Tohoku: Miyagi Prefecture (Ishinomaki)

March 9, 2016 in ❤︎I LOVE JAPAN❤︎ / Japan / Tohoku

This coming March 11 marks the 5th anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake that happened in 2011.

It has already been 5 years (I haven’t even met the danna back then!) and until today, it is still an incident everyone talks about here in Japan on a daily basis. The TV channels run daily special features on 3.11 every day now, and I was crying so much watching a documentary about the fire fighter teams in Japan going out for rescue when the disaster happened. Real footages taken on that day itself was shown for the first time on TV. One of the fire fighters lost his wife and child in the morning to Tsunami, but he was still determined to go out and save as many people as he could. T______T.

During my travel to Tohoku, I did visit one of the disaster-striken areas in Miyagi Prefecture, Ishinomaki.

While we were on the way there, the team gently reminded me that the town we were visiting were one of the most heavily affected areas by the Tohoku Earthquake, so that I could be emotionally prepared that it is nothing rainbow-unicorn colorful or Hello-Kitty-kawaii. Ishinomaki is a town that is still struggling to recover from the disaster.

I was handed a photo book during our drive. It featured some of the most heartbreaking photos taken during the Tsunami that happened on 3.11 in Ishinomaki. Raw and real.

Below: Before 3.11

Above: On 12.03.2011

One month after the disaster. The entire town was in a bad shape.

School bags of children who were sacrificed in the disaster.

Above: A long line of people queuing up to get food in front of a supermarket.

Below: Disaster victim who hasn’t showered in two weeks enjoying a hot bath on 24th March.

Above: Sakura full bloom on 26 April in Ishinomaki

Below: The start of new year of kindergarten in Ishinomaki


And from Sendai I arrived at Ishonomaki.

The town looked lonely and quiet. There were signs of post-disaster here and there to be seen.

The blue plate on the wall indicates the height of the Tsunami that struck the town.

We went up to Hiyoriyama, a park on the high ground which served refuge to the Tsunami victim.

It looked really beautiful on that day.

The park is overlooking the coastal area, which remains mostly barren as of today.

It used to look like this before 3.11. There were housing areas and it was a beautiful town.



“May Peace Prevail On Earth”. I think that is the biggest wish for everybody.

At the memorial signboard among all the ruins.

Imagine everything beneath the blue plate was covered and buried in the horror of Tsunami on 3.11.

6.9 metres.

“Gambarou! Ishimaki”.


Just as I am typing this (11:30PM), Fuji TV is showing a special feature on Ishinomaki. Took a few screen shot of how Ishinomaki looked pre and post disaster.

3 years before disaster.


3 years later.

After 5 years, there are still a lot of help needed, the residents are still struggling with life and the town is still waiting to be re-built.



On a brighter note, we had lunch in a really amazing sushi shop in Ishinomaki town during my short visit there!

A brand new restaurant in town.

Super spacious individual room!

Shirako for appetizer!!

Assorted fresh sushi!

The highlight of the day was Wazake, also known as the Japanese salmon.

And a personal note I received:

What a great news!! 😀

Basically Wazake is ocean-farmed raised and process in Japan, and how is it different from other salmon/trout?

I am really happy that it will be available in Malaysia soon, as most of the salmon sold in supermarkets are not sashimi grade (unless you buy the sashimi cut from high end markets like Isetan). More more more fresh raw fish for the family!! <3

With Yumi who helped me so much during the entire trip.

After lunch, I spotted this note on the wall of the restaurant.

It says “This is how the shop looked 10 days post disaster”.

Apparently they have rebuilt the whole restaurant. It was this heavily damaged by Tsunami.

And it’s brand new now. ^^ It’s called Janome Sushi, in Ishinomaki.

Like I say in my previous post, I really admire the positivity the people bring, and I wish I could do something more than just visiting and blogging about it to help the people from the disaster areas. Hope some of you can support too, even just spiritually. 🙂

8 responses to “Tohoku: Miyagi Prefecture (Ishinomaki)”

  1. Huai Bin says:

    I took a Tohoku Line (not sure if it was a Subway or JR line) train in Hokkaido. I wonder if it’s the same Tohoku. It’s my first time here and I love it!

    Beautiful place and wonderful people. My regret is that I don’t speak the language.

    Shirako! I’ve been looking for that too, didn’t manage to find it. It’s cod sperm or something to that effect right? I managed to eat at a 1 Michelin star sushi restaurant in Otaru though, very happy about that. Awesome sushi and I had wazake there too.

    Where are they going to sell wazake in Malaysia? Cheers! 🙂

  2. Maki Jessie S says:

    Call me emotional, but I was crying a little bit when I read your post.. I still remember 3.11 like it happened yesterday. I was not in Japan that time, but I was on twitter, chit chatting with friends and when suddenly everyone tweeted that there’s a strong earthquake in Japan. For a while, I refused to watch any news or clips regarding 3.11 earthquake and tsunami because the images was just too painful and heartbreaking. But I would really love to visit Tohoku in the future. Maybe next year.. Life’s too short to take things for granted. Thank you for sharing this post with us!

  3. Van says:

    PS: Cheesie, News ZERO is from NTV~ not Fuji TV! 🙂

    • Van says:

      Aside from that,

      I really love all of your posts about Tohoku.
      Every time I read any of your posts about Tohoku I feel and understand your love for Japan and I always get emotional, and start tearing whenever I read them too~
      You’ve inspired me to go along with my plan of travelling Tohoku for my graduation trip, Thank you!Please continue writing such posts 🙂

  4. Katie says:

    I travel to Japan tomorrow and reading this post I am so sad we do not have time to travel to more northern areas. I want to go back in maybe two years and next time I’m going to visit Tohoku for sure.

  5. 留学生 says:

    Hi Cheesie.
    I wrote this post today.
    Maybe because I went to 人と防災未来センター today, or maybe because tomorrow is 11.3.2011.
    Hope when you have five minutes open, do take a peep.
    Thank you.

  6. Kelly Li says:

    Cheesie have you heard the song Hana wa saku? We listened to it today in class and its so sad and heartfelt. I just wanted you to hear it if you haven’t yet. (Although you probably have already lolol)

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