White Heaven of Jodogahama

There are many reasons to explain why Jodogahama has earned the name of ‘The Pure Land Beach’ but there are no reasons in existence  not to visit!

Situated in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, Jodogahama is the perfect place for a great weekend escape! From the fresh fish of the Sanriku coast to the heartfelt people who cheer you up at every meeting, Jodogahama weaves nature and human relations in a beautiful bond.

A Buddhist priest of Joanji temple is said to have named ‘Jodogahama’ around 300 years back. It takes a mere 20 minutes by bus from Miyako station to reach the white-rock beach overlooking the Pacific. There are several walking trails that you can find here and it is best to discover them on your own for the fun is incomparable! You can either take the standard touristy route where you walk just along the coastline from the bus stop near Jodogahama Visitor Centre or you can take a trail through the woods which takes you up a hill and provides a scenic and stunning view of the beach.

Jodogahama Beach

Jodogahama Beach from the walk through the woods to a nearby hill

The crystal clear water makes the beach all the more beautiful. Take your ukulele or just skip stones, everything is worth doing here. You can find families swimming near the coast and the seagulls hovering over you in search for food. Mind you, they surely love human snacks, so guard yours with your life!

Jodogahama has 2 main popular cruises on offer. The Miyako-Jodogahama Boat Cruise is surely the biggest and most popular one. Large groups of people take this cruise to see the rugged coastline and the scenic rock formations. Yet, in our opinion, what sets Jodogahama apart from most beaches on the Sanriku Coast is the Blue Cave Cruise! The name might mislead you but this short cruise of around 20 minutes first takes you to some rock formations and then leads you inside a cave where nature creates a beautiful symphony of light and water making it appear cobalt blue in colour. The cave has several natural calcium deposits and the calcium structures add to the beauty dressed in blue.

Cobalt blue waters of Jodogahama

Jodogahama transcends the regular beach experience in many ways. The Todogasaki Cape light house on the beach is the geographical easternmost point on the Honshu island! The area is decorated in blackish rock terrain which is evidence of intensive volcanic activity in the nearby mountain ranges. Some of the larger rock structures have small holes from where water gushes out when the waves strike them. These ‘blowholes’ are a recommended visit too.

Feeding the seagulls

A walk along the coastline

In all, go on a nice stroll along the beach and spend some time embracing the best of Japan’s nature. Jodogahama has all the perfect ingredients for this recipe!

Food

In many ways, Jodogahama and Miyako are so closely integrated that you cannot distinguish them. Their proximity is what connects humans with nature. Believe us, we had some of the best seafood in Miyako!

The top three places that we surely recommend are:

  1. Uomasa : This sushi place is the blue-eyed seafood restaurant here. It takes around 25 minutes to reach this place, if you walk from Miyako station and follow the Hei river. The area was devastated in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. There is a hotel in the area which marks the height of the waves. You can still find abandoned structures covered in moss. Yet, for Uomasa, the disaster may have broken the structure but it could not break the spirit! The owner has an experience of about 30 years in making sushi. He rebuilt the restaurant from scratch and serves the freshest catch of the day. You can literally feel the fresh fish melting in your mouth!
    Sashimi at Uomasa
  2. Uomoto : It is hardly a 6-7 minutes walk from the Miyako Station. This place truly stands as an example for empowerment of women in small communities. Serving Japanese food, it is owned by a lady who rightfully recommended us to try ‘Hoya’ (Sea Pineapple) of Miyako. We noticed the owner and another female worker running the entire place right from the reception to the kitchen. The food tasted just like home! Though the items on the plate were varied, the subtle flavours of the home-cooked food and the emotional touch of the restaurant made the experience all the more fulfilling.
    Japanese dinner at Uomoto
  3. Nishinoya : No wonder this place is one of the most famous sweet shops in the town. Its famous delicacy ‘Isaribi’ made Miyako proud when it won the Japan Sweets Prize. Some would argue that it tastes like ‘Pound Cake’ but the creaminess of Isaribi gives it a beautiful texture! The best thing? You can buy it piece by piece so that you do not have to worry about making your pockets lighter.

Jodogahama also produces a local sake called ‘Phoenix’. It is 55% alcohol and it has its own unique sweetness and smoothness in texture. You can buy it at any local sake shop in the area. The shops on the main shopping street are recommended!

Local sake ‘Phoenix’

It is not surprising that one of Iwate’s greatest writers, Kenji Miyazawa, fell in love with Jodogahama. Just as Matsu Basho popularised Matsushima through his book ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’, Miyazawa composed his poetry of the serenity of Jodogahama. The town of Miyako has a relatively large number of English speakers given its small population. The lady at one of the Lawson (Convenience Store) counters greeted us in English. Our hotel had English translations for most of the relevant instructions. From speakers blaring the local radio on the main shopping street to the fish market selling the best catch of the day, Jodogahama and Miyako have a spirit and character that truly carve out a space in your heart and soul.

Street in Miyako

How to visit :

  1. Jodogahama : Take Tohoku Shinkansen upto Morioka (Or take the Tohoku line train upto Ichinoseki and then continue on the same line to Morioka) from Sendai. Then, take a bus from Morioka Station to Miyako (Around 2 hours). Buses for Jodogahama leave from the bus stop right outside Miyako Station. It takes about 15-20 minutes.

Google Maps:

Restaurants:

  1. Uomasahttps://tabelog.com/en/iwate/A0304/A030401/3000045/
  2. Uomotohttps://tabelog.com/en/iwate/A0304/A030401/3000948/dtlphotolst/3/
  3. Nishinoyahttps://tabelog.com/en/iwate/A0304/A030401/3006004/

 

Written By : Rohan Raj and Trishit Banerjee

Tohoku Ambassador Club

About Tohoku Ambassador Club

The Tohoku Ambassador Club consists of over 170 international exchange students from 27 different countries, all living and studying in Sendai City. As both local Tohoku residents and international travelers, we have all the insider knowledge and tips for discovering the amazing attractions of the Tohoku region! Follow us as we uncover your next Japan adventure, far from the crowds of Tokyo and Kyoto.

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