Taberu Tohoku Tour (27 Mar – 30 Apr): Exploring Northeast Japan through your palates
Hot on the heels of JAPAN RAIL CAFE’s successful online travel fair (The Japan Rail Fair – A Virtual Trip to Japan) held in November 2020 is Taberu Tohoku Tour, a virtual voyage that transports one to the Tohoku Region in Northeast Japan. The first of its kind, this online series of webinars will feature sightseeing spots and delectable food of the region, making it a truly memorable trip that will satisfy wanderlust from the comfort of one’s seat. The virtual trips will take place online via live streaming from Japan over two Saturdays (27 March and 10 April 2021) via Facebook Live. They are free to attend with no pre-registration required. More information can be found on jrtimes.sg/ttt.
Adding to the excitement from 1 to 30 April 2021 is a retail showcase of featured Tohoku products in the tour at JAPAN RAIL CAFE, as part of a special collaboration with local partners such as H.I.S. Singapore and nomono, including the latter’s online platforms via Shopee and Lazada. Customers can also enjoy two special Tohoku Ekiben (bento boxes served on trains)—Gyutan and Salmon Harako—for the month of April in celebration of this special event.
Elaborates Hiroyuki Hayashi, Director of Lifestyle Businesses in East Japan Railway Company Singapore Branch (JR East Singapore), which operates JAPAN RAIL CAFE: “This amazing virtual tour is part of a decade-long partnership between East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and local producers in an effort to revitalise the region since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Although travel is still restricted, we would nevertheless love for everyone to ‘visit’ the beautiful Tohoku Region, which has regained its splendour, and beckons with good food, produce as well as breathtaking scenery. The webinars are live streamed and meant to be as ‘up close and personal’ as possible, for a truly immersive experience.”
L-R: The famed Bindon from Sanriku; Jodogahama Beach in Sanriku Coast; Espoir Confiture from Sendai City.
27 March and 10 April 2021 (two Saturdays)
Made up of six prefectures—Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata—the Tohoku Region is renowned for scenic mountains, lakes and of course, good food. ‘Taberu’ means ‘to eat’ in Japanese, and this tour will undoubtedly be a glorious showcase highlighting not-to-be-missed spots such as Sanriku Coast, Sendai and Hirono Sea Urchin Farm that will hopefully inspire all to plan a trip to this undiscovered gem of a locale.
27 March 2021, Saturday
11am to 12pm
The revitalised Sanriku Coast is a highlight as this tour takes one to the must-see spots and must-eat foods such as the famous uni bento and bindon (seafood rice in a glass bottle). Although badly affected by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the area has since undergone extensive restoration work to its former glory. Enchanting natural scenery and bountiful seafood are main attractions on this tour. Right: Sanriku Railway crossing the Osawa Bridge
1pm to 2pm
JR East’s Kamaishi railway line is the focus in this tour that takes the viewer on a discovery ride to recommended foodie stops.
On sale at JAPAN RAIL CAFE: Golden Ale (beer), Hazy IPA (beer); Minwa-zuke (Japanese pickles)
3pm to 4pm
The centre of Tohoku, Sendai is blessed with beautiful nature and scrumptious food. This tour starts from Hotel Metropolitan Sendai, located next to JR Sendai Station, which serves as the perfect base for a Tohoku adventure. It also makes a stop at the new agri-tourist facility JR Fruits Park ARAHAMA in Sendai (right).
On sale at JAPAN RAIL CAFE: Junmai Daiginjo M30 Premium Sake; Espoir Confiture (strawberry jam).
5pm to 6pm
Known as the "country of beauty", Akita is surrounded by beautiful nature regardless of season. This tour will introduce a variety of "nmemono", which means "delicious food" in the Akita dialect. Watch out for locally-grown "iburi-gakko" (smoked radish pickles), freshly brewed sake from the historical Suzuki Shuzo, and a memorable stay in wanoi KAKUNODATE, a renowned historical warehouse-turned-hotel.
On sale at JAPAN RAIL CAFE: Iburigakko (pickled radish); PuchimaruGakko DAICHAN (pickled radish); NINJINKUN (pickled carrot); Hideyoshi Junmai Daiginjo; Hideyoshi “Namacho” - Honjozo Namachozo; and Lachamte sake
10 April 2021, Saturday
Hirono Sea Urchin Farm Experience
2pm to 2:30pm
A unique live streaming experience that will showcase how to enjoy steamed uni (sea urchin)!
On sale at JAPAN RAIL CAFE: Kita Murasaki Canned Uni (North Purple Sea Urchin)
Live Well with LEAFELL Tea!
2:30pm to 3pm
This session features LEAFELL, a tea and sweets concept which was established in Sendai in 2018, and enlightens on the Japanese tea drinking culture and tea making tips.
On sale at JAPAN RAIL CAFE: Yabukita, Kogane, and Hitomebore tea blends, sold in canisters
Tohoku Ekiben Special! (1 to 30 April)
Gyutan and Salmon Harako Ekiben
Diners may look forward to two scrumptious ekiben that will no doubt remind them of their train journeys in Japan. The Gyutan Ekiben is a best seller from JR Sendai Station and is served in an intriguing self-heating container! The gyutan, a local speciality of Sendai, is best enjoyed with the accompanying seaweed salt that brings out its smoky flavour.
Known as the ‘Sparkle of Miyagi’s Sea’, the Salmon Harako Ekiben (‘Miyagiumi no Kagayaki’ in Japanese) is named for the generous amount of glistening ikura. It is served with sliced grilled salmon and pickled radish on a bed of ikura-topped rice.
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