Naruko Gorge

Japan’s Tohoku Region

Japan faced the strongest earthquake in all of its recorded history ten years ago in the Tohoku region.  A magnitude measured at 9.0 on the seismic scale. The earthquake hit just below the North Pacific Ocean, some 81 miles north of the island of Honshu, east of Sendai, the largest city in the region.

The Tohoku earthquake caused a 132 feet catastrophic tsunami affecting 12 prefectures. The most affected were the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima triggering a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The tsunami caused major damage to infrastructure of Japan destroying thousands of homes, roads, businesses, and railways. Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) figures state that the total number of deaths attributed to the disaster is officially 15,900.Mount Kinka

Scenery of Mount Kinka in Kinkasan Island.

Ten years on, Tohoku has undergone numerous reconstruction projects with the Japanese government extending the bill of the region’s Reconstruction Agency bill for the rebuilding efforts until 2031.

Tohoku is known for its beautiful scenery, seafood, and fresh vegetables. It is only a quick 90-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo.

Check out some of the places to visit in the Tohoku region:

Kinkasan Island

Kinkasan Island in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture is home to about 200 monkeys, 300 deer and only 5 humans. There are eight shrines and so called “power spots” that emit strong spiritual energy that many travelers seek out to visit and pray. There is a shrine on the island called Koganeyama-jinja dating back to the 8th century.

Kinkasan Island can easily be accessed by ferry boat. Located on the island is a hotel where guests can spend the night after a day of exploring the island. For the more daring, Mount Koganeyama is a scenic trek working your way up the peak.Naruko Gorge

Naruko Gorge during autumn.

Naruko Gorge

Naruko Gorge or Naruko Onsen in Osaka, Miyagi Prefecture is popular for its breathtaking autumn scenery. The best time to visit is in late October when the colors of autumn are in its full grandeur spreading across the canyon. Although the views no matter what season are just as spectacular.

There are numerous hiking trails to discover, and the natural spring waters will always invigorate you after a day of exploring.Mount Haguro, Yamagata Prefecture. One of the three sacred mountains of Dewa.

Mount Haguro, Yamagata Prefecture. One of the three sacred mountains of Dewa.

The Three Mountains of Dewa

The Three Mountains of Dewa, also known as Dewa Sanzan, located in the Yamagata Prefecture is known for many spiritual devotees. Each of the mountains represent the past (Mount Gassan), the present (Mount Haguro) or the future (Mount Yudono). Locals believe that by praying at the shrines of all three mountains will bring spiritual rebirth.