1Onagawa Station (Ishinomaki Line)
Aim to get to Onagawa Station on the train arriving at 9:59 a.m. to get there in time to make the Sunday Kinkasan boat departure at 11:00. The first sightseeing spot of the day is Onagawa Station itself! The station is designed by world-famous architect Ban Shigeru. There is an observation deck on the second floor and an on-site hot springs facility (we'll return to that later). Take your time and appreciate the structure.
Since the pier is only about a 10-minute walk from the station, this gives you some time to take in minor points of interest along the way. If you're feeling in need of a caffeine fix or a quick bite to eat, you can stop by the Onagawa branch of Mother Port Coffee (link info is for Kesennuma branch). It's located directly en route to the pier.Walk6 min.
2Tsunami ruins: the former Onagawa Police StationOn the walk to the boat pier, you'll see an overturned ruin of a building. This was once the town's police station. When the 2011 tsunami struck, it tore the building from its foundation and dragged it here. The town has preserved the structure as the tsunami left it, a memorial of the 2011 tragedy.Walk11 min.
311:00 departure: Boat ride to KinkasanBe sure not to miss this departure from the Ushio Planning Boat Pier (潮プランニング), as there aren't many round-trips out to Kinkasan! One round trip is made every Sunday. Other than that, there are one to four round-trips offered most holidays and some Saturdays. The holiday and Saturday boat departure times differ, so please check the schedule in advance here. Though the site is in Japanese, the dates and departure times are numerical so non-Japanese readers can still figure it out.Boat35 min.
4Explore the holy island of KinkasanKinkasan has been considered sacred since at least the eighth century, one of the three holiest places in Tohoku. In spite of its revered status, visitors of all faiths are welcome.115 min.
513:30 departure: Boat back to OnagawaBe sure not to miss this departure! As mentioned above, there's just one round-trip out to Kinkasan every Sunday, and other than that only on holidays and some Saturdays. See the link above for non-Sunday departure dates and times.Boat35 min.
6Arrive back at Ushio Planning Boat PierWalk15 min.
7Lunch in OnagawaThe Seapal-Pier Onagawa ( シーパルピア女川) shopping area and surrounding side streets have ample lunch options. Seafood is the highlight of Onagawa cuisine; trawl the area and find a spot that strikes your fancy. A handful of restaurants also serve non-seafood dishes, and there's a convenience store nearby as well.Walk5 min.
8Soapmaking workshopSoap artisan Kuriya-san originally came to Onagawa as a disaster-relief volunteer in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami. He fell in love with the area and decided to make it his permanent home. Come let him teach you how to make your own artisanal soaps, a lesson in craftsmanship and self-reliance!Walk2 min.
9Soak in natural hot springsRecharge before dinner with a soak in the supremely convenient and utterly soothing hot springs at Onagawa Station.Walk2 min.
10Rub elbows with locals over drinksPubs in Onagawa are a great place to rub elbows with locals while enjoying quality food and drink. Bar Sugar Shack is one of the best for pub grub and a youthful, hip atmosphere. Garuya is the place for craft beer. And for those who can't get enough seafood and sake, head to one of the old-school izakaya pubs a few doors down.
Coastal Culture Day Trip
Visit a holy island and a revitalized fishing town