Kesennuma / Karakuwa Trail Course

CONCEPT

The sparkling sea and verdant peninsula

Trail where the waves resound against the cliffs and unique rock formations

Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City is a small town located on a peninsula in the northern part of Miyagi Prefecture. It has a population of approximately 6,200 and an area of 42 km2. From the dynamic ria coast to the scenery of the Sanriku Geopark, and seasonal flora, there is much to enjoy. The Olle trail goes from the Karakuwa Peninsula Visitor Center at the tip of the peninsula to Ogama Hanzo, a famous landmark in the Sanriku Fukko National Park. As you begin your hike along the coast, you can see giant stones that were ripped from the sea floor and cast ashore by the 2011 tsunami.
A special feature of this area, which on average has experienced a tsunami every 37 years, is a strong disaster warning system and disaster preparedness education. People here chose to live as one with the sea through the generations despite suffering from tsunami and have learned from painful experience that “you cannot defy nature.” As you walk along this trail you can begin to understand the distinct culture of this place whose inhabitants live both in fear of nature and as one with the sea. The trail passes by a number of shrines that were part of pilgrimage paths to pray for safety related to the sea, and the town is dotted with more than 70 such shrines. This Olle connects with a pilgrimage route where wives prayed for the safety of their husbands away at sea, and also with a path used in daily life. This is a special trail course where you can experience the culture and lifestyle of the people of Karakuwa who live in harmony with the sea.

Course details

Course map

Course highlights

1

Karakuwa Peninsula Visitor Center

(Start 0.0 km)

2

Osaki Shrine

(0.4km)

This shrine is within a thick Japanese Bay tree forest. Dating back over 1000 years, it is said to help with romantic relationships and good harvest of fish. Nearby there is a Whale Monument dedicated to a whale worshipped as a divine messenger, where you can feel the depth of the faith of these people of the sea.

3

Cape Osaki

(0.8km)

A scenic spot at the tip of the peninsula to view the Pacific Ocean. The unique surface of the rock reminiscent of mille-feuille is actually sedimentary rock which dates back some 250 million years, and this area has been designated as one of Japan’s top 100 geological features and the highlight of the Sanriku Geopark.

4

Kannokura Tsunami Stones

(3.0km)

These giant stones were unearthed from the sea floor and cast ashore on March 11, 2011 by the tsunami. The largest of these stones has a diameter of about 6 meters and estimated weight of 150 tons. You can feel the terrible force of the tsunami here.

5

Yaemonzaka

(3.5km)

Local residents labored to revive this ancient path for the Olle. It was named after a Christian missionary named “Yaemon” who lived nearby a long time ago.

6

Tsubaki Tunnel

(3.8km)

In Karakuwa there are more than 20,000 tsubaki (camellia) trees. In March- April the red flowers make it a flower tunnel and flower path.

7

The rows of houses at the Karakuwa Goten (Karakuwa Palace)

(4.3km)

This majestic style of housing built with the trademark of traditional huge tiled hip-and-gable roof structures (which consists of a lower half which slopes on all four sides, and an upper half with two sloped sides and two flat walls) is called a Karakuwa Goten. They were built by fishermen that traveled through the world's seas and competitively built these houses when they returned.

8

A Trail / B Trail Division Point

(4.7km)

Choose the A Trail, which consists of a walk down a nature trail and the deeply-indented Rias coastline, or the B Trail where you can stop by at cafeterias and shops along the way.

9

Sasahama Fishing Port

(6.0km)

As is typical for ria coastal areas like the Karakuwa Peninsula, there is a range of inlets large and small which locals use as harbors for fishing. The harbor is also known for its beautiful pebbles on the beach.

10

Oreishi Stone Column

(8.0km)

This is the scenic gem of the Sanriku Fukko National Park. This stone column rises 16 meter out of the open ocean. In 1896 it was damaged by a large tsunami which broke off the tip, giving it its current name, Oreishi (“broken stone”). There is a similar stone on the Jeju Olle’s 7th course called “Oedolgae Rock.”

11

Hanzo

(Finish 10.0km)

This beautiful stretch of coastline is known for “Day lilies” and “Nippon daisies” which bloom in between these unusual stones. It is an ideal place to watch the sun rise over the horizon.

Course altitude map

Places to Stay

  • Rias Karakuwa Youth Hostel

    Room ¥4,000, with breakfast ¥4,760, with breakfast and dinner ¥6,000

    Address
    2-8 Nakai, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-2490
  • Karakuwa Goten Tsunakan

    Room ¥6,000, with breakfast ¥7,000, with breakfast and dinner ¥10,000

    Address
    81 Shibitachi, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-2264
  • Sakaya Minshuku

    Room ¥4,320, with breakfast ¥5,940, with breakfast and dinner ¥7,500

    Address
    44 Iwaisawa, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-34-3520
  • Hamanasu Minshuku

    Room ¥5,000, with breakfast ¥5,800, with breakfast and dinner ¥7,000

    Address
    195-1 Takaishihama, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-2814
  • Nagisa Minshuku

    Room ¥4,320, with breakfast ¥5,400, with breakfast and dinner ¥7,025

    Address
    187 Akedo, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-3198
  • Sunago Minshuku

    Room ¥4,320, with breakfast ¥5,400, with breakfast and dinner ¥7,020

    Address
    21-1 Baba, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-2613
  • Funado Minshuku

    Room ¥4,320, with breakfast ¥5,400, with breakfast and dinner ¥7,020

    Address
    14-5 Naka, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-3148
  • Horishin Minshuku

    Room ¥4,320, with breakfast ¥5,400, with breakfast and dinner ¥7,020

    Address
    24-34 Tsumoto, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-2373

* Accommodations and meals all require reservations
* All prices listed are tax-included.

Places to Eat

  • Marusan

    Sushi set ¥1,600 Closed Tuesdays

    Address
    55-5 Kamikosaba, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-3730
  • Wakaba zushi

    Nigiri sushi ¥1,000 Open daily

    Address
    44-6 Kamikosaba, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-3610
  • Coffee Shop GIGI

    Hamburg steak set ¥700 Open daily

    Address
    113-4 Naka, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-3216
  • Isaribi Godai

    Miso ramen ¥890 Closed Thursdays

    Address
    98-18 Kitanaka, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-4340
  • Karakuwa Banya Oyster Shack

    Oyster, scallop set ¥1,500 Open Oct-May (Sat, Sun & National Holidays only) Reservation required

    Address
    241-6 Shibitachi, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    080-8205-4186
  • Kitchen Higashiyama

    Sweet and sour pork set ¥800 Closed Wednesdays

    Address
    184 Baba, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-32-4285
  • Café Printemps

    Hoya (sea pineapple) and wakame seaweed spaghetti ¥1,000 Closed Wednesdays + Thursdays

    Address
    409-2 Shukuura, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-25-8077
  • Hanzo Resthouse

    Chicken curry ¥700 Closed Mondays

    Address
    264-2 Konagane, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
    TEL
    0226-31-2055

* All prices listed are tax-included

Access

鉄道

  • ●Sendai Airport<Sendai Airport Access Line / shortest 17 min.>
  • JR Sendai Station<Tohoku Shinkansen / approx. 30 min.>
  • JR Ichinoseki Station<Ofunato Line or highway bus / approx. 1 hour 15 min.>
  • JR Kesennuma Station<walk / approx. 10 min.>
  • Miyako Bus Mikkamachi Bus stop<Miyako Bus for Osaki / approx. 45 min>
  • Karakuwa Peninsula Visitor Center bus stop
  • ●Sendai Airport<Sendai Airport Access Line shortest 17 min.>
  • JR Sendai Station<Highway Bus for Kesennuma approx. 180 min.>
  • Kesennuma Shiyakushomae stop<Miyako Bus for Osaki approx. 45 min>
  • Karakuwa Peninsula Visitor Center bus stop

レンタカー

From: Tohoku Expressway, Ichinoseki IC<approx. 90 min.>
within Kesennuma Chuo IC<approx. 30 min.>
within Kesennuma City<approx. 30 min.>

タクシー

Shishiori/ Kihansen Taxi ℡ 0226-22-1234
Minato Taxi ℡ 0226-23-3720
Kesennuma Kanko Taxi ℡ 0226-22-6000
Gojuban Taxi ℡ 0226-22-0050
Nasuya Taxi ℡ 0226-22-1512
Kesennuma Haitaku ℡ 0226-24-0026
Motoyoshi Taxi ℡ 0226-42-3110
Wako Taxi ℡ 0226-42-3800

Local Highlights

Karakuwa Peninsula Visitor Center, Tsunami Experience Theater (Tourist Information Center)

Exhibits related to nature, people on the Karakuwa Peninsula, and past tsunamis. Gift shop with local products.

Address
4-3 Sakihama, Karakuwa Town, Kesennuma City
TEL
0226-32-3029
Hours
Open 08:30-16:30, Closed Tuesdays, Tsunami Experience Theater has an admission fee

Oysters

Karakuwa oysters are nourished by nutrients from the forests that flow into the sea. They are carefully cultivated in this rich natural environment and are known for their large size and rich flavor. From the Karakuwa Banya Oyster Shack you can observe floating oyster farms as you enjoy steamed oysters. (Open October-May on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays. Reservations required: 080-8205-4186)

Okarakuwa

Jams and teas using Okarakuwa berries are popular gifts known for their properties which promote health and beauty. (Okarakuwa Cultivators Appreciation Society)

More to Enjoy in Miyagi

Treasure-trove of fresh seafood in Kesennuma

Kesennuma City is located in the northeastern part of Miyagi Prefecture, and is a hub for transportation and industry. It is known for its fishing ports and beautiful coastal scenery. It is famous for its production of “fukahire” or shark-fin, a high-end cooking ingredient that is used in delicacies such as shark-fin sushi, soup and even ramen. In addition, you can watch fish auctions of swordfish, tuna, shark, bonito, saury, pacific sunfish, salmon, flounder and cod at the Kesennuma Fish Market.

Sanriku, a Seafood Powerhouse

One of Japan’s leading fish markets with an annual catch of 100,000 tons

Kesennuma Fishing Port / Kesennuma Fish Market

This is one of just 13 ports in Japan designated as category 3 (large). Each day brings a new haul of fresh seasonal catch from the Sanriku fishing grounds, one of top three most productive in the world. Not limited to local fisheries, this port is home to oceanic fishing vessels which bring in some of the country’s largest catches of bonito, saury, swordfish, shark and more. The second floor has a 354-meter-long observation deck, among the largest in Japan, giving visitors the perfect vantage point to watch the lively auction take place below in the early morning. Bidding begins at about 7 a.m., and the scene of fish arranged for sale is a remarkable sight.

Address
8-25 Uoichibamae, Kesennuma City
TEL
0226-22-7119
Hours
5:00-12:00, Open daily (Contact in advance for tours)
Fish Market Supervisor, Fisheries Division, Industries Department, Kesennuma City (Fish Market Management Office)

The Only Shark Museum in Japan

Kesennuma Shark Museum (Kesennuma Umi no Ichi building)

Kesennuma Shark Museum (Kesennuma Umi no Ichi building)
Adjacent to Kesennuma Fish Market is a building called “Kesennuma Umi no Ichi”, a good sightseeing spot with all the favorite local products on offer. On the first floor are fish, shellfish and processed seafood from Kesennuma Port as well as restaurants. The second floor has a tourism information center as well as Japan’s only shark museum. At the Kesennuma Tourism & Convention Bureau you can get information about what to see in the city, where to eat and where to stay. The Kesennuma Shark Museum has life-sized shark models and exhibits to help you easily understand their unusual biology. Surprises and wonder await at this museum which can only be found in Kesennuma, the capital of shark fishing. In addition, in the “Recovery Theater” of the same museum there is a 15-minute video covering the disaster, recovery and future from the viewpoint of local residents.

Address
7-13 Uoichibamae, Kesennuma City
TEL
0226-24-5755 Kesennuma Sangyo Center, Inc.
Hours
Umi no Ichi 8:00-17:00 / Kesennuma Shark Museum 9:00-17:00 / Open daily
URL
Access

Inquiries about the course

Karakuwa Tourism Association(at the Karakuwa Peninsula Visitor Center)   TEL 0226-32-3029