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For a fantastic day trip, head out of the station to the second light [the first is immediate] and take a right. About two blocks down is a red ramen shop that is popular with local celebrities. The gyoza [dumplings] are really great.
Another suggestion for ramen is Kurukuru Ken, which you get to by heading the same directions as before, but take a left just before the walking bridge. Its down that street on the left, a huge tanuki outside [racoon lookin guy with big balls] Both places are open 7am to 630pm. Tuesdays are closed.
After you pass KuruKuru Ken, head down that street a couple blocks until you hit a light [T intersection]. Take a left. Almost immediately you will hit another light, and the main 'lantern street' of Kitakata. There are many shops on this street.
If you head back to the T intersection and walk right down that road, there is a good antique shop to browse [on the right] and you will see the government office on your left... pretty big. If you are lost. The Shi-Ack-Sho [city office] is a good place to get back to.
After the government office is a car bridge, pass over it and you will see MaMaDoRu on your right, at the corner. It is a nice bakery. Continue straight down the road until you Pass Toyopet [the Toyota car dealership with a huge R2D2 in the window] and you will come to a light. [gas station on the opposite right of this light]
Take a left. This road has tons of Kura [the famous storehouses that many guidebooks talk about] where sake is being brewed. Feel free to wander into these shops [you know it is a sake factory when it has a giant pine ball outside]
One of the first ones, about 2 blocks down on the right, will give you a tour in English and the sake is made using different song vibrations. A real interesting find.
When you have had enough wandering, head back the other direction of the street. This will make you pass a huge department store and then sweet bakery and chinese ramen place on the right, and the gas station, AU phone place on the left.
When you hit the chinese ramen place, there will be a right. Walk down this street about a block. There is a used clothing store, ODEN, which sells really nice clothes for cheap! Check it out. The neighboring shoe store is a real find as well.
For dinner, there are several options (Dinner locales are open from about 6pm until midnight):
Yaki niku [you grill different choices of beef etc in front of you] at Ringo-en. Ringo-en is the farthest out, but easy to find, from the corner with the chinese ramen shop!
Tempura and Katsu [breaded chicken, pork, shrimp etc, make your own sauce] at Maruyama. Maruyama has a yellow building with a torch burning outside.
Yaki Tori [meat on a stick, loads of choices and huge beers. Great atmosphere. Guaranteed drunk japanese men] at Tamagawas. Tamagawas has a big red lantern outside and is right next to the city hall.
Gourmet style Japanese food [soba, salads, meat.. everything] at G. English Menu. GREAT staff. G is a bit hard to find but worth the time. just know its near a small park, a little temple and a lot of alleys.
If you get lost, ask a taxi driver to take you there. Taxis are always ready to leave at the station. Also, a restaurant can call one for you.