Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Budget Travel


previous walk
next walk

October 22, 2013
Day 19 - Ishinomaki

Ishinomaki (Ί) is a fishing port city in Miyagi Prefecture. During the 2011 Tsunami, the city suffered the largest losses of life and property of any municipality, because much of the city's low lying waterfront districts and neighborhoods were inundated by the waves.

The rubble has since been removed in massive, extensive cleanup efforts, although much of the damaged waterfront has yet to be rebuilt.

Today's Report

Rebuilding lives

In Ishinomaki Ifm staying at Kikuchi ryokan, which is probably one of the friendliest places Ifve stayed in Japan. Yesterday evening we had a great home cooked meal and some nice local sake. Ifll talk more about them tomorrow and add some pictures. Ifve heard I might even get toast tomorrow for breakfast - very exciting!

Today we had a very interesting day walking through central Ishinomaki.
We met a lot of people at the station who were there to walk with us. There has never been as many people walking with me before so I was really happy.
There was a German japanologist, Michael, who is taking a 5 week holiday in Japan; a Japanese mother from Chiba prefecture who came with her two sons - all of which were wearing We Love Japan Tour t-shirts; Mitsui representatives, also in their t-shirts; some local Ishinomaki people as well. It was a very nice group and we walked for a couple of hours, through the city, up to the mountain where Ishinomaki people fled the tsunami.

Today's walking croud!

N1 supporters from Chiba

A plot of land in downtown Ishinomaki

There I had a chat with a very nice old man who showed me pictures of the tsunami he had taken himself. He and his wife were prepared for the evacuation and were used to drills and such so they left as soon as they heard the alarms. A lot of people however thought it was yet another practice drill and stayed home - and died. The views from the top of the mountain were impressive as we basically had a 360 view of the town and we could see exactly what had been destroyed - basically all the houses from the coast up to the mountain (it's a 10-15 minute walk from the sea to the base of the mountain, so imagine).

View of Ishinomaki from the top of the mountain. All the grass you see was full of house - but they were all washed away for the wave

Same here, in the worst hit part of town

A traditional house, still standing although rendered itoo dangerous to live in by the tsunami

Great thinking!

From there we continued our walk, had lunch and went to a recovery craft workshop in a volunteer organisation full of absolutely brilliant old ladies called Odattebaride. So full of energy! Theyfll outlive us all!

The great old ladies from Odattebaride

Using old kimonos donated to them from all around the country they make a vast array of things - from business card holders to necklaces or hand bags. They taught me how to make a business card holder - which was great because itfs the one thing Ifve been missing traveling through Japan. If the 2011 disaster had tought anything to the people of Ishinomaki it is the importance of adequately using resources - and this is something these ladies have mastered. Plus there was such a great atmosphere! Ifd love to be able to come back on a rainy Sunday and make things with them, joke and chat all afternoon while drinking a cup of tea and trying on kimonos..

my future business card holder


Just to clarify - it's actually a bag, not a hat!

This workshop activity is one of the many others supported by local NGO Oen no Shippo who built a website to try and centralise a databse of all small volunteer projects in town, like Odattebaride. Another one of them is a car sharing scheme for people having lost their houses (and there cars) to the tsunami. And the best part of it is that the cars run on used tempura oil, not petrol - so not only do the people get used oil for free but itfs also better for the environment. This is one of the things I found great about Ishinomaki - not only are they rebuilding the city but theyfre trying to do it in the most intelligent way possible, recycling as much as possible or finding more efficient ways of doing things, be it transport, shopping, ...

One of the vans of the Suton & Roly car sharing project in Ishinomaki. It uses old tempura oil as fuel.

A restaurant in the town hall building ran by old ladies, where we had lunch

Today's Program
Today's Walk: Visiting Ishinomaki and the areas affected by the 2011 Tsunami

Join this walk

Starting from Ishinomaki Station, we will walk down the main shopping street through the city, where you can see statues of some manga characters that were created by Ishinomori Shotaro, one of Japan's most prominent manga artists who was born in a nearby town.

As we approach the port area, we'll start heading south through residential neighborhoods to Hiyoriyama Park, a hilltop park at the center of the city that served as a refuge during the 2011 Tsunami. Today the park gives visitors good views of the heavily damaged river estuary and waterfront districts.

We will then head down the staircase that descends from the park into the damaged waterfront district and walk towards the city center, until we reach the Ishinomaki Machinaka Recovery Market which caters to both the local community and visiting tourists.

Finally, we will cross over the bridge and visit the egg shaped Ishinomori Manga Museum, which features works of artist Ishinomori Shotaro, creator of popular manga series such as Cyborg 009 and Kamen Rider.

Date October 22, 2013
Start Time 9:45
Start Ishinomaki Station
Goal Ishinomori Manga Museum (΃mX݉)
Distance 5 kilometers (about 2-3 hours)
Terrain The route leads almost entirely on paved city streets. There are some steep inclines, especially around the approach to Hiyoriyama Park, as well as several flights of steps down from the park to Ishinomaki's waterfront district.
Weather Average daytime high: 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit)
Average nighttime low: 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weather Forecast for Sendai
Access Ishinomaki lies on the JR Senseki Line from Sendai, however portions of the track are currently under repair. Instead take the JR Tohoku Line from Sendai to Kogota Station and change to the Ishinomaki Line to Ishinomaki (about 90 minutes, 820 yen). There are good connections every one or two hours, and a very small number of direct trains. The 7:46 local train connection from Sendai via Kogota Station will arrive in Ishinomaki at 9:25 in time for today's walk.

Alternatively, Miyagi Kotsu (Miyako) operates twice hourly buses between Sendai and Ishinomaki stations. The one way ride takes about 75 minutes and costs 800 yen. The 8:17 departure from Sendai Station (bus stop #33) will arrive at Ishinomaki Station at 9:35 in time for today's walk.
More details on how to get to Ishinomaki

Lodgings There are limited lodging options in Ishinomaki. Nearby Matsushima and Sendai offer more choices.
Search hotels in Ishinomaki through
Search hotels in Matsushima through Agoda, or Japanican
Search hotels in Sendai through Agoda, or Japanican

Join this walk

Today's Activity - Small Article Handicraft Workshop

We attend a workshop conducted by Odatte Baride, a community group formed by residents affected by the March 2011 disasters. As we make the handicrafts, we listen to the residents as they relate their experiences about the disasters, the setting up of this community group, and the current situation. We are scheduled to make name card holders from recycled Japanese clothing sent to the area as relief supplies during the disaster period.

Location Assemble at NPO Oen no Shippo Office 1st Floor (2-7-25 Tachi-machi Ishinomaki-shi Miyagi-ken), "Minna no Toshokan" See Google Map.
Time 13:30
Cost Free (Up to four participants accepted)


Daily Quiz
The deadline for answering the quiz question for day 19 has passed.

Born in the Ishinomaki region, Ishinomori Shotaro was one of Japan's most important mangaka. Which of the following manga series did Ishinomori not create?

3%   Kamen Rider
3%   Cyborg 009
90%   Astro Boy
0%   Sarutobi Ecchan
5%   None of the above

The correct answer is: Astro Boy

Astro Boy was created by Tezuka Osamu.

Current Standings: (after 30 days)

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

More about the quiz

Related Pages


Supporters of the We Love Japan Tour
The KOTOBUKI Society Copyright © 2013