True Hometown

Playful Spirit of the People of Hachinohe

I felt I had truly grown accustomed to life in Hachinohe once I found a good restaurant that I came to frequent. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood, but as I became a regular at this particular one, as a complimentary service they would cook and serve me the fish I had caught that day. I was so delighted when they grilled the mackerel I had caught.  

A popular tourist spot is Hachinohe Food Stand Village Miroku Yokocho, but there are 7 other Yokocho or alleyways from the mid-20th century, with a unique dining experience and nightlife atmosphere.


Salt-grilled mackerel

In addition, three vacant store spaces in the Yokocho are used for special events such as plays, rakugo comedy, and dance, which can be seen free of charge. This is yet another example of Hachinohe's playful spirit.

An especially fun event is the Isaba no Kaccha Contest, which began in 2003 with the opening of the Tohoku Shinkansen Hachinohe Station. "Isaba" means fishing grounds, fish market, or fish merchant. Participants dress up as "Kaccha" ("mother" or "woman," referring to female fish merchants), with the traditional scarf, smock, basket on the back, and rubber boots, and have a comic performance with a comedian known as "THE Original Isaba no Kaccha."

And in the Nango area, the Nango Art Project is in progress as a creative attempt at expressing the appeal of a rural village through art .

As I drank good sake, ate good food, and grew soba, before I knew it I had come to feel the warmth of Hachinohe as if it were my true home.

  miroku yokocho Hachinohe Food Stand Village Miroku Yokocho

Second Life Here

Learning About the Origins of Japanese Culture

Jomon archaeological sites are a significant element among the appeals of Hachinohe. In particular, the Earthen Figure with Hands Clasped in Prayer, unearthed from the Kazahari Site, drew national attention when it was designated as a national treasure in July 2009. Even before that, the Korekawa Site, located across the Niida River from the Kazahari Site, was known as one of the most significant Jomon sites in Japan; it became a national historic site in 1957, and 633 of the articles unearthed from the site were designated as national important cultural properties in 1962. Among the "Jomon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaido, Northern Tohoku, and Other Regions" on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, 8 of the sites are located in Aomori prefecture, including the Choshichiyachi Shell Midden and the Korekawa Site in Hachinohe.

I had always been interested in the Jomon period, so I visited the Korekawa Jomon Museum which opened in 2011, and participated in the archaeology lecture and the Sunday Jomon Life Experience Workshop.

The Jomon lifestyle seemed to embody an ideal form of coexistence of man and nature, and as I learned more about it, I came to understand that it was one of the origins of Japanese culture.

Listening to the Residents' Philharmonic Orchestra in Casual Clothes

What especially pleased me about Hachinohe was that it was a city of music. In fall I went to a number of musical events. First, I went to the Hachinohe Nango Culture Hall to listen to a jazz performance by an orchestra formed by residents. My generation, which is the Rapid-Economic Growth Generation, and the ambience of jazz are inseparable. The ad-lib based jazz showed us how diverse individuals can communicate with each other.

In addition to jazz, I also went to the Fall Family Concert by the Hachinohe Residents' Philharmonic Orchestra. There are also numerous choir groups such as the amateur mixed choir "Green Call;" but what is truly amazing is that children in elementary and middle school bands and orchestras can readily continue playing music into adulthood, moving on to the Hachinohe Junior Orchestra and then to local groups such as the Residents' Orchestra. Nakasawa Junior High School in the Nango area has a Jazz Band Club, which is one of the few junior high school jazz bands in Japan, fostering many promising future musicians.

A culture filled with music is a mature culture. As I listen to the Residents' Philharmonic Orchestra in my casual clothes, I feel from the bottom of my heart that I have truly grown accustomed to life in Hachinohe. On December 4, 2010, all of the Tohoku Shinkansen opened. As traveling has become even more convenient, perhaps my old friends from Tokyo will decide to have a second home in Hachinohe as well. If that happens, I shall tell them all about the charm of leading a second life in Hachinohe.