Image credit: Gaijinpot / https://travel.gaijinpot.com/destination/tohoku/
3/11 would forever be associated with the Tohoku (東北) region in Japan. It was the day that changed this once lush, pristine region forever. Once revered for its results rich agricultural produce (e.g. rice and apples), large swathes of land along the coast stretching from Miyagi (宮城), Iwate (岩手) and Fukushima (福島) were devastated by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on 11 March, 2011 that triggered a massive tsunami. The radioactive fallout from the Dai-ichi nuclear power stations in Fukushima further rendered this zone a nuclear wasteland.
This year marks the 12th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. And the people of Tohoku have come a long way to rebuild all that they have lost – their homelands, their families, and their agricultural pride. And if you would like to help, there’s no better way to contribute to this region’s rejuvenation than to pay a visit.
Make Hollywood celebrity Ken Watanabe’s cafe K-PORT (https://lnkd.in/gheGhzmm) in Kesennuma (気仙沼), Miyagi Prefecture your first port of call. After a refreshing cup of Joe, trace your way along the coast northwards, and pay tributes at the memorials in Kamaishi (釜石), and Otsuchi (大槌町).
Once you are done with your shopping at the local farmer’s or seafood markets, it’s time to journey inland into the ski slopes and fine powder at the Tazawako Ski Resort (https://lnkd.in/gpWuc6G8). End your day with a rewarding soak at one of the many onsens scattered around beautiful Lake Tazawa (田沢湖).
If you’re feeling adventurous, drive up all the way to the “Gates of Hell” at Osorezan or Mount Osore 恐山 (literally translated as Scary Mountain) and Bodaiji Temple (恐山菩提寺), located at the “blade’s edge” of the axe-shaped Aomori Prefecture (青森県) and explore a landscape that is as other-worldly as it is enchanting. Incidentally, Aomori is also the host city of the Tohoku-Kizuna Festival (https://lnkd.in/gCYYj29v) this year – an initiative that dates back to 2011 to the rejuvenation of the Tohoku region. LT