*The times represent the approximate time needed to travel between major spots.
Days 1 to 3
Visit Disaster-Prevention Related Spots in Tokyo
During days one to three, you will visit spots in Tokyo where you can learn about disaster prevention, and during these three days you can gain valuable experience from this history of disaster prevention awareness!
As you learn about disaster prevention, you can also enjoy the cityscape of Tokyo.
On day one you will go to Ueno Park, an oasis in the center of Tokyo, and which also has history as being the first city park in Japan. When the Great Kanto Earthquake occurred in 1923, it was used as an evacuation spot and shelter for residents. Ueno Park also has nearby art museums and a zoo, so make sure to stop by them while you are in the area!
During the next day, you will visit the Great Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum, a memorial hall with exhibits related to the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. At the museum, you can become familiar with the history of Tokyo's reconstruction while looking at photographs and materials from the time of the earthquake.
For the third day, you will visit the two Karakuri Yagura clock towers in the Ningyocho neighborhood. Through the Karakuri mechanical puppets you can learn about the great successes of fire brigades during Japan's Edo period. There are also many spots for gourmet meals and lunch, no matter where your feet take you, with the long-established tempura and soba noodle restaurants being particularly recommended.
The first spot to visit in Tokyo is Ueno Park. Ueno Park was opened in 1873, soon after the Meiji Restoration started a new era for Japan, and is the first city park in Japan, consisting of Shinobazu pond and a plateau called Mt. Ueno. Despite being located in close proximity to Ueno Station, the park is quite large, approximately 53 ha (approx. 131 acres), and can be described exactly as an oasis within the city. In 1923 it was used as an evacuation site and shelter after the Great Kanto Earthquake. In addition to large grassy areas, there are also cultural facilities such as art museums and a zoo in the same area as the park, so Ueno Park can be enjoyed all day long. The zoo's entrance fee is a very reasonable ¥600 for adults.
20 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Great Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum (Yokoamicho Park)
The Great Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum in Yokoamicho Park displays materials covering the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, the recovery from the earthquake, and the bombing of Tokyo during World War II. In addition to displaying damaged daily necessities and actual incendiary bombs, the museum also displays materials related to the bombing of Tokyo and the reconstruction from the war. Seeing and knowing the misery of war will make visitors think of peace once again. The museum is about a 10-minute walk from Ryogoku Station, and admission is free. There is also a children's playground and a Japanese garden within the park, making it perfect for walking on sunny days.
10 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Ningyocho Neighborhood (Karakuri Yagura clock tower inspired by Edo period fire brigades)
There are two Karakuri Yagura
clock towers in the Ningyocho neighborhood, where a quaint, pre-war cityscape remains. On the Suitengu side of the Ningyocho neighborhood is the "Edo Rakugo Karakuri
Clock Tower" and near Ningyocho Intersection is the "Machi Bikeshi Karakuri
Clock Tower," and a few times during each day mechanical puppets will come to life for 2-3 minutes. At the Machi Bikeshi Karakuri
Clock Tower the Karakuri
mechanical puppets will teach you about the activities of the town fire brigades. After observing the Karakuri Yagura
clock towers, enjoy some of the gourmet foods unique to Ningyocho, such as at the Imahan restaurant, which is famous for its sukiyaki
dishes. Also recommended is a stroll through the long-established downtown area of Amazake Yokocho.
15 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Days 4 to 6
Famous Places in Tokyo that have Survived Numerous Disasters and Fires
There are numerous famous places in Tokyo that have survived natural disasters and fires, and which have then regained their vitality and vigor. Enjoy vitality of Tokyo as a city that has been brought low and then rebuilt itself!
On day four, you will visit Tokyo's Azabu-Juban neighborhood, which recovered from the air raids of World War II and today has become a lively shopping district that is visited by many people. Taking a walk through the area while appreciating the monuments in Azabu-Juban is recommended.
On day five, you will head to Nihombashi, a neighborhood where you can feel Tokyo's history. Despite being damaged by both the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and the fires from the bombing of Tokyo during World War II, the town has had a fantastic recovery. This visit is also an excellent chance to enjoy the gourmet foods that are unique to Nihombashi, a town of traders and shopkeepers.
On day six, you will visit Sensoji Temple, which has existed for 1,400 years and is the oldest temple in Japan. Sensoji Temple has been in the Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo for more than a thousand years, and has gone through multiple disasters and fires. If you have time, it is also fun to visit "Asakusa Hanayashiki," which is Japan's oldest amusement park.
The Azabu-Juban neighborhood has a celebrity image, but it is also an area that was once devastated by air raids. Numerous buildings were destroyed by the widespread fires from the air raids, but, after that, it was gradually reconstructed and is now a lively shopping district. A variety of art works, such as the "Monument of Smiles" series, which was created in cooperation with the embassies of 12 countries, are installed on the shopping streets of Azabu-Juban, and you can appreciate them while strolling through the area.
15 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
bridge in Nihombashi is one of the symbols of Tokyo. When it was first constructed, it was a "drum-type" bridge, but now it is a double-arch bridge. Together with seeing the Ishibashi bridge, also make sure to view the famous "Kirin Statues" - both are powerful and impressive structures, and really let you feel Nihombashi's history. The Nihombashi area has prospered as a merchant town for a long time, and today it has everything from long-operating traditional restaurants to fashionable cafes. On days with poor weather, you can avoid the rain and enjoy both shopping and gourmet food at COREDO Nihombashi, a commercial facility directly connected to the station.
15 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Sensoji Temple, which is said to be the oldest temple in Tokyo, has existed in the Asakusa neighborhood for over a thousand years. Its appearance, which continues to be loved by many people even after having been through multiple disasters and fires, can truly be called a symbol of resilience. In addition to Sensoji Temple, Asakusa has numerous attractions such as "Asakusa Hanayashiki," which is Japan's oldest amusement park, the Kappabashi Kitchenware Town, and the "TOKYO CRUISE" water bus. The entrance fee for Asakusa Hanayashiki is ¥1,000 (a separate ride ticket is required to enjoy the attractions), and the "Asakusa Mini Pleasure Cruise (¥1,200)" is an approx. 30 minute ride on the TOKYO CRUISE water bus that takes you around the Asakusa area.
JR Yamagata Shinkansen
40 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Days 7 to 9
To Locations that Trace the Memories from the Great East Japan Earthquake
In Tokyo you looked at the history of disaster prevention in Japan, so now the second half of your trip will take you to the Tohoku region, where particularly severe damage was caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. It will be a journey where you learn many things, such as both the enormous damage and the hope of reconstruction.
For day seven, you will learn about radiation and the environment in Fukushima Prefecture, which was damaged by the nuclear accident. Easy-to-understand models and videos explain how the earthquake occurred, and also include details of the nuclear accident.
During the eighth day, you will visit Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture, which incurred serious damage from the tsunami. The Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake Kesennuma City Memorial Museum will teach you about the damage from the tsunami's effects, but is also a moving story about reconstruction and recovery.
On the ninth day, you will visit Arahama Elementary School in Sendai City. When the tsunami happened, it swallowed many of the buildings in the Arahama area, with the exception of this elementary school, and the vivid scars of the tsunami remain at the school. Afterwards, you can enjoy picking seasonal fruits at the nearby JR Fruit Park Sendai Arahama, a new tourist spot that makes reuse of the remnants of the earthquake.
(Fukushima Prefectural Centre for Environmental Creation)
After departing from Tokyo, you will head to Fukushima Prefecture, which was severely damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake. "Commutan Fukushima (Fukushima Prefectural Centre for Environmental Creation)" is a unique facility in Fukushima Prefecture where you can learn about radiation and the environment from familiar perspectives. Easy-to-understand models and videos, etc. explain Fukushima Prefecture's journey since the occurrence of the earthquake and the nuclear disaster so that visitors can get the latest information about the Fukushima of today. The "Environmental Creation Theatre," one of only two 360° globe theatres in Japan, is also a must-see attraction, where you can experience the beautiful nature and rich culture of Fukushima Prefecture through powerful imagery. Admission to Commutan Fukushima is free.
90 minutes by car
Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake Kesennuma City Memorial Museum
After going to Fukushima Prefecture, how about visiting Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture? Kesennuma City is an area that was hit particularly hard by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. At the Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake Kesennuma City Memorial Museum, the damaged school building has been left as it was after being damaged by the earthquake, and you can learn lessons about the threat of earthquakes. Additionally, there is an outdoor plaza with a dog park outside of the facility, which is popular not just for dogs, but also as a place for children to run around and play. The admission fee to the Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake Kesennuma City Memorial Museum is ¥600 for adults. The museum is a little ways away from JR Kesennuma Station, so taking BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) or a taxi is recommended.
210 minutes by bus
Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake: Sendai Arahama Elementary School and JR Fruit Park Sendai Arahama
The "Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake: Sendai Arahama Elementary School" displays photo panels depicting the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake tsunami, as well as scenes of rescuing people from it, and also includes materials related to the history and culture of the Arahama area. About a 10-minute walk from the elementary school is JR Fruit Park Sendai Arahama, which makes new use of the remnants of the earthquake. In this fruit park, you can experience harvesting a variety of fruits throughout the year - why not visit both on the same day?
This journey introduced a trip along the Joban Line that begins at disaster prevention sites in Tokyo, goes to famous places in Tokyo that have survived disasters in the past, and then goes to disaster-hit areas in Tohoku. Through this itinerary you can deeply learn about the impact that the Great East Japan Earthquake had on Tohoku, and can also learn about the importance of preparing for disasters. By visiting not only the remains of the earthquake, but also fun facilities and cafes that have reused and repurposed the disaster sites, you will be able to see the hope for the reconstruction of Tohoku. Example transportation have been provided for reference, but walking around and exploring in the areas near the spots introduced in this journey is also recommended.
*The information provided here is as of March 2022.
*Transportation information does not include the number of transfers or transfer time.
*Admission fees may be charged depending on the spot/facility. For the latest information on business hours, days when spots/facilities are regularly closed, and prices, etc., please check the website for each spot/facility.