Michinoku Coastal Trail Marks Five Years Since Opening; Walking Event Brings Hundreds To Iwate Pref. To Celebrate

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants walk the Michinoku Coastal Trail in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, on Sunday.

A group of 332 hikers from Tokyo, Osaka and other prefectures gathered at Jodogahama beach in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, on Sunday for a walking event to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Michinoku Coastal Trail.

This nature trail, which winds for approximately 1,000 kilometers along the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region, is of one the long-distance trails developed nationwide by the Environment Ministry and links the four prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

The trail was developed as part of the reconstruction work following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and on June 9 in 2019, the entire route linking Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, in the north and Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, in the south was opened to the public.

Sunday’s event, the “Michinoku Coastal Trail Walk in Miyako with Pokemon Local Acts” was organized by the Environment Ministry and the Michinoku Coastal Trail walk committee, with support from The Yomiuri Shimbun and others, as well as special sponsorship from Asics Corp. and Japan Airlines Co.’s Tohoku Branch Office.

The event consisted of two courses, an 8-kilometer long course and a 5-kilometer short course, both centering on the scenic Jodogahama beach and ending at the tourist facility Roadside Station Miyako Seatopia Naado.

The walk was also attended by State Minister of the Environment Tetsuya Yagi and Jordan’s Ambassador to Japan Lina Annab, who worked hard to develop the world-famous “Jordan Trail” in her own country.

After participating in the hike, Yagi said, “I felt the ancient majesty of Sanriku’s natural environment. We must tell the world more about it.” Annab, who walked the short course, said of the scenery at Jodogahama: “The color of water, the way it changes, it’s really fascinating.”

“I think exchanging knowledge and information and learning from another. I think [those] are one of the important things,” she added.

Walkers who completed the course enjoyed the privilege of having their photo taken with official “Iwate Support Pokemon” Geodude, as well as the highly popular Pikachu. Yutaka Kakuchi, a 52-year-old office worker from Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, completed the long-distance course and said, “The entrance to Jodogahama was very beautiful. We were blessed with good weather and were able to walk comfortably.”