Ninohe (二戸市 Ninohe-Shi?) is a small town/city located in far north of Iwate Prefecture with a population of about 30,000 people. It is a picturesque city, with a more-or-less developed core area along the Mabechi River, and less-developed farmland extending from it. It is defined by Route 4, the major non-expressway route from Tokyo to Aomori, and the two railroads running through the city. It is approximately 2 hours from Morioka, and one hour from Hachinohe, in Aomori prefecture.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

===Getting in

To/from the airport[edit | edit source]

Ninohe is almost equidistant between Misawa Airport in Aomori, and Iwate-Hanamaki airport in Hanamaki.

By train[edit | edit source]

Ninohe is served by three train stations. Ninohe station, Tomai Station, and Kintaichi Onsen Station. Ninohe station is on both the Iwate-Ginza railway (IGR) line, as well as the Tohoku Shinkansen.

Tohoku Shinkansen[edit | edit source]

Ninohe is the second to last stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen, before Hachinohe. The train offers daily service to both Hachinohe and Tokyo. Ninohe is about 3 hours from Tokyo Station. Ninohe Station Shinaksen Timetable (In Japanese) While the shinkansen is convenient, it is rather expensive.

Ninohe-Morioka (26 Minutes): 3,410円

Ninohe-Hachinohe (11 Minutes): 2,870円

Ninohe-Tokyo (179 Minutes on the fastest train): 15,000円

It is possible, and indeed recommended, for the shorter routes to purchase tickets for 'Standing Only', for slightly cheaper fares. For instance, the cost of Ninohe-Morioka becomes 2,900円

Iwate-Ginza Railroad[edit | edit source]

The IGR is the local train line running from Hachinohe to Morioka. It is operated independantly from JR, and charges higher prices for local service.

Ninohe-Hachinohe (40 minutes): 2,870円

Ninohe-Morioka (68 Minutes): 2,030円

By bus[edit | edit source]

Ninohe have local bus services, run by Iwate Kenpoku Bus, and JR Bus Tohoku. Ninohe station is the primary terminus for buses in the area.

Iwate-Kenpoku runs a service from Ninohe station to Kunohe.

JR Bus Tohoku serves Karumai, Joboji, Kintaichi Onsen, and the Kamitomai area. ALT's living in Ninohe often use JR buses to get to work in distant schools.

By car[edit | edit source]

The closest interchange to downtown Ninohe is the Ichinohe I.C., Hachinohe Expressway. However, since its absorption of Joboji Village in 2006, Ninohe now has its own interchange- though far from the core area of the city.

The expressway is a reasonably fast way of getting out of Ninohe, though expensive.

  • Ichinohe I.C --> Morioka: 2,150 yen (57 Minutes)
  • Ichinohe I.C. --> Hachinohe: 1,200 yen (30 Minutes)
  • Ichinohe I.C. --> Sendai Airport: 6,750 yen (3 Hours, 11 Minutes)
  • Ichinohe I.C. --> Tokyo: 12,350 yen (6 Hours, 53 Minutes)

There are substantial discounts on expressway tolls, but only if one enrolls in the ETC electronic payment program.

Ninohe is also on National Route 4, the major roadway connecting Tokyo to Aomori City. It takes approximately 1 hour to get to Hachinohe from downtown Ninohe, and 2.5 hours to get to Morioka. The maximum speed limit on "the four" is 50 kph.

Typically, due to the cost of tolls and fuel costs per the higher speed on the expressway, ALTs in the area stick to route 4 if they can spare the time.

Getting around[edit | edit source]

Ninohe is a long, narrow city. Most restaurants and services are found either along Route 4, or Main Street (also called "Odori"). Main street is also prefectural route 274, though this name is seldom used.

Orientation[edit | edit source]

The "center" of Ninohe is called Iwayabashi (岩谷橋). This is the intersection of Iwate prefectural Route 274 (North-South) and Route 24 (East-West). From this central intersection, you can orient yourself in Ninohe. There are two bridges on the south and west of this intersection, hence the name.

From Iwayabashi

  • Route 24 East- This is the road to Kunohe-mura. This road also leads to Ninohe City Hall, and the Fukuoka schools.
  • Route 24 West- This road quickly crossed Ninohe Ohashi (大橋), and leads to the "Civic Core" of Ninohe. The national government, prefectural government, Ninohe Sports Center, and Ninohe Civic center are all found near this road. This also leads to Route Four.
  • Route 274 North- This is Main Street for Ninohe. Leading north toward Aomori Prefecture, the main shopping area of Ninohe (in Hirono), the prefectural hospital, and the Nisatai and Kintaichi neighborhoods.
  • Route 274 South- Also Main Street, moreover the "Main Drag" of Ninohe. Most restaurants and "nightlife" are concentrated in this area. Leads south to the Ninohe Police Station, the Ishkiridokoro neighboorhood, and eventually Ichinohe and the rest of Iwate prefecture.

Working In Public Education[edit | edit source]

JET Programme Placements[edit | edit source]

At the time of writing, there are two Prefectural ALT placements and one Municipal placement in Ninohe-City. There is also one ALT from Interac placed on a work consignment contract with the municipal government.

Prefectural ALTs[edit | edit source]

Ninohe has two ALTs in the employ of the Iwate Prefectural Board of Education.

One ALT is placed at Fukuoka Senior High School, and also Ibonai High School in Kunohe-village. Fukuoka is widely considered to be at a high standard of academic quality for Northern Iwate, though not at the same level as the Morioka area high schools. Fukuoka is also renowned for it's strong baseball and kendo programs.

The second Ninohe prefectural ALT is placed at Fukuoka Technical High School[1], and Fukuoka High School- Joboji branch[2].

Municipal ALTs[edit | edit source]

Ninohe City, in the past, was served by 3 seperate ALTs. Two working for the city, and one provided by the prefectural government. The current situation, has only two ALT's teaching at all 15 Ninohe schools. Each of the two ALT's is given three of Ninohe's 6 Junior High schools. The *current ALT placement schedule for Ninohe:

Schools Serviced by Municipal ALTs

  • Fukuoka Jr. High--The biggest school in the district, with a wide range of student levels
  • Kamitomai Jr. High--
  • Nisatai Jr. High-- With approx. 50 students, with a good level of English
  • Fukuoka Primary School-- Around 200 students. A brand-new school with a strong interest in Elementary English activities
  • Nisatai Primary School-- 120 Students, A relatively new facility
  • Chuo Primary School-- 200 Students. Not as keen on their English, but by no means bad.
  • Shimotomai Primary School-- 13-15 Students. ALTs are only sent to this school twice perm term. Activities are often centered on games and "Internationalization"
  • Ninohe-Nishi Primary School

Schools Serviced by an ALT placed by Interac

  • Joboji Jr. High
  • Gohenchi Jr. High
  • Kintaichi Jr. High-- The Northermost school in Ninohe, with approximately 150 students.
  • Joboji Primary School
  • Gohenchi Primary School
  • Kintaichi Primary School-- Also in North Ninohe. 150 Students. Kintaichi Primary has an in-house English curriculum that is quite good.
  • Ishikiridokoro Primary School

Incoming/Outgoing JETs[edit | edit source]

All 4 Ninohe-City ALTs (Prefectural and Municipal) are not recontacting for the 2008-2009 School year.

Foreign community[edit | edit source]

There is no foreign community in Ninohe. Typcally, ALT's in this town meet with other ALT's from the northern Iwate area. While the community of ALT's is quite strong and supportive, Ninohe is not especially "international." However, by no means is Ninohe unwelcoming to the few foreigners who live here. ALT's are quite often recognized as teachers and accorded a great deal of respect.

Hachinohe and Morioka are common weekend/getaway destinations.

Sightseeing[edit | edit source]

Places to visit[edit | edit source]

Tendaichi Temple

Tendaichi Temple is a famous buddhist temple built in 728 CE (Year 5 of the Jinki Era).

Festivals[edit | edit source]

Ninohe Matsuri

Ninohe Matsuri is held annually in early September. It is a three-day event. The event centers around a parade through central Ninohe of parade floats, called Dashi (山車- literally "Mountain Car"). These floats are sponsored by local neighborhood associations, as well as one City Hall sponsored float. The floats are built, from scratch, every year by the sponosoring teams. Floats feature teams of children playing taiko drums, and teams of men pushing the non-motorized floats through the city.

On the first night, the floats all gather in front of Ninohe Sports Center for an exhibition, culminating in the playing of the "Hundred Man Drums" (百人太鼓), where all the floats play a single rhythmn, culminating in a fireworks display over the Mabechi River.

The second day has a parade during the day, with the final event being Ninohe's "Long Dance" 流し踊り. The town song, and the regional song are played over the town loudspeaker system, and teams from businesses, schools, and organizations around the city dance in unison from down main street.

The final day has one final parade, of shorter length.

ALT Participation[edit | edit source]

As for ALTs taking part in the festivities, there is a tradition of ALTs dancing with their contracting organizations in the Nagashi Odori. In the past, the Iwate Prefectural Board of Education branch in Ninohe has invited the High School ALTs to join their team with the Ninohe Iwate Prefectural Governement Team, while City Hall includes their municipal ALT. Recently, the prefectural government has not included the ALTs they sponsor with their team, and the Municpal ALT has invited other ALTs to join the city hall dancing team.

With regard to taiko drumming, ALTs must show more initiaive in finding a team to play with. Practice is typically every day in the evening, with added training on weekends. ALTs should note that many neighboorhood associations have longstanding traditions, dating back many years with the floats. Even if one finds a team, and invests significant amounts of time to training and learning how to play taiko- you may still be relegated to pushing the float.

This all being said- Ninohe Matsuri is an excellent, excellent way to get involved with your community.

Other highlights include the return of many people to Ninohe who have left, as many people come back to see the festival from various places in Japan. Festival Food is also delicious, with street vendors selling yakisoba, sausages, and a myriad of Japanese foods.

Shopping[edit | edit source]

Supermarkets[edit | edit source]

  • Universe-Fukuoka (ユニバース 二戸福岡店), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字八幡下 59-14, (Located on Odori, in the southern area of Ninohe), 0195-23-4301, [n/a]. Everyday, 10AM-10PM. A well-appointed grocery store, though foreign food is limited. This is the closest grocery store to where the ALT's live in Ninohe.
  • Universe-Hirono (ユニバース 二戸堀野店), 岩手県 二戸市 堀野 字大谷地 39, (Located in Hirono, in the northern area of Ninohe), 0195-22-3270, [n/a]. Everyday, 10AM-10PM. A very large grocery store in the "Ninohe Shopping Mall" Excellent selection of Japanese food, with some (not many) foreign items. This store is far from the center of town, however there is bus service to the area.
  • Jois (ジョイス二戸店), 岩手県二戸市米沢字荒谷25 , (In central Ninohe, off Route 4), 0195-23-0162, [n/a]. Mon-Sat, 10AM-10PM; Sun/Hol, 9AM-10PM. The largest store in Ninohe, and most likely Northern Iwate. Jois has the most foreign food of any supermarket in town, plus restaurants and a wide selection of household goods.
  • Ofukurote (Mom's Place) (おふくろ停), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 落久保 , (In Downtwon Ninohe, in Iwayabashi.), 0195-23-4811, [n/a]. Everyday approx. 10AM-8PM (Mom and Pop store, hours vary). An excellent green-grocer in the heart of Ninohe. Also has a viking-style (buffet) lunch, and bento boxes. 70% of your daily shopping can be done here.

Department stores[edit | edit source]

There is not a proper "Department Store" in Ninohe. The closest approximation is Nicoa, which is connected to the JOIS. It could be compared to an American Wal-Mart or a Tesco Extra. Though, the quality of goods sold there is questionable, and sizes for foreigners are most definitely not a priority.

Convenience stores[edit | edit source]

  • T-Mart, Next to Ninohe Station, 0195-22-3456, Everyday - 06:30 to 22:00. Super-convenient, especially for lunches and basic groceries for the Fukuoka Tech ALT, and the awesome owner/manager speaks great English.

Home & Garden stores[edit | edit source]

  • Kanbun (官文 住建部), 岩手県 二戸市 堀野 字長地 75-4, (Near the northern Universe, on Odori.), 0195-23-5115, [n/a]. Kanbun is a large home-center store. Local papers often have deep discounts from this store. Sells cookware, furniture, hardware, and many other home products. A good store.

Book shops[edit | edit source]

Stores do not sell foreign books in Ninohe. Nicoa has a small section of manga for sale, as does Aixs. The closest foreign book store is in Morioka.[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

  • Aixs (ダイマン), 岩手県 二戸市 石切所 字枋ノ木 17-1, (Down the street from Ninohe Station's east exit. Large sign in English: "Books, Movie, Lady."), 0195-23-2020, [n/a]. Open 24 hours a day. Aixs is a video rental store, also selling Manga and video games. After buying a member's card, rentals run for about 300 yen for new releases, with certain days of the month half off. Two words of caution. One: The late-fees for this store are asinine, with no limit on how much they will charge you if you keep your DVD for too long. (to the tune of 5,000 yen, one week overdue) Two: No self-respecting ALT should ever go to the top floor of this establishment, where adult videos are sold. The store ALWAYS has students and parents inside.
  • GEO (ゲオ二戸堀野店), 岩手県 二戸市 堀野 字馬場 70-1, (Just north of the Hirono shopping town on main street, next to the bus stop. Can be seen from Route 4), 0195-22-1033, [n/a]. 10AM-12AM. GEO is a franchised video rental, game and music store. Prices are competitive with Aixs, and often used CD'S can be found for next to nothing.
  • K's Denki (ケーズデンキ 二戸パワフル館), 岩手県二戸市堀野大谷地61-1, (In the Hirono shopping town in northern Ninohe. Head north from Iwayabashi, and turn right opposite the Hirono Baseball Field. K's is down the street, on the right, with a big red facade.), 0195-22-3600, [[3]]. 10AM-8PM. K's Denki is a large retail electronics store. Ninohe has the "medium" sized K's, with larger stores in Hachinohe and Morioka. A good stop for appliances, computers, and cameras.
  • Takeda Sports (タケダスポーツ), 二戸市福岡字上町9-1, (In downtown Ninohe, just north of Iwayabashi. Across the street from the NTT building. Large, visible signs in English), 0195-23-4321, [[4]]. Weekdays, Sat: 10AM-8PM; Sun, 10AM-7PM. Takeda Sports is a chain sporting goods store. Good for your primary Japanese school sports (baseball, basketball, tennis), can special order things not in stock. During winter, they sell snow sports equipment, none of it of high quality however.

Eating[edit | edit source]

Ninohe is an excellent city for eating out. While most western food (outside of Italian) is hard to get, all in all: Ninohe is a great place to grab dinner and lunch.

Fast food[edit | edit source]

Ninohe does not have any western Fast Food restaurants.

Ramen[edit | edit source]

Ninohe has many excellent Ramen shops. Of note are "Ninohe's Top 5" Ramen restaurants, offereing unique takes on classic Japanese ramen.

  • Marumo (マルモ 八幡下店), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字八幡下 42-1, (A brightly colored (mainly red) building on the east (mountain) side of Odori. There is a red lantern with "ramen" (ラーメン) in Katakana hanging outside the door when they are open for business. The shop's sign is also in Katakana.), 0120-11-3568, [n/a]. Open Late. Marumo is by far the most popular ramen shop in Ninohe. Many a night on the town for Ninohe's citizens ends eating delicious, home-made ramen from the two women who run this shop. Though the list of ramen you can eat here is extensive, expect nothing fancy: Marumo is the working man's ramen shop in Ninohe. It is a local institution.
  • Takeharu (ファミリーレストラン竹春), 岩手県 二戸市 堀野 字長地 70, (On Odori, in the Hirono area. Look for a Green and Yellow sign (in Kanji) with some flashing colored lights. Across from the Best Denki electronics store.), 0195-23-4207, [n/a]. n/a. Takeharu is one of Ninohe's "Best 5" Ramen shops. Its winning entry was MaBo Ramen. A bowl of shoyu ramen, with spicy Ma-Bo Tofu on top. All the ramen here is excellent here though.
  • Ramen House Sho-Ryu (ラーメンハウス勝龍), 岩手県 二戸市 仁左平 字矢沢 85-1, (Just north of the Hirono Shopping Area, go right near at the Idemitsu Gas station, and follow the road past Ninohe Hospital. Where this road meets the 395 to Karumai, the restaurant is across the street.), 0195-25-5875, [n/a]. n/a. A good stop after Kintaichi Onsen. Sho-Ryu is not known for Shoyu ramen, but rather it's extra-spicy Pirikare Ramen, with home-made Kim-Chi on top. Miso and Tonkotsu are also recommended.
  • Mendoran (麺道蘭二戸店), 岩手県二戸市石切所字中曽根11-1, (Head east from Iwayabashi, toward the "civic core" area. On the north side of the street, across from Lawson you will see Mendoran. The building is very red.), 0195-23-1710, Mendoran is a chain, but pretty good and reasonably priced. The spicy ramen is very spicy.
  • Hosuke Ramen (宝介二戸店), 岩手県二戸市石切所字中曽根11-1, (Head east from Iwayabashi, toward the "civic core" area. Turn left at the stoplight, and pass Ninohe Sports Center to the Excel Garden building. Hosuke is in the rear of the building, with the entrance off the breezeway bewteen Collage and Excel Garden Cafe), 0195-23-1710, [Website]. Also a chain, Hosuke has good miso-tonkotsu ramen.

Japanese food[edit | edit source]

Central and Southern Ninohe covering from Fukuoka southward

  • Sangoro-ya (三五郎屋), 岩手県二戸市福岡字落久保11, (In downtown Ninohe, next door to Ofukurote. The sign is large, but the enterence is a the small sliding door next to the parking lot.), 0120-11-3568, [n/a]. Closed Mondays, Mid-Afternoon. The best Japanese restaurant in Ninohe. Full Stop. Outstanding Sushi, Rice Bowls, Soba, drinks. The proprietor does his best for his ALT customers, even translating his menu into English. Warm, friendly staff. This Sangoro is called "hon-ten" (本店) if you are differentiating it from the Shimomachi Branch.
  • Sangoro Shimomachi Branch (三五郎下町店), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字下町 12-1, (Head north on Odori. On the east (mountain) side of the street, just past Ninohe City Hotel. The sign is white, with the name in black kanji.), 0195-23-4567, A branch from the downtown Sangoro, This branch focuses exclusively on sushi, sashimi, and seafood. The staff is pleasant, and the quality of food is excellent. It however lacks the personality of the downtown branch.
  • Tankakutei (短角停), 岩手県 二戸市 石切所, (Across the main bridge from downtown Ninohe, toward route 4. In between Lawson and the Orix Auto shop.), n/a, [n/a]. Open Everyday, Lunch-Dinner. Yakiniku restaurant using local, organic, beef. Staff is friendly an accomidating to substitutions on their menu. Morioka Reihumen noodles, and Korean Bibimba are also excellent on their menu. A good place to meat up with friends after work.
  • House of Picnic (ハウスオブピクニック), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字橋場 6-5, (On Odori, south of the Ninohe Post Office. Look for the yellow flashing traffic signal on a T-intersection. Sign is in English.), 0195-23-7552, [n/a]. Open Late. A bar/restaurant. Picnic is a fantastic place to get drinks and good food. Guiness on tap, Coors, Heineken and Corona in bottles, plus well mixed cocktails. The food served here is excellent. Stand-outs include their Pizza, which is as good as it gets in Ninohe, their fried foods (onion rings), and pasta. With at least 7 people, and 3,000 yen per head, House of Picnic becomes THE place for a party in Ninohe. This self-styled "biker-bar" has a friendly staff, who will make drinks for you not on their menu.
  • Shiki-no-Sato (四季の里), 岩手県二戸市石切所字荒瀬49-1, (Easy to miss. Head south on Main Street from Iwayabashi. At the south end of town, you cross a bridge over the Mabechi. At the three way intersection, take a left and continue to follow the road as it curves to the right. Obscured behind trees, the restaurant looks like a traditional Japanese farmhouse. The building on the west side is a senbei store, the building on the right a restaurant.), 0195-23-7148, [5]. 11AM to 5:30PM. Shiki-no-Sato is a fantastic restaurant affiliated with the Ninohe-based Iwate-senbei company Iwateya. The atmosphere is rustic, with mud floors and floor seating. The soba (Ninohe claims to have the outstanding Soba) served here is excellent. Highly Recommended is the Ten-Zaru-Soba, with cold soba noodles and fresh tempura.

Northern Ninohe covering areas north of Hirono, including Kintaichi

  • Nagase-ya (長瀬屋), 岩手県 二戸市 堀野 字大川原毛 105-1, (At the far northern end of Odori, as it curves northwest to cross the river and rejoin Route 4, the restaurant is by itself on the right side of the road. Look west from the Northern Iwate Driving School (岩手県北自動車学校)), 0120-86-8639, [n/a]. n/a. A family restaurant. Nagase-ya is spacious inside, with both tatami and western style seating. Western and Japanese food is served. The Tonkatsu Set menu is excellent.

Foreign food[edit | edit source]

Foreign food in Ninohe has a name: Italian. Outside of several excellent Italian restaurants, the closest foreign food is either Hachinohe (Thai, Indian, spanish) or Morioka (Indian, Mexican)

  • Basilico (レストランバジリコ), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字橋場 24, (On Odori, south of House of Picnic. Basilico is on the west (river side) of the street, next to 大吉, past Tsubohachi. Sign is in English.), 0195-23-6114, [n/a]. n/a. Basilico is an italian restaurant. Good pizza and pasta dishes. Birra Moretti on tap. A common choice for school drinking parties.
  • Restaurant Bonheur (レストランボヌール), 岩手県 二戸市 石切所 枋ノ木 17-1, (Down the street from Ninohe Station. Look for Aixs, the large video store on the south side of the street. Off of the Aixs parking lot, on the west (station) side is Bonheur. The sign is in English, but the restuarant is quite small, 2 tables and 7 stools at the bar.), 0195-26-9015, [n/a]. n/a. A new restaurant. Bonheur's chef trained in Sendai and Osaka before returning to his home town. Outstanding italian food (the carbonara especially) and desserts. Home made salad dressing, smoked salmon appetizers, olives. Also of note are his om-rice, curry rice, and gyu-don. Bonheur also has espresso coffee (though expensive), and an outstanding atmosphere.
  • Excel Garden Cafe (エクセルガーデンカフェ), 岩手県 二戸市 石切所 字荷渡 50 エクセルガーデンビル, (From Iwayabashi, head west toward the "Civic Core" area. Turn left at the stoplight by Lawson. Just past the entrance to Ninohe Sports Center, Excel Garden in the new reddish building on the right. Excel Garden Cafe is on the ground floor, to the right if you are facing Collage.), 0195-23-9775, [6]. n/a. A very nice, but very expensive Italian restaurant that does a good job of capturing some semblance of a cafe atmosphere. Stand-outs include their Pizzas and caprese insalata.
  • Pizza 10-4 (ピザ・テン・フォー二戸店), 岩手県 二戸市 堀野 字長地 72-4, (Head north on Odori to Hirono. Pizza 10-4 is across the street from Kanbun, near the), 0195-23-0025, Pizza 10-4 is the local delivery outfit, they have Japanese and Western style pizzas, but are expensive. Furthermore, ALTs on several occasions have gotten food poisioning from this restaurant. If you want pizza, you can roll the dice here, but House of Picnic is better locally, and if you really want a western style pizza- Pizza Hut in Hachinohe.
  • Mister Donut (ミスタードーナツ), 岩手県二戸市堀野字長地11番1, (Head north on Odori to Hirono. Pizza 10-4 is across the street from Kanbun, near the), 0195-22-2288, [Website]. 10AM-22PM. Donuts. Bottomless Coffee. Annoying commercial mixed with the latest (surprisingly so) American Top-40 hits. Ninohe's only western-style chain: Misdo is what Japanese people think a donut shop is like. The Pon-De-Newzealand is a favorite- with ground kiwi filling and chocolate fudge.

Outside Ninohe[edit | edit source]

These are some places outside of town frequented by Ninohe ALT's that deserve special mention.

  • Keku- Slow Flow Cafe (ケクー・カフェ), 青森県南部町大字苫米地字下宿7, (Head north out of Ninohe on Route 4. Follow signs to Hachinohe, eventually turning right onto the 104 heading east. Approximately 4 kilometers down this road, (you will pass through 4 stoplights), look for the dimly lit sign in English. Directions in Japanese), 0178)84-3739, [7]. 11AM-10PM. Keku is a fantastic cafe/restaurant hidden away in Nanbu Town, near Hachinohe. All food at this restaurant is excellent, as is dessert. However the stand-out that sets this place apart from all others is the properly prepared Seattle-style espresso coffee. Keku is a world apart from Japan.

Drinking[edit | edit source]

Izakayas[edit | edit source]

  • Mameshichi-tei (豆七停), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字城ノ外 8-5, (Walk south from Iwayabashi(Downtown Ninohe) on Odori. After crossing the bridge, look for the second intersection (with a road intersecting main street, not a T-intersection) and look left (east/mountain side). Mameshichitei has a white sign with it's kanji in black. Looking at the building itself, the izakaya is on the left, with a larger enkai section straight ahead.), 0195-23-2043, [n/a]. n/a. Mameshichi-tei is a classic Japanese izakaya. Mama-san (as she likes to be called) knows all her customers by name. Food is the focus here. Yakitori is excellent, in addition to a vareity of traditional Japanese foods that are harder to find at other restaurants.
  • Tsubohachi (つぼ八二戸店), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字橋場 25-1, (On Odori, south of House of Picnic, but north of the Park Hotel. Located on the west (river) side of the street. The bright sign has a blue background, with つぼ八 in red kanji.), 0195-23-7788, [n/a]. n/a. Tsubohachi is a chain Izakaya, found througout Japan. This izakaya is a common choice for after parties (2次会) following school enkais. The food here is sub par. A "draft beer" is 発泡酒, a low-malt, beer-like drink. Though inexpensive, patrons can tell where that cost savings is going: lower-quality food, service, and atmosphere.
  • Akanedoki (茜どき二戸店), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字下町 35 米長ビル, (Head north on Odori from Iwayabashi. Akanedoki is about .5 k north, on the left (river) side of the road. Look for a yellowish sign, in a building with a staircase to the right of the restaurant.), 0195-23-3206, Akanedoki is an upmarket variant of Tsubohachi. Food is slightly better, as are the drinks. The price also increases substantially. Cases of food poisoning have been rumored to be a problem here.
  • Daikichi (大吉 ねだ), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字橋場 23, (Just south of Tsubohachi and Basilico. The large white facade has the restaurants name in Kanji in black. Also smells of cooked chicken at all times.), 0195-23-3320, [n/a]. n/a. Daikichi is an izakaya/yakitori restaurant. Known much more for the latter, this restaurant is highly recommended for yakitori. There is a branch of Daikichi in downtown (Iwayabashi) Ninohe called 大吉幸のくら. The food is identical.
  • Izakaya Hisago (居酒屋瓢), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字八幡下 22-3, (Past Universe, off main street, near the Ninohe Police Station. There are many paper lanterns outside this izakaya, and its name in Hiragana on on the sign.), 0195-23-1255, [n/a]. n/a. Hisago is another traditional izakaya. While the food, nor drinks are particularly stand-out, many teachers come to this izakaya given its lack of proximity to any schools. The atmosphere is relaxed, prices are reasonable.

Bars[edit | edit source]

  • Mikado (ミカド), 岩手県 二戸市 福岡 字橋場 9-イ, (Just north of Tsubohachi on the west(river) side of Odori. Sign is in English, though facade and entry is small.), 0195-23-3023, [n/a]. Open Late. Mikado is a popular local bar with an upscale atmosphere. Expensive, though meticulously well-prepared cocktails are served here. Guiness on tap. An above average selection of top-shelf spirits. Mikado goes out of its way to present an image of class. Mikado is a common third-party (三次会) destination for school parties.

Living[edit | edit source]

Ninohe is a very pleasant place to live, and strikes a balance, for better or for worse, between "inaka" and city life. The major city in Northern Iwate, many services converge on Ninohe, but the city has a far from urban feel.

Banks[edit | edit source]

Banking in Ninohe is limited to the Postal Savings system, and local banks. Major Japanese national banks (Mitsubishi-UFJ, Mitsui-Sumitomo, Mizuho) are not present in Ninohe, though their cash cards work in most ATM's here.

Most ALTs in the area use Bank of Iwate. Sometimes, they will also have a Postal Savings account as well.

  • Bank of Iwate (岩手銀行 二戸支店  ), 岩手県二戸市福岡字上町14番地1, (Located just north of Iwayabashi, on Main Street. The large green 岩手銀行 sign is visible.), 0195-23-2125, [8]. Weekdays, 8AM-9PM; Sat, 9AM-7PM; Sun/Hol 9AM-7PM. Iwate Ginko is the major back for Iwate Prefecture. Their cash-cards work in Post Office ATMs around Japan, and have branches in all other cities around Iwate. There is also a branch in Hachinohe, and Tokyo.

Bank of Iwate ATM Locations in Ninohe

  • Kanbun
  • Universe-Hirono
  • Jois/Nicoa (The ATM is in the Nicoa portion of the building)
  • Kintaichi (Actual branch office here)

note: this are merely actual "Bank of Iwate" ATM's. There are other ATM's that accept the card, but may charge an added fee for its use (such as the post office, or the ATM in the southern Universe supermarket)

Post offices[edit | edit source]

Postal Service is useful not only for mail, but also for the excellent Postal Savings system, which can be used even on bank holidays Japan.

  • Ninohe Post Office (二戸支店 日本郵便), 岩手県二戸市福岡字五日町67, (On Odori, south of Iwayabashi, on the west(river) side of the road. Signage is in English.), 0195-23-3226, [9]. Mail Services: 9AM-5PM; ATM:Weekdays 8:45AM-5PM, Sat. 9AM-5PM; Sun/Hol: 9AM-5PM; Postal Insurance: Weekdays 9AM-4PM. This is the primary post office for Ninohe. There are also branch offices in Hirono, and off the east entrance of Ninohe Station.

Medical facilities[edit | edit source]

  • Iwate Prefectural Ninohe Hospital (岩手県立二戸病院), 岩手県二戸市堀野字大川原毛38番地2, (The hospital is well-signed in English. Head north on Odori, past the Hirono Shopping Area. Turn right at the Idemitsu gas station, past the GEO. The Hospital is the very large building up the road on the right.[10]), 0195-23-2191, [11]. This is a large regional medical center, in a new facility.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Ninohe City Library (二戸市立図書館), 岩手県二戸市石切所字狼穴1番地1, (In the "Civic Core" area of Ninohe. Head west (toward the river) from Iwayabashi. The Library is the second large brown building on your right. It is next door to the Performing Arts Center), 0195-23-3447, [12]. Tues.-Fri: 9AM-6PM; Sat./Sun./Holidays: 10AM-6PM. The municipal library. No services, books, or newspapers in English. There is one computer with internet access that requires a library card to use.

Hair dressers[edit | edit source]

  • Collage (コラージュ), (See Website for map), 0195-23-6880, [13]. Closed Mondays and also the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Times: Weekdays 10:00 to 20:00, Saturday 09:00 to 20:00, Public Holidays 09:00 to 18:00. Really friendly staff with an above-average level of English

Sports facilities[edit | edit source]

  • Ninohe City Sports Center (二戸市立総合スポーツセンター), 岩手県二戸市石切所字荷渡22-20, (In the "civic core" of Ninohe. Head west toward Route 4 from Iwayabashi. At the stoplight next to Lawson and the Yakudo Drug Store, turn left. The sports center is the largest building in Ninohe, and on your right after the Orix Car Shop.), 0195-23-7211, [14]. The sports center has a large gymnasium (two regulation basketball courts) and a training room. The training room is 100 yen for one hour. Users must bring a pair of indoor training shoes (i.e. never having been worn outside)
  • Ninohe Swimming School (二戸スイミングスクール), 岩手県二戸市福岡字中村8-1, (Head east from Iwayabashi. There will be signage in English for Ninohe City Office and Fukuoka Prefectural High School. Turn left on this road. As the road climbs the hill, and curves to the left (northwest), you will see the school on the left. The sign is bright white and blue (in Katakana) with a small logo of a dolphin and a life-preserver. The small logo has the name in English.), 0195-25-5858, [n/a]. n/a. The Swimming School offers year round use of its pool and training facilities, for a monthly fee.

Travel agents[edit | edit source]

The closest travel agents to Ninohe are in Morioka or Hachinohe. Occassionally, representitives of those agencies will come to the schools.

Map[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit | edit source]

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