Rikuchū Kaigan National Park


'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
Pardon the quality of the pictures - you get to choose your day, but not the weather that goes with it.

Part of reason for going to the Goishi Coast is the getting there. And in this case, my wife wanted to see what happened to one of her childhood homes - this one in Ofunato.

We used a JR pass to get to Ichinoseki. The train to the coast is still out of service 2 years later. So we rented a car. This picture below is looking west from Inchinoseki:


The first town on the coast is Rikuzentakata. This town of 26,000 was wiped out. Confirmed dead is about 1,300. Driving into town a forest of large backhoes were visible on the north side. The two roads (343 and 45) were built up with asphalt by about 2 feet - layer upon layer, as the ground had sunk about 0.84 m (2.75 ft). The GPS showed roads to the left and right - none remained. Only about 4 piles of debris remain - still being gone through by hand - spead out on the former slab foundations of swept away buildings.

Further inland but still inundated, the agricultural terraces were being stripped of their topsoil, the terraces rebuilt, and either cleansed or new topsoil returned. UPDATE: The rebuilding process has started in a most unusual way - they have built a major conveyor system to move land-fill in for the purpose of raising the whole town by 10 meters - projected completion date 2018.


Three buildings still remain. This one was a hotel for the once beach oriented tourist trade (not many good beaches in this part of Japan. The beach is not accessible for the last two years.


The famous sole surviving pine tree out of 70 on the Takata-Matsubara beach at Rikuzentakata. Unfortunately, it appears to be dying because the subsidence may have permitted salt water intrusion into its root system. UPDATE: The tree died, and it turns out that is picture is of the replacement structure as a "commemorative tree."

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'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
The Goishi Peninsula is just north of Rikuzentakata. Access is free. The first part of the trail along the coast is easy. But as the trail heads north, it becomes very steep.



Note the blow hole

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'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass

Not many campers in Japan - and the closest I could come to honoring the Sprinter theme of this forum. It is a Toyota, 4-wheel drive. Over the course of this trip I saw 3 of them, two in this area and another in Oita-ken.

One of many small ports that were rebuilt after the tsunami, this one also in the Park. The pier was not badly damaged. It was substantial, and must have cost a mint to originally build. All the sea weed processing machinery is new, as are all the boat winches and the boats' out board motors. Not visible are extensive road repair and large terraces of dredged material. Also must have cost a mint. I cannot believe that sea weed revenues will ever pay for the repair costs already expended. Note how all the trees survived here.

Same small sea port from the other side. The elevation is about 70 feet above sea level. Note the land has been scraped free of debris.

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'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
Ofunato was the next stop. Ofunato also sank about – 0.73 m (2.39 ft). After the fact observations put the tsunami wave height at 9.5 m (31 ft). Notwithstanding the height of the wave, we couldn't see much of the damage (at least compared to Rikuzentakata). The railroad berms seemed to have saved a lot on the west side of the berms. As elsewhere, the roads have been built up to account for the fall in the level of the land - here also tens of thousands of sand bags bordering the roads - not so much to keep water off but trash off. Below is some final demolition. Behind this building and on the hill is the Catholic Church and (at least in the 1960's) the associated elementary level parochial school.

My wife's father worked as a cement chemist at this plant. It is one of the largest in Japan, and it was in full production. Also, her old house was untouched - protected behind a high railroad berm.

Kesennuma to the south of Rikuzentakata. It sank -0.74 m (2.42 ft). All the flat land was wiped clean. This large fishing boat was braced into the place it was pushed - clearly intended for a future memorial.


The shopping area for the housing on the sides of the mountain in Kesennuma was on the flat land - and wiped out. This is a temporary shopping center with a small grocery, convenience store, drug store, and various other items. Built in the (in)famous Japanese industrial temporary building architecture. The owner of the grocery store stated that the land was condemned for building purposes, but there was no idea as to what was going to be done with the land or when the stores had to move.


A memorial to the dead in Kesennuma.
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You may well regard your photos as less than good in regards to the weather though in my estimation they bring out the subtle character of the places you traveled. The ones of the Goishi Peninsula are exquisite, in my opinion, the coastal captures reminding me of the Oregon coast though even more raw, rugged & wild. Cool little Toyota RV, wish they'd federalize those here.

Thanks for sharing a decent glimpse of how Japan is recovering well along with the good commentary. Oregon may well be next in line for such an event.​



06 Tin Can
My wife (and I) want to go to Japan one of these days. Just have to figure out what to with the kids. We'd like to have them with us on the experience, but I'm sure the plane tickets for four will break the bank!

Awesome pictures!


HK, thanks for sharing your trip. My wife isfrom Japan, but way south in Oita / Bepu. We have some freinds in the North (tokyo area), and some whom live in the Fukushima area.
Fortunatley all our our family and freinds survived, loss of some material possesion and such, but survived.
The devistation that the tidel wave created is mind blowing to me, and probably many. So many lives affected.

I appreciate your post and photos. Derek


'02 140 Hi BlueBlk Pass
Almost 10 years after the tsunami, Ofunato (noted above) reports that their last 20 people in emergency housing have left. It seems they were waiting to rebuild their homes, but they finally gave up (I speculate because their lots were no longer buildable).


New member
Thanks for the pictures!
Luv the shot of the Toyota Rv. So typical Japanese!
Did you use it or you just saw it?

I worked in Japan, working in construction many years ago and enjoyed my time there very much!

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