The biggest city out of all those merged into Osaki-city is Furukawa. It is located about 50km north of Sendai, 40km west of Ishinomaki and about 60km south of Ishinoseki. The city itself is big in comparison to the other cities in the rural area. About 75000 people (2006) live in Furukawa that measures 134.14km in diameter. Although fairly unknown to people from southern Japan, Furukawa is known by people living in the Tohoku region since it has its own Shinkansen (bullet-train) station. It also has its own Jusco (Aeon), which is a fairly big store that inherits a supermarket, fashion shops, book and music stores, a bike and shoe shops, a restaurant, a drug store ………… well basically all you need. This is why people from other towns are visiting Furukawa frequently.
Two major companies are located in Furukawa. One is YKK which is the world’s largest zipper manufacturer and the other is ALPS Electric which is a supplier for the electric and automotive industry. Many people from other towns commute to Furukawa because they work at these companies. Well actually YKK is located between Furukawa and Sanbongi… 😉

古川市の位置
Area: 134.14km
Inhabitants: 75000~
Postcode: 〒989-6188
Telephone: 0229-23-2111

Location

Furukawa is more like a big town than a small city. It is far spread, but there are only few buildings that are higher than 4 stories. It is surrounded by rice-fields, and some of the rice-fields are actually right in the middle of the town. So it actually doesn’t feel like 75000 people live there, it feels more like 30000 or so. The main roads are always quite busy, but apart from them Furukawa is really quiet, especially during night-time. For party-loving people this might be a downside, but because of the location of Furukawa you have all the different nature within a 50km radius. Big mountains for hiking, biking and skiing, rivers for fishing and relaxing, rice fields for the “that’s Japan” feeling and the see-side for hot summer days (Well at least until 03/11). If you aren’t in for sport activities there are plenty of amusement and arcade stores within Furukawa.

Living in Furukawa

Accommodation

Furukawa doesn’t really invite you for a short stay. There are a hand full of hotels (e.g. Tokyo-inn) which are fairly expensive and a few love-hotels that will cost the same.
If you are planning to stay a little longer you can rent a monthly apartment like LeoPalace. If you only stay for about a month they are still fairly expensive, but water, gas, electricity and internet are all inclusive. And they come with “some” furniture (for details see my report about LeoPalace). If you get a 12 or 24 month contract they are probably the most reasonable way to stay in rural areas like Furukawa. Other choices would be normal apartments in 4-apartment buildings or apartments in big mansion like buildings. There is also the possibility to rent your own house (2 year contract), but most of them are quite old (and really cold during winter) or very expensive.

Shopping

Shopping in Furukawa

Shopping in Furukawa

Basically there are 4 major places you should know about when you are looking for places to buy food and other stuff. The biggest one is Jusco. Apart from that there are many stores located on route 4 west of Furukawa, on route 108 right in the middle of Furukawa and finally Loku-town which is located north of Furukawa. The biggest supermarkets are “Jusco” and “The Big” which both are part of the Aeon company and because of that you’ll find no difference in prices. There are other supermarkets spread all over Furukawa that sometimes offer better deals for meat and fish, but are usually more expensive when it comes to bread and vegetables. There are also days with special offers, so you should keep them in mind in order to get cheap fruits, meat, bentos, and so on.

Restaurants

Since most of the Japanese like to eat out, there is a wide range of restaurants located in Furukawa. Many Izakayas are located in the middle of Furukawa and there are many family restaurants, fast food restaurants, yaki-niku-restaurants, sushi-retaurants and so on, spread all over Furukawa. Most of them are located at route 108 and 4 though.

Activities

If you’re not the sports-type than you’ll have to find other ways of amusement in Furukawa. One of these places is Funky-times. Here you can play darts, billard and arcade games or read Mangas or surf the Internet for 500yen/h. You also get free drinks and ice-cream there and it is open 24h. There are many other arcade centers at route 4 or in loku-town and you you’ll find plenty of dvd-rental stores and book-stores. This doesn’t sound like much, but if you are actually living and working in Furukawa, you will spend most of your time at home or leave Furukawa on the weekends.

Night-Life

Well, as stated before, if you are the party-loving type you’ll probably be disappointed in Furukawa. There are some places to go out in Furukawa on weekends, but most of them are drinking bars or snack bars. Most of the bars are located here:
If you don’t know what snack-bars are, do a short research on the internet before you go 😉 If you still want to go, you’re either Japanese, Japan-ized or in for some new experience 😉
There are no discos in Furukawa, but from time to time some drinking bars are having events (like reggae events).
Most of the drinking bars also offer food and sometimes a nomi-hodai course, which basically means drinking as much as you like (not all drinks are on the nomi-hodai menu), for about 60 – 120 minutes for a set price (e.g. 3000yen). Sometimes you can also get an extension which usually costs less. If you want to drink out, this is probably the most reasonable way to go with. Usually 1 beer costs about 500-600yen. You have to be careful though. Some bars offer nomi-hodai only. So you’re in for a surprise if you only order 1-2 drinks and have to pay the price for the nomi-hodai afterwards. So always check if something is written at the entrance or just ask the barkeeper beforehand 😉

Pictures of Furukawa:


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