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The Sanriku Coast (OC, Sanriku Kaigan) is a dramatic, rocky shoreline with countless bays, cliffs and coves that stretches for over 200 kilometers along the Pacific Coast of the Tohoku Region, spanning Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. Due to its natural beauty, the coastline has long been a popular tourist attraction, and a considerable part of it has been designated as national park (Sanriku Recovery National Park).

The Sanriku Coast has periodically been struck by large tsunami. On March 11, 2011, the strongest ever recorded earthquake in Japan triggered a huge tsunami that hit the Pacific Coast of northeastern Japan and was particularly destructive along the Sanriku Coast. In total, nearly 20,000 lives were lost, and tens of thousands of buildings were washed away. Many cities along the Sanriku Coast lost entire districts, while several towns and villages were almost completely destroyed.

The reconstruction process is ongoing and will take many more years, as many displaced residents continue to live in temporary housing. On the other hand, roads and utilities were restored within months, and services such as shopping centers and restaurants reopened in temporary structures. Many tourist sites also reopened within just a few months of the disaster, and tourism is considered one of the best ways to revitalize the area.

Top attractions in Sanriku Coast

Town/Neighborhood

Kesennuma

Fishing port town heavily hit by the tsunami.
83%
37
Town/Neighborhood

Minamisanriku

One of the worst hit towns along the coast.
75%
23
Town/Neighborhood

Ishinomaki

Port city badly affected by the tsunami.
75%
46
Town/Neighborhood

Kamaishi

The birthplace of the iron industry in Japan.
16
Town/Neighborhood

Shiogama

Fishing town between Sendai and Matsushima.
63%
28
Town/Neighborhood

Miyako

Port city known for its Jodogahama Beach.
14

Access and Orientation

Page last updated: July 15, 2016