Sunday 19 February 2023

Part 9: Miyako to Kesennuma

 Miyako to Kesennuma

I woke at the first sunlight in Shiokaze Park. Then I packed my things. Folded my tent and sleeping bag.  Say goodbye to a traveler like me who was also sleeping at the park. He said he is traveling to Sendai. Last night he slept in his car while I slept in my tent. 

At 5:00am I said goodbye to  Shiokaze park and left following route 259 back to route 45. I found Route 45 just a few meters down the road and followed route 45 through Miyoka city. My destination for today is going to be the city of Kesenuma 130km southeast of Miyoka city.

Today's cycling is going to be tough. There are lots of mountains I have to climb but I was determined to complete the trip. I also checked the weather and it is going to be raining along the way.

I took this photo around 5:30am when I was about to leave Shiokaze park in Miyako city.  Last night  I slept under a small shelter and listened to the sound of waves crashing on the port's concrete wall. In the morning a woke up to a beautiful sunrise and an amazing view of the sea.

After leaving Miyoko city and cycling for 25km I reached the city of Yamato. It is a small city surrounded by mountains to the west and a beautiful bay with small islands to the east. Overlooking where I stood and took this picture is the breathtaking sight of small islands scatted in the bay.

I took this photo standing at the  Yamada Bay Observation Deck, which is just a few meters next to route 45. I think this bay area is where they are doing some kind of seaweed farming.

500 m ahead is Fureal Park. A beautiful roadside market where travelers stop to buy food, and use the restrooms. I did not stop there. I rode passed it due to time.

I took this picture while riding up a small hill. The view of the ocean was dazzling.

I stopped my bike for a couple of minutes and stood admiring this stunning view. This is where a small creek meets the sea. The place where they meet looks like a long submerged fault. As I stood there watching the ocean  I saw the waves softly rushing onto the sand and calmly dying down as they retrieved slowly back into the open sea. This area is surrounded by beautiful cliffs on both sides. The feeling of calm washed over me just by standing there and watching the beautiful nature at work.

This is the Funakoshi Parking lot. On a beautiful sunny day like this one, the view from this parking lot overlooking Funakoshi bay is breathtaking.

Sign board for tourists at a small beach site location. The sign shows the local ancient Michinoku Coastal Trail and the old battles grounds for the locals who lived in this area a long time ago. It looks to me like a walking-around museum of natural history.

The beautiful Ryoishi bay in Kamaishi town. The reflection of the sun on the sea makes it glow beautifully under the morning sky.

At Odairacho stood a very tall statue of Buda. The statue reminded me of the statue of  Jesus Christ in Rio de Janaro. This one is a bit shorter,  I think. This magnificent work of art stood overlooking Kaimaishi Bay and beyond.

Kamasihi Dai-kannon Temple.The tall statue of Buda can be seen in this photo facing the ocean.

After passing the city of Ofunato. I climbed a very tall mountain. I was so exhausted from hours of climbing the mountain. But when  I  reached the top of my climb,  this beautiful view was waiting for me. The view quickly relieved my tiring and brought back energy.

After leaving Kamaishi city,  I cycled for about 2okm and started a long snail climbed up a mountain before going down to Ofunta city on ascending side of this mountain. The road runs through a lush green forested area. As I was climbing I can't help but stopped from time to time to look and listen to the amazing sounds of nature. It was so peaceful.

On top of my snail pace climb, I  reached the Shinsanriku tunnel which took me through the mountain top to the other side before I started my ascending into Ofunato city. I  stopped there for a while and took a couple of deep breaths before proceeding on.

Ofunato is a small town located within Ofunato bay. I took this picture while cycling through the town. It was still early so everyone was kind of still sleeping, I guess.

After Ofunato I cycled up Mt. Masusaki and arrived at a place called Masakicho. At the top of Mt.Masukai, there were several large buying that looked like kids' play areas and a building that looked like a hotel but I think it was a hot bath house.

The signboard overhead welcomed me to the city of Rikuzentakata.

In Rikuzuntakata I arrived at Iwate Tsunami Memorial park. At this site, you can still see the remnants of the 2011 Japan Great East Earthquake that generated huge tsunami waves that destroyed infrastructures and killed thousands of people. The picture you see here is the remains of a concrete structured roadside market. The tsunami generated by the 2011 earthquake was so powerful it destroyed almost everything in its path. The tsunami crushed houses and huge metal structures into deformed cans
Going straight from Rikuzuntakata is Kesenuma city. My final destination for the day.

Entrance  to the Inwate Tsunami Museum at Rikuzuntakata 

The remnant of a fire truck. The first responder used this truck to try and rescue people but the tsunami was too strong and crashed the truck. 

This is a remnant of an old bridge next to the museum. The huge metal was crushed and folded like a can. This showed how powerful the force of the tsunami was.

2011 Iwate tsunami artifacts that were collected after the disaster and donated to the museum.

I was able to find a staff who spoke in English and she helped me retell the story of that dreadful day. I just can't imagine the people at that time.

The kind staff took this photo of me standing next to a huge metal from a bridge that was crushed into a piece of a can during the tsunami.

Out-of-shape sight post in the Iwate Tsunami Museum

These trees have a very interesting story and they are called the miracle trees, that was what I heard. During the tsunami in 2011, these trees were not destroyed even though they were a few meters from the sea. These trees remained as they were. Today these trees stood as they are and the museum is built around them. People there now see them as a  sign of courage in the face of calamities.

When I finally left the Inwate Tsunami Museum. It was around 5pm. My destination was still 19km away. But at a cycling speed of 15km/hour,  I was able to reach it in less than 2 hours before nightfall.

I found a port-side park called Ochiai Naofumi Monument park in Kesenuma city. There I set up my tent for the night under a small shelter next to the sea. Tomorrow I have to cycle to Sendai city and then onto Fukushima. I still have 210km more to bike the next day.

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