Towada-shi Japan 十和田市

This past Saturday we finally decided to take a trek out to a town that we hear about all the time and had been wanting to visit since we moved here almost 1 year ago. Not sure what has stopped us. I think sometimes it is the unknown, especially in another country. We took the plunge and I am glad we did!

It was a gorgeous day. A bright crispy blue sky, wispy white clouds scattered about and a very bright, warm sun! A perfect day for exploration. The directions I had were short & to the point. I sometimes worry with such easy directions, especially here in Japan. I expect one of these days we will get lost, maybe not though.

It was a pretty straight shot there. For those of you here in Misawa or any newcomers, I will post the directions for you at the end of the post. What draws most of us to Towada is shopping, I think most places here draw me to them for either shopping or eating. The big draw that you hear everyone talk about is a store called “Hard-Off”. Okay, go ahead…chuckle, everyone does, including myself. It is odd but anything here that is translated from Japanese into English may cause one to laugh.

It essentially is a second hand store, a fairly big one with just about anything in it you could think up. It was fun to walk around and look at everything. We did not purchase anything, although I almost did. You must know by now how much I love frogs…it was a pocket watch and had a frog chain of sorts attached to it. It was kawaii (cute)!

You could spend hours alone in the electronic section, goodness they had all kinds of stuff. I think my favorite area would be the house stuff like all the plates, cups, you know..ceramics. I love all the Japanese designs. You can just as easily go to the 100 Yen store and purchase brand new stuff like that if you don’t like using second hand items like that.

The next stop was a store next door to the Hard Off, it was called “WonderGoo”. I have no clue what the translation would or could be. Essentially it is a electronic store on one side and a book store on the other and a small area with cosmetics, all of this store is new stuff. We did not stay in there to long, it was hot and stuffy and had many of the same items we see daily at other stores.

The next stop was Homac, almost like a Wal*Mart and they seem to be everywhere. Each one seems to carry just a little different inventory and I like to see what they have. We were looking for some specific items which I will talk about another time. It was a nice little adventure and only took about 35 minutes to get there and we did not take any toll roads.

Oh, on our way there, we could see the snow capped mountains, it was breathtaking. I did not have my good camera on me, only my iPodTouch and we will most definitely go that way again and hopefully I will get some great shots of them.


Leave from the POL gate. Go straight toward Towanda. You will turn left at a Y intersection, where the railway is turning left too, so follow the railroad track. Before you turn left, you will see the Hard-Off store in front of you. Once you turn left, Hard-Off is on your right side and the train station will be on your left side.


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