You know what I always get asked by researchers with the International Linear Collider? “Iwate is beautiful, sure. But what is there to do on the weekends?” If the ILC is built in the Kitakami mountains of Iwate, you’ll never want for outdoor trails and sports to enjoy. But Iwate is also blessed with the Sanriku coast (a 400 km long coastline along the Pacific Ocean) and tons of things you can find elsewhere in Japan.

This time, we’re going to show off Miyako City on the central coast, where you can be the first to see the sunrise on the island of Honshu, Japan, as Miyako has the easternmost point of the island (Todogasaki Cape)!

Miyako at a glance 

-Population: 54,109 (as of April 1, 2018)

-Thanks to its merger with some inland towns in 2005 and 2010, Miyako is the largest city (areawise) in Iwate

-Home to Todogasaki Cape, the easternmost point of Honshu island

-In 2016, over 1.1 million tourists visited Miyako

-Famous for its salmon and more exotic seafood like abalone and sea urchin

-By car, the city center is about 2 hours away from Morioka, and 2 and a half from the Kitakami site

What are you waiting for? Let’s hop in the car and head to Miyako!

Jodogahama Beach

If you go nowhere else in Miyako, you’ve got to go to Jodogahama. This beach is one of the most famous places on the Sanriku coast of Iwate, and was naturally formed by volcanic magma activity 40 million years ago along with oceanic erosion. It almost seems like a scene from the Buddhist paradise (which is called “Jodo” or Pure Land in Japanese).

The gorgeous white beach is covered in small shells, surrounded by rocks jutting out of the aquamarine waters. Because the beach is part of an inlet, the waters are calm and not too cold, so Jodogahama is a popular swimming spot for families with young children. Once you arrive, you can take a boat ride, and eat some fresh fish in the small resthouse by the beach. You can even walk around the trails to find some rare kamoshika deer.

While you’re in the area, Miyako’s coastline is also part of the national Sanriku Geopark. The entire coastline is considered to be an international treasure, because you can see remnants of how the earth evolved and changed over 500 million years. The Geopark itself starts from Hachinohe City in Aomori, spans the entire coast of Iwate, and ends at Kesennuma City in Miyagi, and is truly blessed with some beautiful sights and rare flora and fauna.

Listen to a local: Manami Shimizu

“The beaches at Jodogahama have a totally different feel depending on whether it’s spring, summer, autumn and winter. As I grew older, I realized that it was a place that could heal my heart and calm my spirit. I hope other people can see that too!” – Read more

More about Jodogahama on VISIT IWATE


One of the best things about being on the coast of Japan is the ease-of-access to mouthwatering, freshly caught fish and other marine products. Miyako is known for its salmon, and the autumn is full of festivals and opportunities to eat salmon that have swam back from the ocean. People also harvest abalone, scallops, and oysters, as well as more exotic fair like sea pineapple and sea urchin. There are plenty of restaurants just a stone’s throw away from Miyako Station where you can sample sushi made by experts for a very reasonable price.

Miyako also catches the largest amount of Pacific cod (madara) in all of Japan (as of 2014), so you’ll find a lot of local dishes that make use of the fish. In winter, Miyako holds a festival celebrating the seasonal catch of hairy crab (kegani). You can eat fantastic seafood in Miyako all year round!

Check out Miyako restaurants on Trip Advisor

Disaster Education Tours

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 struck a devastating blow to the communities on the coast of Japan. We consider it our duty in Iwate to educate others about the lessons we learned. In the Taro region of Miyako, these guides lead you on a tour of the seawalls that led people to have a false sense of security, and then take you to the old Taro Tourism Hotel, with its bottom floors gutted from the wave. There, on the top floor, you’ll witness a video of the tsunami hitting Taro, taken by the hotel president on that fateful day. It’s a harrowing but important experience, where you’ll learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones should a natural disaster occur.

Tour options: 1 hour (4,000 yen per group), 2 hours (10,000 yen per group)

Language: Japanese (consider bringing along an interpreter)

Learn more

Listen to a local: Kumiko Motoda

“We want to teach what we experienced so we can help protect the world against as much disaster damage as possible. But the ocean is also something that has blessed us. Everyone wonders why we stay here even after tsunami has struck so many times. No matter how many times the wave comes, we have the power to rebuild, because we are supported by the ocean.” – Read more

A gateway to Hokkaido?

A new addition in June 2018, there is now a ferry that runs between Miyako to Muroran in Hokkaido once a day. This ten hour trip can take you and your car up to Hokkaido to do some more free-range traveling. (Of course, you can also take a flight from Hanamaki Airport to Hokkaido, but this way you can take your own vehicle!)

The Silver Queen ferry between Miyako and Muroran

Learn more (Japanese)

How to get to Miyako from the Kitakami site (southern Iwate)

By train to Miyako Station

Get to Morioka Station by either the shinkansen line or the JR Tohoku Honsen line. Then transfer to the JR Yamada line which will take you to Miyako Station.

Check train times at

By car

Miyako is about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive from the Kitakami site.

From Oshu City

From Ichinoseki City

From Kesennuma City

More Information

A model itinerary of the Iwate coast that includes Miyako

Meet more people from Miyako!

-The Miyako section of the Michinoku Coastal Trail (Overview) (Map)

Visit other parts of Iwate!






・人口: 54,109人(2018年4月1日)
・平成28年度の観光入込客数は1,100,000人を上回った (参考:宮古市の統計)




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