Unlike to other parts of Japan, Tanohata has somewhat different landscapes and lifestyle than any other part of country. It sandwiched between deep mountains and wide ocean. The cliff edge is rather rough and steep yet most of areas are still untouched. In the deep forest, there are many wild animals such as bear and eagles living next to human habitats. Because of its current location, making this village unique for producing farming and fishing products in plentiful hands, at same time.
Main reason to visit here to admire the natural beauty of Sanriku coast landscape, while being in real rural life by participating its learning experience programmes which are run by local people. Not to forget eating fresh seafood dishes that you've never seen them before!
The easiest way to approach is from Miyako or Kuji via Sanriku Railway (三陸鉄道). Kuji is served by JR Hachinohe Line from Hachinohe, and JR Tohoku Bus link from Ninohe. Hachinohe and Ninohe are both linked with JR Tohoku Shinkansen Services. While Miyako is linked from Morioka by JR Yamada line or Kenpoku Bus Express 106. (The bus service is far frequent than the JR.) From either Miyako or Kuji, the train should take about 50 mins to Tanohata station. Sanriku Railway has approximately hourly services in each directions. The village has two stations, Tanohata station and Shimanokoshi station.
At least but adventurous option maybe to hire a rent-a-car from Morioka station. Driving in this region is less stressful than in cities like Tokyo. National Road 455 is the shortest route from Morioka, passing through picturesque Gando-ko and Sotoyama lakes and peaceful Iwaizumi town. Morioka to Tanohata takes roughly 2hrs. (Please note, the road condition may be difficult in Winter, when snow may fall heavily.)
There are limited commuter bus links mainly serving for locals connecting between settlements, the village hall and medical center. Only useful bus service for tourist is the line between Tanohata Station and Kitayamasaki Cape which usually connect train arrival times. The single journey costs ¥300 and pay to the driver. The journey takes about 30 min.
From Tanohata Station 06:46, 10:32, 12:05, 14:00, 16:00
From Kitayamasaki 07:17, 11:25, 13:23, 15:32, 16:30
Saturday-Sunday (Jun-Oct only)
From Tanohata Station 10:32, 12:05, 14:00, 16:00
From Kitayamasaki 11:25, 13:23, 15:32, 16:30
There is also a bus route between Kitayamasaki and Fudai village via Kurosaki cape (although twice a day, not weekends). ¥420 single. The journey takes about 20 min.
From Fudai Station 13:40, 15:00
From Kitayamasaki 14:20, 15:30
Taxi is available from Tanohata or Shimanokoshi stations.
If you are driving in Tanohata, Sub-Primary Kendo road 44 is a scenic route going through dramatic landscapes from mountains and seashores onto Fudai village, while National Road 45 runs through highground in the middle of Tanohata village.
Kitayamasaki Cape (北山崎). The village's No.1 tourist spot with 200m high cliff and 8km wide along Sanriku coast. The locals call here as "Alps of the Sea" because of the vivid landscapes. There are three observation decks in the park area (although they offer pretty much same views) as well as staircases down to the shore. The park area consists of a large car park, giftshops, lodges and restaurants. There are also a geological education center and the free museum.edit
Unosu Cliff (鵜の巣断崖), (Drive to the parking lot on Highway 45 and walk 10 minutes.). Similar to Kitayamasaki apart from the distinctive waveline which attract many seabirds especially cormorant. The name "Unosu" means "cormorant's nest.edit
Shii-no-Ohashi Bridge (思惟大橋). Located along National Road 45, which crosses high on deep valley. Many people had to walk across lengthy roads with steep hills before the bridge being built. Today, you can admire the valley view and the sea in horizon from top of the bridge. There is a gift shop selling local products, especially "Tanohata Ice-cream" which is quite popular for visitors.edit
Following activities can be arranged by "Banya Eco-Tourism" project run by Tanohata Network, 0194-37-1211.
"Sappa" Fishing Boat Adventures Riding real small fishing boats "Sappa" and going through cliff gaps and tunnels where fishemen usually catch and pick sea-urchins, Wakame seaweed etc. Driven by real fishermen. 3,500 yen per person, Minimum 2 people.
Kitayamasaki Nature Trecking Guide A walking guide will take you places in deep and wild. The route can be pre-planned according to your request. 3,000 yen per hour.
Shell Art 7 Using shells and making your original accessary such as necklace and photoframe etc. 500-1,500 yen depending what you like to make.
Tsukuehama Ban-ya Experience Visiting fishermen's hatch near the shore, learning about the life of fishermen. 3,000 yen per person.
Ban-ya cooking Experience Using fresh catch of the day, learning how to open Sea-urchin etc. Eating seafood at Ban-ya fishermen's hatch afterwards. 2,500 yen per person. Minimum 2 people.
Deai ni Kanpai (Home visit) Additional to Fishing Boat Adventures, visiting fishermen's house and experience what the real life would be living in the countryside, walking around neighbourhood and having dinner around the table. Name "Kanpai" means "Cheers". 30,000 yen per two persons, 5,000 yen extra per person.
Salmon. Sanriku coast is famous for Salmon in Japan.
Tanohata Dairy Products. "Milk" is widely known in Northern Tohoku region and can be purchased in chain stores. Unique "Drinkable Yogult" is Tanohata's proud item. "Ice-Cream" is also homemade and sold at giftshops in the village.
Seaweed. Crunchy, good taste and long life which is ideal for gift.
Hotel Ragaso (ホテル羅賀荘), 60-1 Raga, Tanohata Village (15 min walk from Tanohata Station. Shuttle bus service for guests.), ☎ +81 0194-33-2611. Operated by village council which has a great sea view from all guest rooms. There is also a huge communal bath with sea view. Serving seafood dinner with fish mainly caught locally, and Japanese buffet breakfast served in dining hall.edit