Adventures in Kesennuma
If you have been around Japan for a while, and have explored many of the beautiful, uniquely distinctive regions and are looking for a great day or overnight trip, then I suggest you take a well-worth adventure to Kesennuma. This sleepy little fishing community lies in the north eastern shore of the Miyagi Prefecture, and getting there is half of the adventure.
With the lingering effects of the great disaster of 3-11, trains do not run up here as the tracks were destroyed, and have not been rebuilt yet. So what you have to do is take the Shinkansen to Sendai station which is a little under two hours from Tokyo Station. Then, you will have to rent a car and be sure to put Kesennuma into the GPS, as you as you will need it! It is about a two hour drive north to get up to there. Alternatively you could also catch a bus from Sendai station, but I personally have only taken the self driving route. *Pro Tip* The Shinkansen heading north starts at Tokyo station, so you can buy the cheaper no reserved seat tickets, you can still get a seat secured if you just get to the platform early!
Kesennuma’s picturesque coast line is scattered with fishing nets, and a harbor filled with a fishing fleet ready to bring in a fresh catch. If you like to hike, there are many trails that go to Mt.Anba or its surroundings. You can go down by the beach to Cape Iwaisaki, you can see the famed dragon tree which is said to be a sign of hope for the people here. The dragon looking pine, although dead, is still standing after the tsunami wave rushed over it, and it is facing the ocean as to protect the people. The dragon tree lies besides the famed bronze statue of sumo wrestler Hidenoyama from the Edo period. This statue was completely engulfed by the tsunami wave, but the strong sumo still stands today pointing out to the ocean.
Kesennuma is known for many things, like their fresh Hoya or sea pineapple which is a good beer snack. They are also known for their abundance of fresh sea food like Uni (sea urchin), Same (shark), and Kaki (oysters). In fact there is even an oyster festival held in November called simply the Kaki festival. Another great addition to the attractions here is Ken Watanabe's café called K-port (http://www.k-port.org/). The restaurant is idyllically located overlooking the fishing fleet, and the bay. The food is simply amazing like their daily made curry or fresh stone oven pizzas with their locally famous garlic, margarita, or even the tasty blue cheese and honey pizza! Mr. Watanabe certain did a noble thing to build a café in Kesennuma to help the community out, and try to bring more people back to visit this prominent town.
If you are spending the night I highly recommend staying at one of the newest built hotels there called the Hotel Route Inn (http://www.booking.com/hotel/jp/route-inn-kesennuma.html). For a very reasonable price, you get a beautiful room with all the modern amenities. A very proper full breakfast is usually included here, as well as housing 24 hour vending machines with whatever you might want. To top it off, this place also hosts a very nice Sentō (public bath) where you can soak in a serene ambiance.
Go find yourself and some adventures in Kesennuma today. You will not only make some lifelong memories, but will be supporting a community in need at the same time. It is defiantly worth the obstacles it might take to get there to experience this attractive locality.