Ishinomaki Community & Info Center (ICIC) was opened to provide a space to help inform and educate visitors about the ongoing reconstruction efforts throughout Ishinomaki city. Serving both local residents and visitors from further afield (including overseas tourists), it marks an important stop on any visit to Ishinomaki.
Constructed after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the center provides a great deal of information about Ishinomaki and its history. The impact of the disaster is a well detailed, with a great deal of information and useful facts, figures and charts on display. However, there is a major focus on outlining reconstruction efforts and future planning activities going on. The center also acts as a meeting place for local community members.
The central area is dominated by a replica city model outlining the landscape changes over time and a giant wall map summarising the ongoing reconstruction efforts. Both offer a glimpse of a future Ishinomaki and a reminder that there is still much to do. A giant messaging board invites visitors to leave a personal message – evidence of a recent Pokemon Go collaboration which attracted visitors to the region is easy to see in the some of the messages and drawings.
As well as small meeting area, there is free Wi-Fi on hand as well as friendly English-speaking staff – including local resident and British citizen, Richard Halberstadt, Director of the Information Centre. Whilst not specifically a tourist information centre in itself, the staff are knowledgeable about the surrounding area and can share maps, pamphlets and other useful information.
The information centre is about a 10 minute walk from Ishinomaki station, along the Manga Road route to the Manga Museum. Whilst housed in a prefab unit in an area undergoing continual redevelopment, it is likely the centre will remain in its current location for the foreseeable future.