Jan 7, 2011

A New Year Party with Northern Happinets at Hotel Ischia

Tazawako Hotel Ischia just hosted a New Year Party with Akita Northern Happinets, a professional basketball team of Akita Prefecture. This event came about because the team was in Tazawako Area  for a training camp at Tazawako Sports Center.

A merchandise booth was placed in the lobby. Our favorite was the figures :)

The party hosted almost 100 fans from nearby cities—some even travelled more than 2 hours just to catch this rare opportunity to meet the players in person.

Did you know Akita is called “the Japanese Kingdom of Basketball”?

Many Akita people are passionate about basketball! The hotel restaurant welcomed overflowing number of guests, wanting to mingle with and get autographs from the team members. Many children, most of who belong to local basketball teams, were there accompanied by the parents who hope them to get the most inspiring experience!

A drawing was held with prizes like T-shirts, badges, and an autographed suitcase!

Upstairs in the IRIS Room, some players had autograph session in more relaxed mood.

And towards the end, a microphone was handed to the players and this is what happened LOL:

Fun time :)

The members were being asked to autograph more than a dozen times, but they remained genuinely friendly. We got an impression that they are greatly appreciative of their fans for the support, as much as the fans are of the team for cheering up and becoming an inspiration to the Akita community.

After a few enjoyable hours as we were told of the end of party,  the team was suddenly gone. The rest of us were left in the restaurant, saying to one another what a great team Northern Happinets are and agreed that we have to support them even more... and as we were leaving, we found out there was another nice thing waiting for us:


They were lining up in the hallway too see us off! So heartwarming until the very end!!  Now we all know more why Northern Happinets are so popular!  Go Go Happinets! :)

Find out more about Akita Northern Happinets(秋田ノーザンハピネッツ), please visit their official website (Japanese):

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Ramen-ya Gen (らーめんや玄)on Route 46

Ramen-ya Gen (らーめんや玄)is a ramen noodle shop on route 46 between Tazawako are and Kakunodate area. This is a restaurant that is hard to miss if you are driving the road.

Ramen-ya Gen (らーめんや玄)

We ordered Vegetable Miso Ramen (left bottom) and Vegetable Ankake Ramen (bottom center). The dishes look exactly the same, but you would see the difference from close-up.

"Ankake" (あんかけ)is a thickened sauce,. so it means the noodle soup is served with vegetables stir-fried in thickened sauce. The noodle is rather thin and hard; and rather soupy compared to other ramen shops. Both of them were delicious and satisfying ;)

They also serve combination items in which ramen is served with side dishes like fried rice, gyoza (potstickers; 250 yen), and pickled vegetables.

The low prices (ranging from 450 to 900), volume, and the friendly atmosphere are the reasons why this restaurant attracts many hardcore fans.

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Jan 6, 2011

Ski/Snowboard + Hotel (with Onsen) for the Lowest Price!

Tazawako Ski Area has just introduced a ski/snowboard plus hotel package for an breaking price!

“Otona-no-Winter Package” @Tazawako Sports Center
For group guests of more than 5 people.
Not available on Saturdays and a day before holidays

PRICE: Starting from 8,260 yen (depends on your plan)

Ski and Snowboard Plus Accommodation
 at Tazawako Sports Center
( Incl. Meals and two 5-hours tickets for the first and second days or one all-day ticket)
*Rentals is optional.
Available from January 11th to March 31st

Jan 5, 2011

Tazawako-Kakunodate:Two Areas United as a Tourism Brand

Late last year, Semboku City government had announced that it designates the combined areas of Tazawako and Kakunodate as a tourism brand. The city also asked for an idea for the official logo of “Tazawako-Kakunodate” area. In mid-December, a logo idea was finally chosen out of 214 ideas submitted from Japan and Korea.

The double circle suggests the bottom of Lake Tazawa, the deepest in Japan; 田shape derives from the initial letter of 田沢湖 (Tazawa-ko). The angular shape simbolizes the historical townscape of Kakunodate, in which you can associate it to the roads, boarding fence, mansion, and squared shapes. The Kakunodate symbol is connected to the Tazawako to the northern north-east and united to value the tradition and foresee the future. With a resemblance to the avatar of Lake Tazawa, the whole picture represents a transformation of Semboku City.

Jan 4, 2011

Operation Hours at Tazawako Ski Area

Tazawako Ski Area has been open since December 25th. During the new year's break, Tazawako area welcomed thousands of holiday skiiers!

During the new year's break at Tazawako Ski Area!

OPEN until April 24th, 2011.
Daytime Skiing:
Open everyday until April 3.
After April 4, it will be open on the following days:
April 9-10, 16-17, and 23-24.
Night Skiing:
Open until February 26th, and
every Saturdays and Friday February 11th.

Chairlifts Operation:
Operated until Sunday March 27 (8:30-16:00)
Ginrei #3 Lift: Weekdays 9:00 - 16:00
Kuromori-yama Lift: Weekdays 9:00-16:00
Night Skiing on Mizusawa Lift: 16:30-20:00

During the Spring Skiing Season:
After March 28th, the lifts will be operated from
7:00- 15:00

The lift operation and business hours may vary, depending on the weather condition.


Meeting Kunimasu at Lake Saiko: Semboku City Group Visits

Kunimasu, subspecies of himemasu (known as kokanee in North America) that is said to have died out 70 years ago, was discovered in Lake Saiko in Yamanashi Prefecture. The news was quickly spread out nationwide, reported as a miraculous story.

Over the weekend, a group of Semboku City officials visited Lake Saiko and Kyoto University. The members met Sakana-kun (a popular TV talent and a marine biologist) and Professor Nakabou at Kyoto University, who made a great contribution to the research on the fish once long labeled as “extinct.”

The 13-members group was consisted of Semboku City Mayor (Mr. Kadowaki), president of Tazawako Tourism Association, and representatives of Lake Tazawa revitalization group.

At the press conference that was reported nationwide, Mr. Kadowaki, as the leader of the group, expressed the gratitude on behalf of the citizens of Semboku City, Akita Prefecture, and even the whole nation.

The group also visited the city hall of Fujikawaguchiko-machi, a town where Lake Saiko is situated, to meet the town mayor, Mr. Watanabe. Mr. Kadowaki had expressed graditude and also mentioned his concerns over the possiblity of exploitation. He appealed to the local group for further protective care of the endangered species and a corporative support to keep the fish alive, while the environment in Lake Tazawa is being improved — so someday they can “return home.”

The representatives of the visiting group along with Sakana-kun and Professor Nakabou held a press conference to which both local and national media flocked over. Sakana-kun, in response to Semboku City’s request, commented that he is willing to corporate with Semboku City and do his best in promoting the Tazawako Satogaeri (“Return-home”) Project.

After the press conference, the group headed to Lake Saiko. Semboku City mayor, Mr. Kadowaki had written on his blog that he was very emotional at the discovery site and he was told that the local people pay attentive care to the environment. That is definitely the reason why kunimasu, which prefers cold clean freshwater, were able to survive there.

Photo Courtesy of Kadosan.com

“At the same site,” Mr. Kadowaki continues “I asked Sakanakun if he would come to Tazawako. ‘Yes, of course’ he replied, ‘I enjoy scuba-diving, and Akita is a hometown of my favorite photographer, Mr. Ikuo Nakamura. I would love to do scuba-diving with him in Lake Tazawa.’ We have a promise.”

Sakana-kun had also given Semboku City a permission to use his kunimasu drawings for the Kunimasu Return-home Project. We are greatly excited about his support, and we as a community are determined to have them “return home.”