Japan Trip 2014 - February (Part 2 - Tohoku Visit) (last updated on 2014/10/12)

2014/2/6 Going to Kesennuma/Rikuzentakada

2/6 Kesennuma: -0.4/-8.4

To Kesennuma/Rikuzentakada

From To Depart Arrive Duration Method
Nagoya Tokyo 7:44am  9:20am 1:44 Nozomi 302
Tokyo Ichinoseki 9:40am 12:14pm 2:34 Yamabiko 55
Ichinoseki Kesennuma 12:22pm 1:41pm 1:21  
Kesennuma Rikuzen Takada 1:51pm 2:40pm    
Rikuzen Takada Kesennuma        

Fell sleep while waiting for updates on FB and woke up at 0:30am realized it is pretty cold but managed to sleep until 5:00am. Stretched my body and chat with my dad, then left home at 6:30am to catch a bus. The bus took 30 minutes to go to Nagoya. After walking into JR Nagoya station, I bought some food for the trip today. Reached to the platform in 10 minutes.

Full of quiet people, some even sleeping...


The Nozomi 302 leaving Nagoya 7:39am was late by 5 minutes because of the snow in Maibara area. The train was washed to clear snow on the body and proceeded. The train moved under partly cloudy weather, I could not see Mt. Fuji because it was cloud covered. The train was supposed to arrive at 9:20am and I thought it would be at 9:25am but actual arrival was only 1 minute delay.

Nozomi 302 arriving at Nagoya station where snow removing crews standing by

My Breakfast, maybe too much.

 Looking outside Mt. Fuji cannot be seen this time.

At Tokyo station, I changed the platform to Tohoku Shinkansen Line. They have several different looking ones so I enjoyed watching it. I bought my lunch before getting on the train. The Yamabiko 55, left Tokyo station at 9:40am, made several stops on the way. The sky was clear until passing Kurikoma Kogen station then snow started. Arriving to Ichinoseki at 12:14pm.

At Tokyo platform

E4 E2 and E5

Yamabiko 55 at Tokyo station


My lunch.

After arriving to Ichinoseki, I walked to a platform for local train. 2 car train model KIHA100 left Ichinoseki at 12:22pm. It was snowing outside. The train moved on single tracked winding trail. The outside I see are a few houses, mountains and farmland and all of them were snow covered. The train's windows soon got fogged because of the weather condition. Arriving at Kesennuma station at 1:41pm on time.

I had about 10 minutes before getting a bus leaving Kesennuma station. Because of the Tsunami, the rail track was destroyed from here and bus service was needed to substitute. The but moved in major road toward Rikuzentakada. I could see a lot of construction machines and dump trucks for the reconstruction, as well as the open spaces with some debris or foundation of the houses stood left, they were the damage done by tsunami,

KIHA100 train at Ichinoseki

Moving on a single track Snow covered area
Kesennuma Station Sign Welcome, Manzu Manzu Yogu Kitagodo...


Walking at Rikuzentakada

After getting

Arrived at Rikuzentakada at 2:40pm, in front of the temporary city hall. I began walking on Route 340 to south toward the former downtown area. As soon as I came down the hill, I can see the entire region leading to the ocean is flat and many places are undergoing the reconstruction such as putting soil about 20ft high. Turned left into Takadakaido at 2:55pm, some roads are closed for the construction work but I can tell by looking at the street that this place was where people used to live. I see the sidewalk.
Stopping by the former Rikuzentakada station at 3:10pm which only leaves rotary at front of the road, no station building is left. Walking along the former city
Swing by memorial at 3:20pm it was decorated with many pictures and paper cranes.
Stopped by kisekinoipponmatsu at 3:30pm. It was pretty hard to reach area since I had to walk in fast pace for 5 minutes, walking around the water treatment plant being rebuilt.
I hurried back
At bus stop at 4:00pm

BRT to Rikuzentakada

Pictures from Rikuzentakada


Coming back to Kesennuma, Staying at a hotel

Get on a bus going to kesennuma at 4:07pm, which is one earlier than I was planning. Because the outside is snowy, I guess I am glad. The bus ran back the same route to Kesennuma, I could see more damaged area while looking at the coast, also I did not realize that some area I thought flat was actually was residential area before the tsunami. After getting off at Kesennuma terminal at 4:55pm, I retrieved my backpack from the coin locker and walked crossed the street to check myself in at the hotel at 5:00pm. I get to use their wireless internet with a device I plug into Ethernet port.

The hotel I stayed and the room.


Relaxed at the room, stepped outside to grab snacks and drinks from a convenience store at the train station. I came down to the restaurant inside the hotel around 6:30pm and had seafood dinner. The seasoning was not what I liked but better than eating something off the franchised restaurant or convenience store. Took shower and took evening easy but experienced the room shaking 9:00pm while I was watching TV. A few minutes later, TV ran announcement about the earthquake, it was not that serious. Decided to go bed around 11:00pm

2014/2/7 Going to Tokyo

2/7 Tokyo 7.2/1.1

To Fish Market at 7:00am

Woke up after midnight since I felt cold. I turned the heater up then fell back to sleep. I then woke up at 5:00am, get ready for the day. The news says that in kesennuma, the daily high of yesterday was at -0.6c.
Stepped out after 6:00am and walked toward the fish market under night sky with snow falling silently. There are some people already up, clearing snow in front of their house. Old style of Japanese merchant lives back of the store.

Still snowing, dark yet quiet...

Arrived at the Fish Market at 6:40am. There is a observation deck so I can see buyers bid for the catches. On the ground, there were separated in several sections. One was small items, tunas,
Fish market at 6:40am and
Left there at 7:40am. The outside was
Back at hotel at 8:30am, and took a quick shower, then had a breakfast at 8:45am



Left hotel at 9:30am, dropped off my large backpack at a locker at the train station then began walking back to the fish market. Now most of the snow is gone from the road. Something good about this part of country, is people passing by greets. While I was walking on the road, I greeted with many local people who I do not even know. At the city hall, saw a line drawn on a column with indication of tide level around adult's chest. I checked on the Google earth and saw the elevation is 40ft, so the water actually came in that high from the sea level. at 9:45

Walking around the port area, and saw a shrine, so I decided to walk up there using snow covered stairs. Watched the scenery of the port from high above, watching a ferry leaving the port around 10:00am. Walking by the fish market and then to a hill nearby around 10:30am. I can see the area is pretty much wiped out and some remaining buildings are either being demolished or missing the first floor.

Decided to walk back to the station so I won't miss the train. Bought a lot of gifts and had a lunch at the restaurant there for seafood which was delicious! Left there at 11:40am,



Local Market


Railroad crossing which is not in use

Going to Tokyo

Arrived back at the Kesennuma station at 12:08pm, picked up my bag from a locker and get in the train. The local train, which has only one car, left Kesennuma station at 12:20pm. It was another long train ride, making stops at every stations. The outside is snow covered and more than yesterday's. The train slowed down and entered the platform at Ichinoseki at 1:42pm.


The train arrived to Ichinoseki on time at 1:42pm. I walked up to the bridge and changed the platform for the bullet train toward Tokyo.

Ichinoseki to Ueno Yamabiko 58, 13:48 - 16:18

Yamabiko 58 to Ueno

Evening with friends

Ueno station, Street nearby hotel

Left Ueno at 6:31pm on keihin Tohoku line.

Hotel room for tonight's stay

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