Hamadori winter tour, onsen, history, etc. Feb.12-15, 2024. 冬天滨通旅行, 温泉、历史、废炉, 从二月十二号到十五号二〇二四年。冬の浜通り、温泉・歴史・廃炉2024年 2月12-15日。

(#Yumoto Station, Iwaki, Feb. 12, 2024. #湯本駅 いわき2024.2.12)
Today, we started our 4-day Hamadori journey from Iwakiyumoto, Fukushima Pref. Photo above shows Yumoto Station of JR Joban Line. Our plan is to travel north along Hamadori coastal region stopping at historic sites, and staying at onsen sites. The northernmost site extends to Zuiganji Temple in Miyagi Pref.

Iwakiyumoto Onsen is one of the three oldest onsen (or hot spring) sites in Japan with more than 1,600 years of history. The sulfur hot spring water wells up with abundant scale of 5 tons per minute. Within walking distance from Yumoto Station, public bath house Sahako-no-yu and footbath Tsuru-no-ashiyu are seen as shown below, in addition to some inns and hotels.

(#Sahako-no-yu, Iwakiyumoto, Feb. 12, 2024. #さはこの湯 いわき湯本2024.2.12)

(#Tsuru-no-ashiyu, Iwakiyumoto, Feb. 12, 2024. #鶴のあし湯 いわき湯本2024.2.12)

(#Sunrise, Shohakukan, Feb. 13, 2024. #日の出 松柏館2024.2.13)
We stayed overnight at Shohakukan Inn. The next morning, sunrise over the hill toward the Pacific was seen from the men’s bath as shown above. In terms of onsen and meal, this inn was the best and reasonable in this journey.

(#Shiramizu Amidado, Iwaki, Feb. 13, 2024. #白水阿弥陀堂 いわき2024.2.13)
The next day, we visited Shiramizu Amidado about 4km north. This Buddhist architecture, as shown above, is a national treasure building built in 1160. Although the building and the surrounding garden suffered heavy damage by the flooding of nearby Shinkawa River on September 2023, Amidado building was recovered and reopened to the visitors.

(#Amidado Goshuin, Iwaki, Feb. 13, 2024. #阿弥陀堂 御朱印 いわき2024.2.13)
I received goshuin stamp of Amidado as shown above.

Next, we stopped at Joban coal discovery memorial site about 1.5km walk from Shiramizu Amidado. Photo above shows a view of the site which is called Mirokusawa area.


(#sunrise view, Shiokazeso, Feb. 14, 2024. #日の出 しおかぜ荘 楢葉2024.2.14)
Then we returned to JR Uchigo Station and headed north to Tatsuta Station in Naraha Town. We stayed overnight at Cycling Terminal onsen facility operated by the town. The next morning, we could see beautiful sunrise of the Pacific from Shiokazeso onsen bath as shown in the pictures above. In terms of sunrise and ocean view this inn was the best.

(#Robot, TEPCO, Tomioka, Feb. 14, 2024. #ロボット 廃炉資料館 富岡2024.2.14)
The next morning, we moved to Tomioka, one station north from Tatsuta, and visited TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center. They provide guided tour inside and we chose 1hr course. Photo above shows remote controlled robot for the investigation of fuel debris situation inside the reactor no.1.

(#Somanomaoi, Minamisoma, Feb. 14, 2024. #相馬野馬追 博物館 南相馬2024.2.14)
In the afternoon, we moved to Haranomachi Station and visited Minamisoma City Museum which took 15 minutes by taxi from the station. Photo above shows the main display of Somanomaoi Festival. This is a national intangible important cultural asset which has a history of more than 1,000 years.

The museum displays some other historical items of the city such as scale model of steam locomotive turntable which was located in the city for Joban Line. Here is a video of how it looks and moves.


(#Tsurushinoyu, Shinchi, Feb. 14, 2024. #つるしの湯 新地 2024.2.14)
Finally, we moved to Shinchi Station, the northernmost station in Fukushima, and stayed overnight at Hotel Grado which had Tsurushinoyu onsen facility as shown above. The hotel is convenient with only few-minute walk from JR Shinchi Station. However, we could not see ocean sunrise view from the bath blocked by a wall surrounding the bath. The spring water comes from 300m underground, and it was a good onsen.
その後新地駅まで移動し、新地町のつるしの湯温泉(写真)のあるホテルグラードに泊ります。 駅から徒歩数分で便利ですが、湯からの日の出は壁に遮られ見えません。湯は地下300mから汲み上げており、良い湯です。

(#Zuiganji Hondo, Matsushima, Feb. 15, 2024. #瑞巌寺 本堂 松島2024.2.15)
In the final day we extended our journey to Zuiganji Temple at Matsushima, Miyagi Pref. It took less than 2 hours from Shinchi. Zuiganji Temple building is designated as a national treasure. Photo above shows the main building (Hondo) built in 1609 by the first Sendai feudal lord Date Masamune.

(#Zuiganji Goshuin, Matsushima, Feb. 15, 2024. #瑞巌寺 御朱印 松島 2024.2.15)
I received goshuin stamp of Zuiganji as shown above.

(#Zuiganji Garyubai, Matsushima, Feb. 15, 2024. #瑞巌寺 臥龍梅 松島 2024.2.15)
These are special ume trees called Garyubai, in a photo above, with pink and white blossoms each in March. These trees were brought back from Korean Peninsula and planted in 1609 by Date Masamune in the front garden of Hondo. So, the trees are more than 400 years old. Offspring of white Garyubai was planted in a park of Date City, Fukushima Pref.

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

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.

Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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