Rikuzentakata. Not Your Average Japan

Not Your Average Japan

With all of Japan to choose from why should you come to Rikuzentakata? Our rural, off-the beaten-path, difficult-to-get-to city, almost completely destroyed by the tsunami of 2011…is it worth the bother? Yes, it is.

We in Rikuzentakata take pride in offering the real Japan.

Our oceans and mountains exist side-by-side so you can go out on a boat and hike a mountain trail on the same day. Help oystermen by seeding or shucking oysters while learning about this area’s rich maritime culture and history. Then, harvest apples bursting with sweetness from our unique seaside orchards.

Stay with a local family—the best way to see and experience real Japan. Eat their homemade food, have them show you the city through their eyes, play games with their children, and sleep on their futons.

Learn first-hand what it means to experience and survive a disaster. Tour the city with a guide who will tell you what worked—and what didn’t—in the aftermath of the tsunami that nearly wiped out the city in 2011.

We guarantee the gratitude we show you will be second to none. Now, all of Japan is known for its hospitality. Here, because our very survival depended on the aid we received from strangers from far away, we raise the bar on gratitude. We truly want to say “thank you,” and show you what that assistance meant to us, then and now.

This is why we are real. This is why we are worth the trip. Come to Rikuzentakata. Let us change your life.

Live the Local Lifestyle

Rikuzentakata is a small town in rural Iwate Prefecture. While it may not offer big city sights and sophistication, it offers a unique opportunity to experience a different kind of “hometown” Japan.

Instead of fine dining, Rikuzentakata is full of quaint cafes, small restaurants, and Japanese pubs called izakayas serving Japanese comfort food, fresh seafood, and farm-raised vegetables.

There are also cozy hot spring baths (called onsen) where families often visit on weekends to relax. Feel the tightness in your body release as you soak in the hot water. You’ll emerge a new person.

For those who wish to fully integrate into the local lifestyle even for a day, our city offers a robust homestay program that lets you spend the night with a local family. Eat what they do for dinner and breakfast. Sit around their dining room table hearing their stories, playing games, sharing.

Experience zen meditation with a local monk at a Buddhist temple. Inhale and breathe out to the rhythm of his calming voice. You can also stay in a temple overnight. Hear the crickets outside lull you to sleep as you breathe in the spirit of calm.

Our city is different. We are not your typical Japanese small town. There is something special about this city—the breezes, water, hills, our people—we’re different. The spirit of our city will cleanse you. We’re sure of it.

Surround Yourself With Nature

Our city is surrounded by peaceful and abundant nature. The ocean and mountains exist in close proximity here and it is not rare to come across animals—deer, badgers, foxes, and more—do watch out for bears!

Go for a trek along the coastline. You can admire the dynamic landscape of rock formations over three hundred million years old. Our wide, scenic bay is polka-dotted with aquaculture rafts where oysters and scallops are cultivated. If your homestay is with a local fishing family, they will likely take you out on their boat. Help with their harvest. Seed oysters. Rikuzentakata’s oysters are known throughout Japan as huge, juicy, and incredibly tasty. Brag to your friends back home that you have eaten one of Japan’s largest oysters fresh out of the ocean.

Apple harvesting is another way to help a farmer. The numerous orchards are close to the ocean, a true rarity seen nowhere else in Japan. The bright red orbs are filled with honey and are known for their sweetness.

Enjoy and appreciate the gifts nature has given us. Just another reason to visit.

Witness true recovery

Our city is one of the hardest hit in the tsunami of March 11, 2011. The massive damage destroyed the once-famous and beautiful Takata Matsubara, a coastal pine grove of around seventy thousand pine trees. Only one remained, the Miracle Pine, a symbol of rootedness, stubbornness, and a local source of pride.

A new Takata Matsubara will be planted and a national memorial park will be constructed by the sea. We see this as our version of the memorial park like the ones in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We are determined to share with future generations for perpetuity the need for a clear and well-thought out plan to live in the aftermath of a disaster. The park and surrounding pine grove will be a place of hope and remembrance.

Please contact our concierge to plan your visit around one of our tree-planting events.