Fukushima beach reopens after 12 years

NARAHA, Fukushima — The Iwasawa swimming beach in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, reopened Saturday for the first time in 12 years. The beach was previously closed due to the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The tsunami had washed away the restrooms and caused the watchtower to tilt, so the town has been working on restoring the beach for the summer. Children, including local elementary school students, enjoyed playing in the water despite the overcast weather.

“The waves here are shallow, so children can play in the water. We want this beach to become a tourist spot once again,” Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said.

After the opening of the beach was announced, students from Naraha Elementary School rushed out to the beach and cheered as they played with the waves.

“I went to the waves and came back. It really was cold but was fun,” an 8-year-old second grader of the school said,

A mother from Futaba said, “The local beaches have not reopened, but I’m so very moved to see more places in Futaba returning to their pre-disaster state.”