Continuing from where I left off, we ventured to Mitsuishi Temple (Three Rocks Temple) the site of the devil’s (or demon’s) hand prints.  Another English information sign for you:

Mitsuishi (Three Rocks) and the Demon’s Hand Prints

According to legend, long ago, in this district, there lived a demon called Pasetsu which was always causing trouble. The inhabitants prayed to the god of Mitsuishi and then the god bound the demon to the three rocks. The demon swore he would torment the people no more and that he would never com to this district again. The god made the demon put a handprint on one of the three rocks as the sign of his promise and then let the demon go.
It is said that the handprint on the three rocks (Mitsuishi) are the origin of the name of Iwate Prefecture (which literally means “rock-hand”).

At the temple are three very large rocks (go figure) and the handprints are very interesting.

From Mitsuishi we walked back to Kumagai Ryokan and proceeded to the train station to start our trek to Hakodate. We rode the shinkansen to Aomori then we had to switch to a train to go through the Seikan Tunnel, which actually travels underwater beneath the Tsugaru Strait from Northern Honshu to the Hokkaido region. The trip took at least three to four hours total and we had to buy the ticket for the train that travelled from Aomori to Hakodate because the JR East pass does not cover that area.

Hakodate

By the time we reached Hakodate it was getting dark, so we went to the next and most expensive ryokan, Ichinomatsu Ryokan, and dropped off our bags. In Hakodate the easiest way to get around is by trolley (streetcar, or tram), so at the station we bought two 1day tickets because we figured it would cost us less in the end as we would be riding more than three times. The cost to ride the trolley a single time was around 200 yen and the cost of the all day ticket cost 600 yen.

After we dropped off our luggage we headed to Mt. Hakodate and took the ropeway to the observatory which offered a 360 degree view of the city. A round trip ticket on the ropeway cost 1160 yen but the view was worth it. After coming back down the mountain we went on the walking tour in a pamphlet we obtained at the tourist information center. What is really nice about Hakodate is that first; it is much cooler temperature-wise than any of the previous cities we had visited, and second; at night I expect it is a seasonal thing) they light significant sites of the city for the tourists to take pictures of them at night from 8pm to 10pm I believe. Walking around the city was very refreshing and the sites were beautiful, the pictures will be on the flickr shortly.

We hopped back on the trolley to go back to the ryokan and went to sleep. In the next post I will detail what we did on our day in Hakodate then going back to Northern Honshu for our final leg of our Tohoku trip, visiting Kakunodate, the city of samurai residences, until then!

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