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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Fudai Village to Tanohata Village

The Michinoku Coastal Trail in a nutshell

The Michinoku Coastal Trail can be walked in one epic, 1,000-kilometer hike, but also offers dozens of sections ideal for one- or two-day adventures. Take the 26 kilometers of trail in Fudai and Tanohata villages: with local markets, fishing ports, sweeping clifftop views, sandy beaches, wooded pathways, friendly inns, and so much else, it packs in many of the elements that make the Michinoku Coastal Trail so special.


The Flavors of Fudai

Hiking through Fudai, there’s a good chance you will meet Tokio and Ruriko Aisa, a husband-and-wife team running a small market called Kiraumi. Located right on the trail and being the only building by the picturesque Fudaihama Beach, it’s impossible to miss. The Aisas opened Kiraumi after the 2011 tsunami, as the part of the community effort to rebuild their village. Today, it serves as a casual meeting place for locals, but also somewhere hikers can get a taste of local food culture.

“We are a small village, but we have a lot of delicious food for travelers to try – that’s something I hope hikers will remember Fudai for,” says Ruriko. “At Kiraumi, we sell the fish my husband catches, as well as regional specialties such as bottles of salted sea urchin and wakame seaweed.”

“We have lots of seasonal produce along the northern Sanriku Coast,” adds Tokio, who has been a fisherman for close to 40 years, just as his father and grandfather were before him. “But I also want people to come and walk on the natural beaches here and think, ‘It’s so beautiful, the water is so clear and blue.’ I hope the beauty of this place remains in their memory.”

Nedarihama to Kurosaki

Not long after Fudaihama, there is plenty more natural beauty on show. After following a main road by newly built port facilities and floodgates, the trail reaches an ocean-hugging stretch called Nedarihama, where you walk close to waves crashing into the base of precipitous cliffs. You feel, hear and inhale the scents of the ocean here. Gulls and birds of prey fly above. Look out to sea and there are fishing boats on the horizon.

It’s sensory, but also adventurous, with patches of trail passing through dank, hand-dug tunnels, up and down ladders, and across beaches where you might well find yourself dodging breaking waves – very different to most coastal hikes.

Then there’s a short, but steep climb up the cliffs, where you could break for the night at Kurosaki-so, one of many municipality-run inns along the trail: in this case, one with expansive coastal views, in-season seafood on the dinner and breakfast menus, and soothing public baths that are perfect after a good hike.


Hands-on Experiences in the “Alps of the Sea”

From Kurosaki-so, the Michinoku Coastal Trail reveals another of its faces, with several hours of up-and-down, wooded trail leading through bear habitat to another trail highlight—a viewpoint in Tanohata Village called Kitayamazaki. Here wooden observation decks deliver sweeping views over jagged, tree-covered cliffs, which understandably have been nicknamed the “Alps of the sea”.

Like many other trail sections, the pathway after Kitayamazaki also offers up opportunities to interact with locals and try hands-on experiences. At the rocky Tsukuehama Beach, you’ll find a collection of banya fishing huts—rebuilt after the 2011 tsunami—that as well as functioning as working huts for fisherman are used by locals to provide educational workshops.

“The people here offer salt making workshops, diving experiences, and sappa fishing boat rides, but also the chance for visitors to listen to learn about the local fishing industry and life as a fisherman from locals,” says Mr. Takuro Kusuda, who leads an NPO in Tanahota that runs hands-on experiences. “There are also cooking classes, where locals show visitors how to prepare and cook fish using the catch of the day—whether that’s sashimi, grilled or boiled—and then eat it together with local pickled vegetables and seaweed dishes.”

If you opt for a trip in one of the small sappa boats, you’ll be rewarded with a different perspective of the rugged shoreline, and can also be dropped off further down the trail at Aketo Beach or the nearby Ragaso Hotel. The latter affords the opportunity to unwind in traditional-style accommodation (complete with multi-course meals and soothing public baths), while the chunk of damaged seawall left as a memorial at Aketo Beach serves as a reminder of the tsunami – and why the Michinoku Coastal Trail was built in the first place.

Planning a Fudai to Tanohata hike

For more on this part of the trail, the Ministry of the Environment’s Michinoku Coastal Trail website has downloadable maps and a location guide to the trail from Noda to Fudai and Fudai to Tanohata. These also come with essential information on trail safety, suggested gear lists and trail rules and manners.