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Iwate Resilience & Life on the Edge

  • Discover spectacular coastal landscapes through a day-hike and a fisherman’s boat cruise (sea-kayaking option available)

  • Witness reconstruction efforts after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and hear from the locals inspiring stories of recovery

  • Immerse yourself in the beautiful rural landscapes of Tōno through cycling and contemplate the fascinating linkages between Tōno’s rich folkloric tradition and the harshness of life

  • Visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples of Hiraizumi and learn about the Buddhist culture that flourished in medieval Tōhoku

  • Discover the rich regional craft traditions including beautiful textiles

  • Sample a variety of regional foods from rustic country stews and noodles to sumptuous seafood dinners

Life along Tōhoku’s northeastern seaboard is harsh, due to the cold climate, shortage of flat land, and cycles of natural disasters. Under these conditions, a regional culture evolved that is particularly resilient, innovative and rich in traditions including crafts, food and folklore. At the same time, the region has been socio-economically marginalised through much of Japanese history, and now faces immense challenges from population decline and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. This tour explores the distinct culture and beautiful landscapes of southern Iwate Prefecture’s coast and hinterland. You will discover how the region’s people traditionally managed to live sustainably in the harsh environment, but why the region has become increasingly marginalised over the centuries. You will get precious insights into the post-2011 disaster recovery in coastal areas rarely visited by international tourists.


Day 1: Meet in Morioka, Morioka craft and noodle traditions; Day 2: Hanamaki Sakiori textile workshop, travel Hanamaki–Tōno, Tōno folklore country cycling Part 1; Day 3: Tōno folklore country cycling Part 2; Day 4: travel Tōno–Sanriku Coast, fisherman’s boat cruise (OR sea-kayaking); Day 5: Sanriku Coast post-2011 disaster recovery tour; Day 6: Sanriku Coast scenic day-hike; Day 7: travel Sanriku Coast–Ichinoseki, Hiraizumi (Mōtsuji, Chūsonji), Ichinoseki medieval-style OR mochi cuisine dinner course; Day 8: travel Ichinoseki–Tōkyō


Accommodation: 4 nights modern guesthouses (2 nights Japanese-style and 2 nights Western-style bedding); 2 nights mid-range city hotels; 1 night upper mid-range tourist-style hotel




Physical fitness requirement: MODERATE/HIGH


Cultural tolerance requirement: MODERATE


Departure date: 6 July 2018


Bookings before: 7 April 2018 [PLEASE NOTE REVISED DATE]


Cost: from AUD $4500­ per person


Maximum group size: 6 persons

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