We woke up in our shipping crate on day 2, got our cafeteria breakfast with side of staring locals. I have gotten used to Japanese breakfast, and a cafeteria breakfast is made of a bowl of rice, a couple soft-boiled eggs, some nori, and pickled plums, plus a nice hot bowl of miso soup. So bellies full we started driving north along the coast, seeing the gorgeous coastlines, but also the towns that were devastated by the tsunami.
As we drove, we would realize that the green field we were driving through was spotted with foundations, and we were in fact driving through what two years prior had been a busy little town. In most places all the scrap has been cleared away, although there is still some around, and also hollowed out buildings. The train lines are still out, but we could see some industries flourishing — the combinis have set up temporary buildings all over the place, and the pachinko parlors have also come back quickly. Gravestone carvers, car dealerships, and home-improvement stores are also evident all over the place. There were lots of backhoes all over the place, but not a lot of people around. We saw a number of the temporary housing buildings, which looked remarkably similar to our hotel from the night before. It’s so hard to imagine what everything must have looked like before the tsunami.
We finally reached a place up the coast called Jodogahama, which is another famous view onto toothy rocks off the coast. It only recently reopened to the public, so it was busy mostly with locals while we were there. We also saw some famous arches along the coast that survived the tsunami.
We cut back inland next, and drove to Hiraizumi where we spent the night. The next morning we got up early to avoid the crowds and visited Chusonji Temple. Chusonji is a particularly beautiful temple complex, most famous for this golden hall mausoleum, which of course you’re not allowed to take photos of, but it’s a massive complex with all kinds of buildings winding up the hill between the cedars. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful, and one of our favorite temple complexes (vying with some of our favorite Kamakura temples).
Up next: another castle!