What's at steak?

  • Published
  • By Seimon Bernard
  • Aomori liaison
You don't need a round-trip ticket back to the United States to enjoy country music and dancing and big slice of beef. Just head out to Takko Town Sept. 29 and 30 for their 22nd Annual Garlic and Beef Festival and enjoy Texas barbecue Japanese style.

Nestled in the foothills of Aomori's mountains just southeast of Lake Towada, the town's delicious beef is known throughout Japan. Drinking natural spring water is just one of the secrets of the health of the high quality Japanese Black cows.

Takko Town's other claim to fame is that they are the No. 1 producer of garlic in Japan.
Because of this, they have established sister city relationships with other internationally famous garlic producing areas such as Gilroy, Calif., Monticelli, Italy, and Seosan, Korea.

Each year student and music exchanges take place. These community members also attend each other's festivals, giving the two-day extravaganza a very international flavor.
This year also the Garlic Queen of Gilroy and her entourage will be there.

Each October the main event at the festival is the Yakiniku party with Takko beef, which you can season with specially produced garlic sauce to enhance the flavor. Taking place at the 2-2-9 DOME (pronounced ni-ni-ku, the same word for garlic in Japanese) just at the bottom of the ski lift, the in and outdoor venues means no matter what the weather brings, everyone can remain warm and dry.

There will be a lot of entertainment lineup includes games for children as well as a bouncy house. There will be country dance shows, garlic spitting contest, garlic sumo and garlic putting. Other shows include the Nanyadoyara bon dance dating back 630 years, the Takko Kangura dance and the Yosakoi Soran dancers. There will also be a raffle each day for all advance ticket holders for the barbecue with lots of great prizes. English interpreters will also be available.

The entrance to the festival is free, but to participate in the barbecue you should buy an advanced ticket. This will ensure you a big slice of the mouth watering Takko beef. Advanced ticket holders will receive beef and veggies for you to cook. Do-it-yourself cooking areas will be set up at the site.

To get an advanced ticket, go to the Misawa ITT and pay $18 or the information booth at Shimoda Mall and pay 2,000 yen. If you are not able to get an advanced ticket, it will not be possible to get on in the barbecue. Misawa ITT will also have a shuttle bus from the base to the venue Sept. 29. Call 226-3555 for more information.

It goes without saying there will be a lot of booths selling many different kinds of Japanese foods and drinks. A group of country line dancers from Misawa will be on hand Saturday to get your feet happy starting at 1 p.m. Again there will be lots of events for children as well!

If after the festival you are still in an adventurous mood, you can drive the road up higher to the top of the ski lift for a breathtaking autumn colored view. There is also a yakiniku restaurant at the top there. Allow yourself some time so you can also visit the famous Miroku waterfalls by going back down to Route 104, turning right and driving about 20 more minutes.

It takes about an hour and a half to get to Takko  from Misawa Air Base. Go out the Falcon Gate -- also called the POL gate--and start counting lights. Turn left at the 13th light to get on the Dai Ni (No.2) Michinoku Expressway. At the first toll booth, pay 250 yen and get a ticket. Get off at the second exit called Hachinohe Kita (north). 

After paying the toll, go to the light and turn right. After 2.8km turn left onto the off ramp, go down to the light and turn right. Follow this road (you will go by the Hachinohe Fish Market on your left side) 4km. and turn right at the light (big pachinko parlor on corner), you will now be on Route 104. Go 14 km. (you will go through Nagawa Town, now known as Nanbu Town) and turn left onto Route  4. Go 13 km. and turn left onto the off ramp (you will be in Sannohe Town). Go to stop sign and turn right, you are back on Route 104. Go 9.3 km and turn right onto Route  21(this turn off is just past the three stoplights in Takko Town). Follow this narrow road 6.7km and turn left at the fork (right before this turn there is an English sign for Soyu mura) another 1.5 km up the road turn right and you will be at the Festival!

To get to Miroku Waterfalls: Go back down Route 21 and turn right on Route 104 go 15.1km (you will pass a light at the 9km mark) and turn left at the sign for Miroku Falls, go another 5km park and walk three to four minutes over to the waterfall. Drive carefully.


September 29
10:30 Opening ceremony
11:00 Garlic Putting Contest, Garlic Sumo, Garlic Spitting Contest
12:00 Hawaiian Dance Show
12:30 Kangura Dance
13:00 Misawa Country Line Dancers
14:00 Raffle
14:30 Naniyadoyara Dance
15:00 Close

September 30
10:30 Opening
11:00 Garlic Putting Contest, Garlic Sumo, Garlic Spitting Contest
11:30 Garlic Queen Paper, Rock, Scissors Contest
12:00 Karaoke
13:00 Sekirei Kai Dance
13:30 Takko Team Country Dance
14:00 Raffle
14:20 Yosakoi Soran Dance
15:00 Close