By Sarah Chaney
Years in the making, the Michinoku Trail follows the Sanriku Coast from Soma in Fukushima to Hachinohe in Aomori. It's a 900 kilometer long trail that winds up the jagged edge of the Pacific Ocean in Tohoku. Michinoku is the old name of Tohoku.
For most people outside Japan, even in Japan, Tohoku barely register on their maps. It's a shame, Tohoku such a beautiful area of Japan. The Michinoku Trail will take you on beautiful beaches, steep and dangerous cliffs with splendid views, big forests and you'll meet very warm and friendly people and even some wildlife along the way.
To do the whole length of the trail takes over a month, I met a hiker that did just that, he took 45 days from Soma to Hachinohe, he had just finished. The trail is divided in 23 sections that take a couple of days each. You can start in any of these sections for a weekend adventure. There are many places to camp along the way but also if you want more comfortable accommodations, there are lot of hotels and ryokans to spend the night as well.
The Tanohata section with Kitayamazaki and Unosu Cliffs is one of my favorite area. Around Ofunato, Goishi Kaigan is also quite beautiful but just walking along the shore is also quite relaxing, smelling the fresh ocean air.
You can find all the details at this government site; http://tohoku.env.go.jp/mct/english/
The southern starting point is Soma in Fukushima, just south of Sendai. and the northern end is Hachinohe in Aomori. You can start at any of the 23 sections of the trail. It's not a continuous trail since there are some cities and towns along the way.
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I grew up in Quebec, Canada and studied electronics in college, never worked in that field. Moved to Vancouver in the early 80's where I found my real passion, cooking. I ran my own restaurant for 14 years after that worked as a financial advisor for 4 years, I really enjoyed that too but we had to move to Japan for family reasons. After moving to Japan I started teaching English and French. I enjoy teaching too but most of all I enjoy challenges, moving here was challenging but really interesting. Another challenge that I had been thinking about for about 20 years was renovating a house, so for the last 2 years that is what I have been doing. I bought a 25 year old house and am bringing it to modern standards in terms of comfort and earthquake strength. In my time off I like cycling, hiking and snowboarding in winter. Of course I still enjoy cooking. Hope you like my articles.