Monday 30th July
Nice morning, leave early. Pass through Tarō Town. Here is widespread damage along the waterfront, the sea wall failed to protect the town. NY Times reported: “It was one of Japan’s tallest and longest, called the nation’s “Great Wall of China” by the government and news media. Its inner wall was reinforced by an outer one, and they stretched 1.5 miles across the bay here. The surface was so wide that high school students jogged on it, townspeople strolled on it, and some rode their bicycles on it.”
See report here… http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/02/world/asia/02wall.html
Note: click on the photos to enlarge.
Return to the hills and go through 5 tunnels to get to the small village of Sakiyama, being some way inland and elevated it escaped the tsunami.
Then it is another steep descent to Miyako. At Miyako I’m too early for the shops to be open so decide not to hang around too long. Another port town, it has what is becoming familiar signs of destruction.
Miyako is where the black water is seen pouring over the sea wall, sweeping cars and boats before it. 17 months earlier this was happening… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh0oe5HeO7s
A little way off the highway and not far from Miyako is the scenic beauty spot of Jōdogahama Beach.
Continuing south along Miyako Bay
Over another big hill passing Toyomane village and down to Osawa on Yamada Bay. Yamada is at the head of a long inlet. All the way along are signs that the recovery is well under way.
Route 45 skirts round the back of Yamada town but I go through the centre, the port area is pretty well beaten up. I take this route to go to the Yamada Road Station.
Come to what looks like a new bridge at Orikasa but there is no separated cycle/walking lane, something quite unusual for Japan. It is very busy with quite a lot of the large dump-trucks. See young school boys riding across the bridge and think “wow”!
The road station is busy place, also with an information centre. They check with the Yamada Autocamp and tell me it is open, which is different from what the cyclists said yesterday. It is only lunch time and I want to keep going. They check but the next place is quite a long way so hang around to consider my options. Shall I go or shall I stay…?
Have soba at the road station’s restaurant and check out the shop. See a person with a straw hat like mine but better. He is on a small motorbike and wears a t-shirt that suggests he was/is a volunteer. Think about going for a chat but don’t.
Hang around too long and it is too late to leave so go to stay at the campground. There is a motor cyclist on an overnight ride from Shiroshi (south of Sendai) staying. We have an interesting time. This place is well appointed compared to the usual campgrounds I have stayed. It has a caretaker. It costs a little more but is nice. During the emergency last year it was used as a base for volunteers.
Four (Shi in Japanese) is the same character as death and so considered unlucky. Rooms at hotels and floors in multi-storey buildings often do not use number 4.
Another short day, again only about 50km.