I spent some time searching the bag alone, then asked someone at the service center. He tried to call the bus information, but it was already closed. So, the both of us walked to the next bus and he explained everything to the driver. The driver now made several calls and I ended up driving with him to the final bus stop (a point where no ordinary tourist gets to but only the bus drivers) and there I got my souvenirs back. Then I “only” had to get back to Sendai Station somehow. Luckily another bus driver just walked in who drove in his car to Sendai and took me with him. I bowed so many times this day and I can’t tell how thankful and overwhelmed and happy I am! This county and the people here are truly amazing! A big thank you to everyone who helped me today!