Discover the Japan Adventure – Michinoku Coastal Trail – Sanriku Trail and Train

Discover the best of Japan Adventure tour, in Michinoku coastal trail with sustainable life.

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Discover the best of Japan adventure tour with a sustainable life.

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Hachinohe City to Tanesashi Coast

A day hike from the northernmost trailhead

Sat atop a small hill protruding into the Pacific, no other shrine in Japan looks quite like Kabushima. Not in gull breeding season at least. Then, from late February to early August, close to 30,000 gulls swirl and squawk on and above the shrine’s grounds, creating a very distinctive starting point for an epic hike.

That’s because, as well as being a protected breeding ground for birds and a place where fisherman have long come to pray for safety at sea, Kabushima Shrine now also marks the northernmost trailhead of the entire Michinoku Coastal Trail, from where it runs south for just over 1,000 kilometers until reaching Soma City in Fukushima.


Down the Coast to Tanesashi

Following the trail south from Kabushima for several hours offers a taster of the entire Michinoku Coastal Trail. From sandy beaches to the rocky reefs of Cape Tamurazaki, there is an incredible diversity of scenery.

After about 10 kilometers, the trail then winds its way to the striking Tanesashi Natural Lawn – once a pasture for horses but now a place where locals come to picnic, walk their dogs, and simply relax in nature. If you are hearty enough to brave a hike here when chilly winds whip off the ocean in winter, the reward is an expansive snowscape. In summer, with the grass a lush green and waves breaking onto the craggy shore, it almost feels like you’ve stepped onto a links golf course.

Of course, like any section of the Michinoku Coastal Trail, the journey from Hachinohe to Tanesashi has more to it than fresh air and views. Stop by the Tanesashi Kaigan Information Center and you’ll also find opportunities to immerse yourself in local culture. A tour desk at the Center can help arrange lunch tours to fisherman’s huts, bar hopping evenings back in central Hachinohe, outdoor yoga sessions, and many other activities. You can also pick up handy maps and get information from staff at the Center about conditions on the trail ahead.

Planning a Hachinohe to Tanesashi hike

For more on this part of the trail, the Ministry of the Environment’s Michinoku Coastal Trail website has a downloadable, one-day hiking guide that outlines the key sites along the way, but also details trail etiquette, lists emergency contact numbers, and offers tips of what gear to bring: everything you need to stay safe and enjoy the journey.

Local Flavor Before Hitting the Trail

The Michinoku Coastal Trail was created not just as a means to protect nature and help revitalize the communities along the coast, but to be a pathway through which travelers can connect with locals. There’s arguably no better place for that than the restaurant-packed yokocho of Hachinohe.

The term yokocho literally means alleyway but across Japan is also used to describe side streets packed with small bars and restaurants. In the center of Hachinohe are more than half a dozen of them, including Miroku Yokocho and its 26 counter-seat-only eateries, each so cramped they can just about squeeze in seven or eight customers sat shoulder to shoulder. Friendly and lively, the yokocho atmosphere can melt any language barrier, while the eateries themselves offer up all sorts of local specialties, from freshly landed squid and mackerel to warming senbei-jiru hotpots.

If you are in Hachinohe on a weekend, it’s also worth setting an early Sunday alarm for the Tatehana Wharf Morning Market, to see where some of the produce used at Miroku Yokocho comes from. With close to 300 stalls that between them sell everything from seafood and farm produce to regional street food, it’s a must-visit for any foodie.