Do you remember about the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011? More than 15,000 people died in the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s Tohoku region. For the Japanese, it is a tragedy that can never be forgotten. Currently, the Tohoku region is undergoing rapid reconstruction. On the other hand, the number of tourists visiting the disaster area is increasing. The travelers feel the fear of nature that robbed the lives of many people and at the same time they are surprised that the nature is so beautiful. While the inhabitants of the afflicted area memorize the fear of nature, they appreciate that nature gives them a lot of grace and working hard for the reconstruction. On this page, I will introduce Sanriku (East Coast of the Tohoku region), which was particularly heavily damaged in Tohoku district. There, the ocean that returned to a gentle look is very beautiful, and the smile of residents living strongly is impressive. Why do not you travel the Tohoku region (Especially Sanriku) to meet such residents?
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The tsunami thoroughly destroyed many cities
At 14:46 on March 11, 2011, the earthquake took away the peaceful lives of people in the Tohoku region in a moment. At that time, I worked at a newspaper company in Tokyo. I was on the 26th floor. The floor where I was, kept shaking like a boat that took a big wave. There were a lot of TVs on my floor. On that TV screen, there were cars running on the road. The tsunami hit the cars one after another. We could not do anything.
In the Great East Japan Earthquake, more than 15,000 people died. 90% of which was drowning due to the tsunami.
On the east coast of the Tohoku region, such a large earthquake occurs once every several hundred years, causing serious damage by the tsunami. For this reason, the inhabitants have inherited the lesson that “If a major earthquake occurs, escape to the hill anyway.” They have been told that “Even if you leave your family, run away.” Someone has to survive. However, they can not escape leaving their families and neighbors behind. Even in this earthquake, there were many people who were sacrificed without escaping to save people around them.
Miki who died in order to rescue residents
Many people stayed to help those around them, so they were sacrificed. Minami Sanriku town employee, Miki Endo (then 24 years old) was one of them. In a government building in Minami Sanriku-cho, she kept shouting to the inhabitants using the microphone “Please escape to the hill as soon as possible”. If you look at the YouTube video posted at the beginning of this page, you can hear her voice. However, that voice disappears on the way. She died of the tsunami.
Miki got married in July 2010 and planned to have a wedding ceremony in September 2011. She was a very gentle and bright woman. The big earthquake and the tsunami easily took away the life of such kind person.
Minami Sanriku Town was devastated by the tsunami. However, the surviving residents are beginning to make a new city. If you go to Minami Sanriku-cho, you can see the building where Miki was. You will be able to meet many tender inhabitants. They never despair.
Regeneration of the Tohoku region
The afflicted areas are gradually beginning to walk down the road of reconstruction. If you look at the YouTube videos below, you can see the current state of Disaster Areas in Tohoku.
Many young people migrate from the Tokyo and other areas to the affected areas. They are interacting with the affected elderly people and trying to create a new community.
Tohoku nature is still beautiful and people are friendly
Along the east coast of the Tohoku region, there is a small railroad “Sanriku Railway” about 100 kilometers north and south. This railroad supported the people’s lives of Sanriku, but it was destroyed by the tsunami. Restoring this railroad was very important to people in Sanriku. Many people cooperated with each other to resume the operation of the railroad.
The official website of Sanriku Railway is below.
Below, we will introduce the sites of famous local hotels that provide easy-to-understand tourist information for Sanriku.
There are many beautiful sights in Japan. To shoot the perfect landscape for posting to Instagram, it is also true that there are sightseeing spots more suitable than Tohoku. However, in the Tohoku area now, there is a nature that looks more beautiful, and a smile of wonderful residents because it has overcome difficult times. If you want to taste deep emotion in Japan, I recommend traveling in the Tohoku region, especially Sanriku. Why do not you face the beautiful sea of Sanriku?
Incidentally, “Sanriku” is the name of the coastline of Aomori, Iwate, and Miyagi prefectures in northern Japan (Tohoku region). It is also called the Sanrikukaigan (Sanriku Coast).
Thank you for reading to the end.