8 Awesome Places to Check Out Along the Sanriku Coast of Japan

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  • The Sanriku Coast stretches for over 200 kilometers along the Pacific Coast of the Tohoku region. The shoreline possesses wonderful natural beauty and is a popular tourist destination. A considerable part of Sanriku Coast has already been designated as a national park, which is called the Sanriku Fukko National Park. The area is home to a lot of beautiful spots that tourists can visit, and in this article are some of them!

    1. Hiyoriyama Park

    Hiyoriyama Park can be found on top of a hill, with a magnificent view of the city, the Kitakami River estuary, and the Pacific Ocean. On a day with good weather, Matsushima Islands and Mt. Zao can also be seen from here.

    This park is considered as the best cherry blossom viewing spot in Ishinomaki, with over 400 cherry blossom trees.

    Hiyoriyama Park Website *Automatic translation available
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    2. Ishinomaki Mangattan Museum

    The Ishinomaki Mangattan Museum is located in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and is dedicated to the works of Ishinomori Shotaro. He is the creator of several famous manga series like Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009. In the museum, his artworks, comics, and statues are all displayed for people to appreciate.

    Ishinomaki Mangattan Museum Website
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    3. Rias Ark Museum of Art

    The Rias Ark Museum of Art is another place built on top of a hill that overlooks Kesennuma, one of the bigger cities along the Sanriku Coast. This museum specializes in contemporary art and local history.

    Just like Noah’s Ark, the Rias Ark Museum of Art aims to be a repository of local art and history. The museum’s permanent collection focuses on Miyagi artists, but there also works from non-local artists that are displayed.

    Rias Ark Museum of Art Website *Japanese only
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    4. Iron and Steel History Museum

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    The Iron and Steel History Museum is a museum dedicated to the iron and steel industry of Kamaishi City. Japan’s first blast furnaces were built in the city and there is actually a model of a blast furnace in the museum’s theater, with a video presentation that explains the iron and steel mining history of the city.

    Iron and Steel History Museum Website *Automatic translation available
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    5. Kamaishi Daikannon

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    This 48.5-meter tall statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, is the main reason why people should visit the Kamaishi Daikannon Temple. The Daikannon is holding a fish and facing towards the sea to watch over the sailors and bless them with a bountiful catch.

    Visitors have to pay a small fee, and with that, they are free to explore the statue and climb up to the observation deck.

    Kamaishi Daikannon Website *Japanese only
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    6. Tashiro Island

    Tashiro Island is famously known as the “Cat Island.” Visitors have to take a one-hour ferry ride from central Ishinomaki to reach Tashiro Island.

    The island is home to many felines, which were first brought to help with pest control in the silkworm farms. Since then, the feline population has outnumbered the human population residing on the island.

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    7. Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market

    Shiogama is considered as one of Japan’s most famous fishing ports, so it has a large fishing industry.

    Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market is a publicly accessible wholesale fish market, full of shops that sell all kinds of fresh and processed seafood products. It is also known for having the most sushi restaurants per capita in Japan.

    Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market Website
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    8. Sant Juan Bautista

    Sant Juan Bautista is a replica of the ship commissioned by Date Masamune during the Edo period. The original ship was a Japan-built, Spanish-style galleon. Visitors can board the replica ship and explore it.

    There is also a museum where the history of the ship and its construction can be found.

    Sant Juan Bautista Website *Japanese only
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    While the Sanriku Coast has periodically been hit by tsunamis, with the biggest one in March 2011, restoration and reconstruction have been undergoing ever since. The rehabilitation of most of the tourist sites were finished within months, and tourists have been continuously visiting the area. Tourism is the best way to contribute to the new start of the Sanriku Coast, so it would be great if you could visit these spots soon!