Shinhama, Sendai: A Green Sea Wall for the Future
Along the shoreline of northeast Japan, a 400-kilometer sea wall has been built to protect people living in the region from future tsunami disasters. In the coastal community of Shinhama, Sendai City, this sea wall is already being transformed into a sand dune, with plants starting to grow over it. For countless generations, people in Shinhama have coexisted with the seafront environment. Although the massive tsunami of 2011 devastated their area, the natural environment has started to recover at a speed that has surprised the experts. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Catrina Sugita from Switzerland, visits Shinhama to meet the local residents and to find out why nature has rebounded so strongly in this area.

Hamanasu (Beach Rose) Habitat

The 2011 tsunami swept away the vegetation along the coastline in Sendai. However, the Hamanasu (beach roses) in Shinhama managed to survive. To protect these precious plants, the reconstruction work on this beach took care not to disturb them.

Teizan Canal

The historic Teizan Canal runs parallel with the seashore. Since the old days, this waterway has been used for transporting goods to communities along the coast. For the local people, it is a popular fishing spot, as many species live in the water, including crabs, eels and gobies.

A Rice Field where Fish Live

The tsunami swept away the wildlife living in the rice fields around Shinhama, including the local Medaka (rice fish). Specialists have been raising these tiny fish and returning them to paddies where the rice is being cultivated without the use of any pesticides. This is contributing to the growing biodiversity in the area of Shinhama.

Access

To reach Shinhama from Tokyo, it takes about 90 minutes by Shinkansen bullet train to Sendai Station. From there, it's a 30-minute ride by car.