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October 18, 2013
Day 15 - Sanriku Coast

The Sanriku Coast (OC, Sanriku Kaigan) is a dramatic, rocky shoreline with countless bays, cliffs and coves. Stretching for over 200 kilometers along the Pacific Coast of the Tohoku Region, it spans Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.

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. Many lives were lost and buildings were destroyed. Although the reconstruction process is ongoing, many tourist sites reopened within just a few months of the disaster.

Today's Report
Sanriku Coast

A little something I found on Jodogahama beach!

After a great night at Jodogaham Park Hotel, complete with lovely sunset, walk on the beach and outdoor onsen today I had a very interesting day.In the morning I walked from Miyako station back to the hotel through a part of town that was very strongly hit by the tsunami.There is a lot of reconstruction work going on so you donft notice the devastation as much as you would have before, although the further away from the center I went the more empty plots I saw. And when I say empty I mean full of weeds and house foundations. So again, a very emotional moment, as there will no doubt be many more during these days on the coast.

Sadly, there are still a lot of empty plots around Miyako

After town, the walk took me up and down some of the little mountains of the Sanriku Reconstruction National Park and along a stunningly rugged coastline full of sharp cliffs, amazing little islands with the most improbable trees growing on what seems to be sheer rocks - yet somehow they hold.

Walking up a mountain of the Sanriku Nationa Park with my little friend from Oirase I received from Motegi-san yesterday

View of the port of Miyako and all the construction/recovery work going on in it.

Chilling on the beach at the end of the morning's walk.

Around noon I went back to the hotel and met Yamada-san of Iwate Prefecture, Imai-san, a local resident with the most incredible Tsunami stories, and Nemoto-san, the interpreter. We went for lunch then on a boat ride to see the landscapes. Not only did we spend a wonderful hour in the sun exploring the coast but we were also able to feed bred to an enormous amount of seagulls that were following the boat. Slightly scary though (remember the Hitchcock movie?) to have a huge flock of birds fighting for a little piece of bread youfre holding in your hand!

Imai-san bravely feeding the seagulls

Yamada-san and Nemoto-san on the boat

The predators

Incredibly intricate rock formations of one of the islands

Having survived the birds we then went to the lovely beach by Jodogahama rest house where Imai-san told us about the day of the tsunami. He had in fact been in that exact same place when the earthquake stroke. He ran out of the rest house building, saw that the water was receding (he could see the sea bed for several hundred meters) and remembered what old people had told him: water always recedes before a tsunami. Then, loudspeakers began giving warning of a 5 to 10 meter wave. By that time he had gathered all of the people of the area, packed them into a bus and sent them up the hill to the top of the mountain, where they would be safe.

Imai-san howing us a picture he took when the water was receding, just before the tsunami

As he went back down to help people get some of their belongings he saw the water - not a wave but the whole sea, as he told me - moving towards him, meter by meter, at an amazing speed. He managed to run up the hill, escaped the wave and then went searching for his children and his wife, whom he eventually found. We also showed us pictures of the exact spot we were standing at just before the tsunami as well as the devastation is caused. A truly incredible man, during three weeks he worked at cleaning the beach with other volunteers and since then has dedicated his life to teaching tourists - Japanese and foreigners alike - about the disastrous events of March 2011. As he so rightly told me: everybody has a duty in life, and his is to tell everyone what happened that day, that month, and since then.

Today's Program
Today's Walk: Walk to Jodogahama Beach

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Today's route starts at Miyako Station, leads through a coastal district which had been submerged by the tsunami, and heads towards the scenic Jodogahama Beach. Along the way we witness traces of the destruction caused by the disaster, as well as results of the ongoing rebuilding.

Date October 18, 2013
Start Time 9:00
Start Miyako Station
Goal Jodogahama Beach
Distance 5 kilometers (about 2 hours)
Terrain The first part of today's journey is an easy walk through Miyako City. Upon nearing Jodogahama, we traverse a nature trail with some moderate inclines, followed by pleasant pedestrian dedicated paths.
Weather Average daytime high: 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit)
Average nighttime low: 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weather Forecast for Miyako
Access The JR Yamada Line connects Miyako Station to Morioka Station. Hourly buses also operate between Miyako and Morioka. From Jodogahama, you can board a bus back to Miyako Station (15 minutes, 170 yen, 1-2 departures per hour).
More details on how to get to the Sanriku Coast
Lodgings Central Miyako is the ideal base for the walk, however there are only a small number of lodgings around the town. More accommodation choices can be found in nearby Morioka.
Search hotels in Miyako through Agoda or Japanican
Search hotels in Morioka through Agoda, or Japanican

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Daily Quiz
The deadline for answering the quiz question for day 15 has passed.

Which three prefectures does the Sanriku Coast span?

0%   Hokkaido, Aomori and Iwate
95%   Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi
5%   Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima
0%   Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki
0%   None of the above

The correct answer is: Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi

The Sanriku Coast spans Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.

Current Standings: (after 30 days)

28 Points: Csabba, AlexanderStankov
27 Points: gladhiola, almoehi, ZoomX2, mikaelus
26 Points: Rabbityama, Proxy707

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