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Tagajo

 

Once upon a time, a famous Haiku poet nearly said “Oh Tagajo, oh Tagajo, oh Tagajo” whilst on his travels up North.

 

So impressed was Basho by the breath-taking scenery on Route 45 from Sendai to Tagajo (Pachinko Parlours in the shape of ships and castles, karaoke purazas, orange Yoshinoyas, red 'n green conbinis, blue 'n white conbinis, an abundance of gas stations and the Monument of Tagajo) that he mentioned it (alas, only the Monument!) in his travel sketch "The Narrow Road To The Deep North."

 

Tagajo can be reached by car on Basho's Narrow Road, otherwise known as Route 4, or by train on the Senseki line (it takes 20 minutes from Sendai to Tagajo and costs a mere ¥230). It is a definite must for all you history-buffs as Tagajo is one of the 3 great historical sites of Japan.

 

During the Nara and Heian Periods, the Government set up its administrative HQ in Tagajo and the mutsu-kokubin (provisional temple) was built. However, during the attempt to drive out the indigenous rebels of the region in 780, Tagajo was burnt to the ground and fell into ruin. You can see many artefacts in the nearby Tohoku History Museum.

 

As well as its stones and ruins, Tagajo is also proud of its Ayame Matsuri (Iris Festival) from mid-June to July. Every year, the “Tagajonians” come out in force to see the pretty purple and white flowers in the Iris Garden. At this years festival, yours truly was supposed to perform nihon buyo (traditional Japanese dancing), dressed as…yes that's right, AN IRIS, but it rained and was unfortunately cancelled!

 

If you're partial to a bit of sport now 'n again, you'll probably find yourself in Tagajo Green Zone Park for an AJET sports extravaganza! This park provides fun for all the family with a public playing field, tennis courts and football pitches.

 

It can be reached by Route 58 (towards Shichigahama)or a 30 minute walk from Tagajo Station along the river. Keep your eye out for details of the next sports day on the AJET webpage and in the Drum.

 

Tagajo is also home of a beautiful lake, Sendai Port (used by AJET on the annual trip to the Sapporo Snow Festival) and, for those who live in Nakano-Sakae or Shiogama - Nagasakia (a large department store with a terrific ¥100 store on the 4th floor!).

 

However, my favourite place in Tagajo is without a doubt "Bar Mosco." Where else can you watch Eric Bristow and Joccy Wilson on Yorkshire TV, play darts with the locals, drink Choco Martini and eat deep-fried camembert?

 

The owner is very friendly, loves football (he has Gary Lineker's video!) and can speak a little English. Turn left out of Tagajo Station and cross over the bridge on the right hand-side. You'll see a Co-op supermarket. Behind the supermarket there is a tiny alleyway. Mosco is the bar with the dartboard on the door.

 

by Catherine Russell

 

 

 

This page was last updated: 02/14/00

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