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Miyagi prefecture is a good place to visit and learn about Japan

Mayagi prefecture is one of the tourism sites in Japan that was destroyed by the T-sunami in 2011, and although reconstruction has nearly finished, tourists numbers have dropped since the T-sunami.

Senior reporters from 10 Asean countries last month had a chance to visit the prefecture and also meet local authorities and victims from the T-sunami. Reporters also visited some tourism sites of Mountain Otakamori and stayed at a Japanese style guesthouse on a beach that rises in the centre of Miyato island.

Six reporters from ten Asean countries get up early in the morning to refresh their energy on Miyato island before departing.

Senior journalists from Asean travelled to Japan from June 19 to July 1 under a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) programme. The programme's theme was Japanese experience that can contribute to the development challenges of Southeast Asia.

While we travelled on a bus by road along the beach to Miyato island, we saw the some construction on the beach to protect the bank. Some other parts of the beach had beautiful scenery. The island features a beautiful landscape and we could also see clear sea water. The island is also surrounded by many trees on the mountains.

Roads and other facilities are ready and are very easy to reach on the island. The island also uses modern technology such as solar and wind turbine power.

A guide of the island Mr Kishima Shinichi told us during the visit that “Our tourism dropped over fifty percent after the T-sunami. We used to have over 1.1 million tourists in 2011. We used to have 40 accommodation providers to serve visitors, but now only nine accommodation houses remain. The population has also moved to lived in other areas and some beaches are also closed.”

He said he still stayed here because he wanted to protect the history and to help visitors to understand and enjoy the island, while his children who live and work in other prefectures also want their houses located Miyagi in prefecture.

Mrs Emiko Saito, 47, was one of the victims during the T-sunami. She said that during the T-sunami, only her father and daughter stayed at home and they finally ran on to the mountain to shelter where they survived. Meanwhile, she and her other two sons were working in another prefecture, and she had to hurry to return home after seeing the report of the T-sunami hitting her prefecture.

However, she could not reach her house directly because the road was cut. Then she had to wait another week to be able to get into her house and finally found that her father and daughter had survived.

“My house is completely reconstructed after a year and I decided not to move to another area because my children also love our house and here there is beautiful nature, while my sons who work and live in other prefectures can come back to relax on their vacations,” she said.

An owner of a Japanese style guesthouse located on a beach of the island, where our group of Asean reporters also stayed for a night, told us that “during the T-sunami at in my place, I lost a bus and two cars, while a building of our guesthouse was also destroyed. We renovated only one building to serve visitors because our customer numbers have dropped over 50 percent.”

“Meanwhile, our area used to have many shops and accommodation before and now there are only a few. So, the number of tourists who used to visit is dropping. I hope that tourists will increase again in the near future because our beach here has almost returned to normal.”

During the stay in her guesthouse, we learnt the Japanese style of dressing, eating and way of living, which was most impressive during our visit.

Miyato island has many sightseeing spots to attract visitors for relaxation. It is also famous for oyster raising but it currently has only two companies operating there. Meanwhile, sea weed is also another famous product of the island.

Mountain Otakamori is also located on the island where there are many big trees and different kinds of birds singing from the treetops. The mountain is a famous tourism site and rises in the centre of Miyato Island, the largest island in Matsushima Bay. It takes approximately 15 minutes to walk the steep slope from the bottom to the top where it has a platform to see the view of the bay.

There are four commonly known views of the Matsushima island such as a magnificent view from Otakamori mountain (105.8 m), a panoramic view from Tomiyama mountain (116.8 m) in Matsuhima-cho and a splendid view from Tamonzan mountain (55.6 m) in Shichigahama-machi.

According to legend, this mountain was named Otakamori mountain in ancient times because it was the first that the Emperor Yamato Takeru climbed. It is also said that Prince Noriyoshi and Lord Date Masamune greatly admired the scenery from the mountain.

The observatory at the top of the mountain provides magnificent panoramic views of Kinka mountain in the east, Kurikoma mountain in the north and Matsushima Bay spreading in the west.

Half way to the top of Otakamori mountain, visitors will also visit the famous Otakamori Yakushido Hall. The h all was built by Masataka Mori, Miyagi p refecture Governor at the time. A wooden statue of the Yakshi Buddha is enshrined in the hall.

The Yakushido hall was completed in 1915.

Miyagi prefecture is now a good place for learning lessons about the world.

ByTimes Reporters
(Latest Update July 11, 2017)

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