Aircraft Spotting in Japan - Matsushima

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Day 2, Sendai - Matsushima, 30/10

After a short night, during which we heavily felt the jet lag and woke up several times our first day in Japan began early at 6 o'clock in the morning. After some souvenir photos in front of the youth hostel we made our way to the civil airport of Sendai. The schedule for that day was already very strict because we also wanted to go to Matsushima airbase.
During half an hour on a grey and hazy morning we took some photos of, for European relations, rare civil aircraft at Sendai and continued to Matsushima.

Sendai Airport

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Matsu 3Arriving at the Matsushima airbase there we were welcomed by three F-4EJ Phantoms taking off and disappearing in the clouds. That sight pleased us a lotbut originally we came there to see the blue Mitsubishi F-2Bs trainer aircraft of Rinji F2B Hikotai. The morning was already busy with 7 F-2Bs and we experienced our first control at a military airfield:
Matsu 2"Excuse me, may I ask you one question?" "When did you arrive?" "When will you leave?" "May we take a photo of you?" Nothing to be afraid of, the two officers were really polite and very obliging and also allowed us to continue taking photos while they checked our passports. Fortunately we already prepared some copies of our passports at home together with our tour schedule and an explanation what we were doing. That was even translated in Japanese. These papers helped us a lot of times during our trip to finish the checks in no time.


Matsushima Airbase

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Matsu 1During the morning it cleared up and the 4 Recce-Phantoms from Hyakuri that we spotted on the ramp in the morning even caught some sunshine during their take-off. When there was no activity we took photos of dragonflies and spotted spiders. Up in the air in the afternoon were also 8 F-2Bs and we changed to the other side of the airfield to take some photos during taxiing. Unfortunately the clouds came out again and we noticed that it did not make a lot of sense to continue photography after 4pm up in the north of our trip at that time of the year. Regarding the fact that we still had a very long drive towards Misawa it was even better to leave early.
Matsu 4Once again our supper was a noodle soup in a highway restaurant. We have already planned a stay at a youth hostel near Misawa, which we did find quite fast, but unfortunately it was closed at that time of the year. Bad luck and time for our first encounter with one of the famous "Love Hotels": the stay at the "Lake Hotel" near Mukaiyama was not too bad and we even had a warm room and a hot shower there. Paying for the room (5.800Yen) though was a bit difficult, as we could not communicate very well with the owner. During the rest of the trip we should find out that this was one of the best and even cheapest hotels during our trip!

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