Full bloom at Bairinji and 21st Century Park, Iwaki, March 11, 2023. 磐城汤本的梅花和河津樱花盛开。三月十一号二〇二三年。いわき湯本の梅林寺と河津桜が満開 2023年 3月11日。

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(#Bairinji Temple, Iwaki, Mar. 11, 2023. #梅林寺 いわき湯本3/11/2023)
Today is the 12th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. I visited Iwaki in Hamadori Region. Thanks to the recent warmer days flower blossoms were in full bloom here. Photo above shows ume or plum blossoms in full bloom at Bairinji Temple. It’s about 30-minute walk from JR Yumoto Station of Joban Line.

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(#Bairinji Temple, Iwaki, Mar. 11, 2023. #梅林寺 いわき湯本3/11/2023) 
Photo above shows another pink and white ume blossoms in the precinct.

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Photo above shows Bairinji Temple building.

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(#Kawazu cherry, 21st Century Park, Iwaki, Mar. 11, 2023. #河津桜 21世紀公園 いわき湯本3/11/2023)
I walked further north until I reached Kawazu cherry field at 21st Century Forest Park. The cherry blossoms were also in full bloom as shown above. Many people enjoyed viewing.

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Photo above is a close-up view of Kawazu flower petal.

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(#Kawazu cherry, 21st Century Park, Iwaki, Mar. 11, 2023. #河津桜 21世紀公園 いわき湯本3/11/2023)
Some of other views are shown above.

Bairinji Temple and 21st Century Forest Park are both located within walking distance from Yumoto Station of JR Joban Line. So, it’s convenient to visit both sites at the same time.

The exact GPS locations and route are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with click and scroll.

Seaside reconstruction of Shinschi, December 3, 2022. 看新知町的海侧复兴。十二月三号二〇二二年。新地町海側の再建を見る2022年 12月3日。

(#Hill of Feelings, Shinchi, Dec. 3, 2022. #想いの丘 新地12/3/2022)
Today I visited Shinchi Town in the northernmost of coastal Hamadori region. Coastal area of the town was devastated by tsunami at the time of March 11th, 2011 earthquake. The tsunami wave destroyed Shinchi railway station and further came up close to the town office. 1/5th of the town area was inundated and 119 residents became the victims. Photo above shows Hill of Feelings, a memorial monument for the disaster.

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(#Hill of Feelings, Shinchi, Dec. 3, 2022. #想いの丘 新地12/3/2022)
The hill is about 10 meters high, which is estimated as the height of the tsunami. From the photo above you can imagine how high the tsunami wave came from the ocean and assaulted the town.

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A panel shown above explains that a pair of stone pillars of the monument describe people helping each other, and a bell in the center means hope toward future.

The description on a stone shown above explains that there was local graveyard for this district in here but the gravestones and ashes were all washed by the tsunami. They were collected and now are at Ryushoji Temple graveyard 2km away on a higher ground.

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(#Disaster Prevention Park, Shinchi, Dec. 3, 2022. #釣師防災緑地公園 新地12/3/2022)
A large disaster prevention green space park was developed along the coastal area where tsunami hit. Photo above shows the park office in the center.


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(#Disaster Prevention Park, Shinchi, Dec. 3, 2022. #釣師防災緑地公園 新地12/3/2022)
A large-scale disaster prevention forest is under development as shown in the pictures above.

(#Disaster Prevention Park, Shinchi, Dec. 3, 2022. #釣師防災緑地公園 新地12/3/2022)
There are many routes of walkways in the park. One of them is an elevated walkway as shown above. This connects the park center and the upper walkway where you can look out over the ocean, beaches, and fishing ports. A mountain you see beyond the extension of this pathway is Mt. Karo, a landmark of Shinchi. It’s about 4 hours of walking from the station to the summit.

Photo above shows Tsurushihama seaside beach seen from the upper walkway along the coast. The beach was restored from the disaster.

Photo above shows Fukko Flag or revitalization flag at the center of the park.

(#Shinchi Energy Center, Dec. 3, 2022. #新地エネルギーセンター 12/3/2022)
Photo above shows Shinchi Energy Center located 5-minute walk north from the station. This provides electricity, warm and cold waters to the neighborhood area including hotels, public bathhouse, and community center. It generates energy by cogeneration system using LNG and solar power. It also stores electricity using lithium-ion batteries.

Photo above shows the route of providing each energy underneath the ground to each facility.

Photo above shows Shinchi Station of JR Joban Line. This is the northernmost railway station in Hamadori region. Because the former station was completely washed away by the tsunami, this is the new one.

Photo above shows a scale model of the former Shinchi Station before the disaster.

As you leave the station, on your left you can find tourist information center as shown above. They also provide free rental bike if you wish.

And beyond the tourist center building there is a small park area called Kankaido Park. There is a monument for a historic school called Kankaido, the building of which stood there before the disaster. But the historic building was washed away by the tsunami.

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A description board by the monument shown above says that the school was established in 1872, the first ever school in modern Japanese education system. But the school building was much older, it was built in 1769 more than 250 years ago.

The exact route and locations are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with click and scroll. Walking distance today was about 7km.

Soil recycling demonstrative project at Iitate, May 21, 2022. 在饭馆村土壤再生证实事业 五月二十一号二〇二二年。飯舘村長泥土壌再生実証 2022年5月21日。

(# Soil recycling, Nagadoro, Iitate, May 21, 2022. #飯舘村長泥土壌再生5/21/2022)
Today I visited soil recycling demonstrative project at Nagadoro, Iitate Village. This is a national project led by Ministry of the Environment aiming at recycling soil generated by decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture. After foreign materials are removed from the original soil, it is measured and confirmed that it is under the radioactivity safety standard (lower than 5,000Bq/kg). The recycled soil is covered with ordinary soil of more than 50cm thick and used. This project at Nagadoro aims at using recycled soil for farmland. A photo above shows pilot greenhouse field growing flowers. Local farmers are cooperative with the program and the current target farming area is 34ha.

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Rice field is also included in the project. A photo above shows a new pilot rice field just been planted three days before.

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The recycled soil is produced at the onsite soil recycling factory. A photo above shows a scene inside the factory. Soil generated by decontamination work is carried into the facility and it produces safe recycled soil for building new farmland.

A photo above shows central monitoring room where all the measurements in the project’s area are monitored including radiation, process and others.

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A photo above shows a new farmland construction site using recycled soil. AI controlled unmanned machinery is used.

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Nagadoro demonstrative project site is located about 30-minute drive south from Iitate Village Hall shown above (upper). The site is located within “difficult to return to zone” as well as “special reconstruction hub area” designated by the national government at this moment. (The area is expecting lifting of evacuation order by next spring.) Ministry of the Environment took us from near the Iitate Village Hall to the site by bus and gave us a tour guide. I took a local bus from JR Fukushima Station to the nearest bus stop “Iitate Fureaikan-mae” shown above (bottom) and walked to the hall (about 40 minutes).

The exact route and locations are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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