Earthquake Heritage Taro Kanko Hotel: reminder of tragedy

Just off the main highway in the fishing port town of Taro, north of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture, stands a curious, derelict-looking building. Derelict buildings are not particularly unusual in Japan, but in this area, which was flooded by the tsunami of March 11, 2011, most buildings are new; their predecessors either destroyed by the … Continue reading Earthquake Heritage Taro Kanko Hotel: reminder of tragedy

Sightseeing in Post-disaster Iwate’s Miyako: Tragedy and Natural Beauty Together

This article features the town of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture, in an area badly hit by the earthquake/tsunami 9+ years ago. Reconstruction is ongoing and "disaster tourists" will find interesting remnants of that sad day. The natural beauty of the coast seems to have bounced back more quickly than humans have, so there is beautiful … Continue reading Sightseeing in Post-disaster Iwate’s Miyako: Tragedy and Natural Beauty Together

Iwate’s Ichinoseki: a way station worth checking out

Travelers bound for Hiraizumi, with its World Heritage sites dating back a thousand years, usually change from the Shinkansen to the local train at Ichinoseki and are often so intent on their final destination that they miss the delights Ichinoseki has to offer. But spare a few hours to explore; you won't be disappointed. Ichinoseki's … Continue reading Iwate’s Ichinoseki: a way station worth checking out

Towada-ko: Exploring a northern crater lake

A water-filled volcanic crater is a thing to behold.  One spectacular example in Japan is Lake Towada which sits on the border between Aomori and Akita Prefectures.  Here one finds a crater within a crater and a volcano that vulcanologists regard as still active even though it hasn't erupted in a millenium. Sitting 690 meters … Continue reading Towada-ko: Exploring a northern crater lake

Kamaishi Kannon: guardian goddess and witness to history

The small city of Kamaishi, on the Sanriku coast of Iwate Prefecture, for more than a century a thriving center of Japan's steel production is, these days, supported by fisheries, shellfish farms, and eco-tourism.  It was badly impacted by the 2011 Tohoku disaster, with the tsunami waters reaching 4.3 meters, easily breaching the Kamaishi Tsunami Protection … Continue reading Kamaishi Kannon: guardian goddess and witness to history

Hachinohe Bouillabaisse Festa – absolutely a reason to go north in winter

I'm not very fond of cold weather, which is perhaps one reason I particularly love the soothing steam of a good hot bowl of soup when I come in from the cold. I daresay I'm not alone in these sentiments. The Tohoku region of Japan, famously cold and snowy in winter, has many hearty winter … Continue reading Hachinohe Bouillabaisse Festa – absolutely a reason to go north in winter