A Light from Tohoku; Travel to the Sanriku Coast

View of Rias CoastSTORY

A picturesque scenery outside the train window of Sanriku Railway heading north along the coastal area in Iwate Prefecture.

To the boundless sea

For people who live by the sea, the endless ocean seems like a dreadful enemy instead of a close friend.

View of Rias Coast

Joseph Conrad, a Polish-British sailor who turned into a novelist wrote an autobiography essay called The Mirror of the Sea.

Impenetrable and heartless, the sea has given nothing of itself to the suitors for its precarious favours.  Unlike the earth, it cannot be subjugated at any cost of patience and toil. … its immensity has never been loved as the mountains, the plains, the desert itself, have been loved.

The Mirror of the Sea, by Joseph Conrad

Those who live far away from the sea, or those who can only see a man-made bay, simply surprised to hear this opinion.

When I visited the Sanriku Coast facing the Pacific Ocean in the Tohoku region in Iwate Prefecture, I slightly felt affection toward that sea.

At that time, I’ve felt like I’ve seen the true shape of the sea.


Sea and mountains, and sea again

The Sanriku Railway Rias Line is a local railway line stretching 163 km along the coast of Iwate Prefecture.

In April 2019, I took a train from Taro to Kuji, it was before all the rail lines operated.

Sakari Station

The train travels north to north through the seaside town. You can catch a glimpse of Tohoku on the spring day through the train window.

Watching children waving at the passing train, white birds beautifully and gracefully swimming in the pond, and small birds were flying away startled by loud noises.

Horei to Sanriku

And then, you’ll see the sea.

However, looks like the sea is trapped in an enormous embankment and once in a while giving the momentary glance in stony silence.

The sea followed by a stretch of the mountain covered with trees and bushes. The mountain seems to be in deep meditation with the sea.

Rias Coast

As the train approaches the Osawa Bridge, it’ll stop for a while so that the passengers can enjoy the view of the Sanriku Coast.

When you view the Rias Coast from above, there is a magnificent coastline with its complex terrain surface. As it located on the concave surface, you can see the vast ocean right before your eyes.

Shiraikaigan to Horinai

The waves beating the rocky shore and the seawater form white bubbles.

View of Rias Coast

As I saw and experienced nature, I realized that once you live in the city, it makes us forget the actual shape of the sea, the beauty of wild nature.


Power of the Sea

As described earlier, the sea hasn’t always been so friendly for those who live there.

Nevertheless, the sea has always been useful to human beings for over a long period of history. The sea not only provides daily food, but recent research also suggests that it has other benefits as well.

On the latest research on the relationship between natural environment and level of happiness shows that the level of happiness of people who live by the seaside is 6 points higher than those who live in the city.

Walk only twice a week on the seaside is beneficial to your physical and mental health.

Yoshihama to Toni

There is an inseparable bond between humans and the sea. As the essence of life and cradle of civilization, the sea has always been a significant part of human life.

The Sanriku Coast I saw from the train window is the sea where we grew up with for generations.

Hope for a complete recovery from Typhoon Hagibis

In October 2019, some sections of the Sanriku Railway Rias Line railway were severely damaged and suspended again due to the Typhoon Hagibis.

As of December, the bus from Sakari to Kamaishi still runs on normal service, but for the service between Kamaishi and Tsugaruishi, Taro and Kuji, you may need to transfer to another transportation.

Sanriku Railway is raising donations for the reconstruction project. So, I wrote this article to give support to Rias Line.