Visiting Kawamata and Iitate, and climbing Mt. Megami, October 27, 2019. (女神山に登り、川俣町、飯舘村に行く 2019年10月27日。)

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Today I participated in one-day group tour through Kawamata and Iitate area organized by Environment Restoration Plaza in Fukushima. The tour included climbing Mount Megami (599m) in the morning, having Kawamata Shamo lunch, which was a popular local specialty food, tea break at Chieko teahouse, and stopping at Yamada Cattle Farm. About 20 people participated in the tour from across eastern part of Japan and we had a good exercise climbing the local mountain. Photo above was a view at the top of Mt. Megami in Kawamata.
本日は、環境再生プラザ(環境省/福島県)主催の、川俣町と飯舘村を巡るツアーに参加しました。内容は、川俣地元の女神山(599m)登山、特産の川俣シャモランチ、飯舘のちえこのきまぐれ茶屋と山田牧場、と多彩でした。首都圏含み20人ほどが参加し、最初は登山で汗を流しました。写真は、女神山山頂です。

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The mountain trail started from Akiyama community center as shown above. This was located not far from the famous Akiyama Komazakura cherry tree.
登山道は、写真の秋山集会所からスタートです。有名な、秋山の駒ザクラに近いです。

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Although it was not a very high mountain, a first order triangulation point was placed at the summit, as shown above, due to its fine surrounding view.
女神山は低山ですが、周囲が見渡せるので一等三角点が置かれています。

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We enjoyed autumn leaves along the trail as shown above. I measured radiation exposure during the mountain trekking. Although mountain trails have not been decontaminated since Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, the resulting accumulated radiation was 3.26μSv, which was just normal and negligible compared to natural background radiation.
写真のように、一部紅葉も鮮やかでした。道中、放射線量を測りましたが、山は特別な除染をしていませんが、積算線量として3.26μSvと自然放射線の中で誤差の範囲でした。

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There were a couple of shrines at the top: Otehime Shrine and Hebi (or Snake) Shrine, as shown above in the back and in the forefront. Both were based on a legend which dates back to 6th century. A couple of elderly local volunteer guides led us climbing the mountain and they also told us importance of mountain, water, and woods. Many of us were impressed by the powerful talk.
山頂には、小手姫神社(写真後ろ)とヘビ神社(写真手前)の2つが置かれ、6世紀頃の伝説に因みます。地元の年配の山のガイドさんの導きで登り、ガイドさんは山、水、森の大切さを良く話してくださり、その迫力に感動しました。

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We found a rare wild edible plant called Gonboppa as shown above. The leaves are used to make Shimimochi, a local specialty rice cake made from glutinous rice and leaves of wild plants.
また、「ごんぼっぱ」と呼ぶ写真の珍しい野草も沿道にありました。この葉っぱを餅米に入れて凍らし、特産の凍もち(しみもち)を作ります。

At lunch time, we stopped at a restaurant “Shinkawa” in the city center of Kawamata. We had a local specialty menu of Kawamata Shamo chicken and egg bowl which was juicy and excellent.
ランチは、川俣町中心部の割烹新川で、特産の川俣シャモの親子丼をいただきました。柔らかく極上でした。

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In the afternoon, we stopped at Chieko’s teahouse, as shown above, which opened on the 1st of this May, which was the first day of Reiwa Era. Gramma Chieko in her 70’s was born and lived in Iitate Village. She had hard times before and after the Great East Japan earthquake with her cancer treatment, evacuation, her husband’s death and difficulties starting up her new business. But she started producing local specialty shimimochi and finally reopened her antique style cafeteria for serving shimimochi dessert dish. She told us her story of hardship as well as success of reopening the teahouse, while we tasted the excellent shimimochi dessert with home-grown vegetables. Many of us were moved by her resilience.
午後は、飯舘村の写真の「ちえこのきまぐれ茶屋」に寄りました。今年5月1日(令和初日)に再オープンしました。70代のちえこさんは、飯舘生まれ飯舘育ちですが、震災前後から色々な困難(ガン治療、避難、死別、起業の苦労など)に出会いましたが、凍もち作りなどを始め茶屋の再オープンにもこぎつけました。写真のように、アンティーク風の茶屋では、ちえこさんの話を聞きながら凍もちと自家野菜を大変おいしくいただきました。ちえこさんのパワフルな生き方に皆さん感動しました。

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The final stop was Yamada Cattle Farm in Iitate Village, as shown above, which raises quality beef cattle. Due to the entire village evacuation caused by the nuclear plant accident in 2011, the farm was once forced to close, but it restarted this July with new cowsheds. Iitate beef was quality brand beef before the accident and we felt the family’s powerful momentum toward the revitalization of the region.
最後は、飯舘村の山田牧場です(写真)。高品質の黒毛和牛を飼育しています。2011年の原発事故に伴う全村避難で一時中断しましたが、今年7月に再開しました。事故前は、飯舘牛はブランド牛でしたが、地域の復興に向けてその勢いを感じさせるお話でした。

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Finally, we came to Kikori Hall, as shown above, which was Iitate Village community center as well as accommodation facility. We had 1.5hr discussion on how we felt meeting and hearing from three local residents, all of them were tough, powerful and resilient toward the future of their life and regional revitalization. On the other hand, it might be difficult to tell the actual reality to other people. Maybe the best way to understand the right situation in the region is to go and see firsthand the reality and communicate with local people.
最後は、村のコミュニティホール兼宿泊施設の写真の「きこり」に集まり、1時間半ほど本日のまとめをしました。本日は、女神山ガイドさん、ちえこさん、山田さんの3名から多くの話を聞き、将来の復興に向けての力強い思いとその粘り強い姿に感動しました。一方で、これを他人に伝えるには限界があり、やはり直接来て見て話してみる大切さを認識しました。

I visited Iitate and Kawamata in 2012, 1.5-year after the disaster, when Iitate was still restricted access area as shown in the 2012visit. This time I could see more and more people actually returned to the town and could feel much vitalization than before.
飯舘と川俣は、震災の翌年の2012年にも訪問しており(参照)、飯舘はまだ居住制限区域でした。今回は、住民帰還も進み復興の息遣いを実感できました。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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Tanabata Festival and restored Usuiso Beach in Iwaki, August 8th, 2019. (いわきの七夕まつりと再開した薄磯海水浴場、2019年8月8日。)

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(Iwaki Tanabata Festival, Iwaki, August 8, 2019. いわき七夕まつり いわき 8/8/2019)
Today was another hot mid-summer day in Fukushima. Iwaki Tanabata Festival or the Star Festival took place at the main streets in front of JR Iwaki Station. A number of large tanabata decorations swayed as they were hung above the crowds as shown in the picture above. Well known Sendai Tanabata Festival was also being held on the same day in Miyagi Prefecture, but please be reminded that this local tanbata festival was also great.
今日も、福島県は暑い真夏の日でした。いわき駅前の通りでは、いわき七夕まつりが開催され、写真のような七夕飾りが多数風に舞いました。宮城の仙台七夕まつりが有名ですが、いわきの地元の方々のこのお祭りも盛大です。

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(Iwaki Tanabata Festival, Iwaki, August 8, 2019. いわき七夕まつり いわき 8/8/2019)
Some other photos of today were shown in the pictures above. There were many kinds of them.
七夕飾りは、写真のようにたくさんの種類がありました。

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(Usuiso Beach, Iwaki, August 8, 2019. 薄磯海水浴場 いわき 8/8/2019)
In the meantime, more beaches along the Pacific coast reopened in this season (a total of 7) as the reconstruction work of seawalls and access roads were completed after they were destructed by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Usuiso beach was one of them, which reopened in 2017, and which was located right next to a landmark Shioyazaki Lighthouse as shown in a picture above. Although not so many people were on the beach today, still, many local families were enjoying sunbathing and swimming.
一方で、この夏更に多くの海水浴場が福島の浜通りで再開(全7カ所)しました。2011年の東日本大震災で壊れた防潮堤や道路の再建が完成したからです。薄磯海水浴場(2017年再開)もその1つで、ランドマークの塩屋崎灯台のすぐとなりにあります。本日は、地元の家族連れが多く来て楽しんでいました。

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Usuiso district was severely hit by the tsunami at the time and today new seawalls were built and also new disaster prevention forest belt higher than the seawall was added in the inland area as shown above. The young trees have just started to grow.
震災当時、薄磯地区は津波の大被害がありましたが、現在新たな防潮堤が完成し、その内陸側に更に高い防災緑地(写真)ができて、まだ若いですが木が生長しつつあります。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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Japanese serow on Mt. Karo trail, July 1, 2019. 新地町 鹿狼山の山道で日本カモシカに出会う 2019年7月1日。

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(Japanese serow at Mt. Karo, Shinchi, July 1, 2019. 鹿狼山 の 日本カモシカ 新地 7/1/2019)
Today I walked along a countryside road and mountain trail in Shinchi Town which was a northernmost town in the coastal Fukushima. The route was mostly along Shinchi section of Michinoku Coastal Trail or walking trail along the coastal area of Tohoku Region. This was defined and promoted by Ministry of the Environment of Japan aiming to revitalize the coastal region which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Today’s route was 17km long and included light trekking on Mt. Karo (430m). When I was descending along the ridge, I suddenly came across a Japanese serow near the northern end of the trail. He was grazing on the vegetation. Both of us were frightened but he just stared at me and showed no sign of intimidation. I took his picture as shown above and then he moved away.
本日は、福島県沿岸部の最北端の新地町を歩きました。コースは主に、みちのく潮風トレイルの新地町部分です。東日本大震災で被災した東北沿岸部の復興を目指し、環境省が設定した歩くコースです。本日のルートは、約17kmで鹿狼山(430m)の軽い登山を含みます。今日後半、尾根伝いに降りていたら、山道の終わり近くで、日本カモシカに出会いました。両者共にびっくりしましたが、カモシカは私の方をじっと見たまま脅かす様子はありませんでした。私は熊鈴を鳴らしていましたが、カモシカには効かないようです。そういうわけで、写真を撮っていたらそのうち逃げていきました。

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I started to walk from JR Shinchi Station this morning as shown above. When I visited the town four years ago (2015) by bike there was no railway station. It was destroyed and washed away by the tsunami. But today the new station was built as well as many new public facilities, hotels, and residential area with new homes in the vicinity.
今朝は、写真のJR新地駅から歩き始めました。4年前(2015年)に来たときは、駅も無かったです。破壊され津波に流されていました。でも今日は、新しい駅舎で電車の運行もしており、周りには新しい公共施設やホテル、住宅地の新しい家もたくさん建っていました。

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In about two hours of walking I arrived at the trailhead for Mt. Karo. A pair of animal stones called “komainu”, deer on the left and wolf on the right, welcomed me as shown above. These were for Karosan shrine or Mt. Karo shrine, where deity of the mountain was enshrined. A local legend described on the panel shown above said the animals were always with the god.
2時間ほどで、鹿狼山の登山口に着きました。写真の狛犬、鹿狼山神社の鹿と狼が出迎えます。神社には、この山の神が祀られています。現地の説明板(写真)には、この地の伝説が語られています。

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Shortly after, I came to a hydrangea habitat as shown above. But today it seemed not the best season for this flower.
登っていくと、すぐに写真のアジサイの自生地が現れます。でも、旬の時期ではなかったようです。

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In about an hour I came to the summit where second-order triangulation point was placed. It was very foggy, misty and even rainy at the top, but for a very short period of time a glimpse of blue sky appeared on top of sea of clouds as shown above.
1時間ほどで、2等三角点のある頂上に着きます。今日は、霧やもやがかかり雨も時折降る天気でしたが、一瞬だけ写真のように青空と下の雲海がのぞきました。

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In the last half of the route there were two watering places along the way which was very grateful for walkers. Both were natural spring water. The first one was Mayumi spring water as shown above. This has even been used as the source of public tap water supply for local residents until some 40 years ago.
後半には、有り難い水場が2カ所あります。湧き出る清水です。最初は、写真の「真弓の清水」と言い、40年前の昭和時代にこの地区の公共水道としても使われてきました。

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Another one was called Ukon spring water. A small rest area with roof has been built as shown above. “Ukon” was named after Date Ukon who was a descendant of Date family and who lived and loved this place and the water. I also refreshed myself with these excellent spring waters. It took 7.5 hours to get back to Shinchi Station.
もう1つは、右近の清水と言い、写真のように屋根付きの休場もありました。伊達家の子孫である伊達右近が、この地区に住みこの水を愛飲したことにちなみ、名前がつけられました。私も両方の水場で水を補給し休みました。7時間半かかり、新地駅に戻りました。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll. However, today, the GPS data did not reach the goal of Shinchi Station due to battery outage.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。但し、GPSのバッテリ切れで終点の新地駅まで描いていません。
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A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)

Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
Local guide for Fukushima (English)(福島地域通訳案内士(英語))
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