Michinoku Coastal Trail

Japan's newest 1000km hiking trail

The beautiful Michinoku Coastal Trail (MCT) is Japan’s newest and longest hiking trail offering an authentic, off-the-beaten-path experience in one of the country’s more remote and rugged regions.

The 637 mile (1025km) trail hugs the northeastern coastline of Honshu, connecting the city of Hachinohe in the north with Soma in the south. The route stretches along the famed Sanriku Coast and through four prefectures – Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. The wild and varied landscapes include sandy beaches, red pine forest paths, sparkling inlets, grassy meadows, striking cliffs, hand-carved tunnels and dozens of small towns and villages.

Officially launched in 2019, it’s one of several projects bolstering reconstruction efforts following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region. The name of the route is a throwback to ancient times, when Japan’s north-eastern Tohoku region was referred to as “Michinoku” – meaning “end of the road”.

Walking the entire trail would take about 50 days. For now, we have focused on the northern section, specifically between the Hachinohe trailhead and Miyako city.

With spectacular coastal scenery, the freshest seafood, oceanside accommodation, the region’s unique culture, and memorable encounters with warm-hearted locals eager to share their stories, it is a destination like no other.

RAW Travel is proud to help protect, develop and promote the Michinoku Coastal Trail through our membership with the Michinoku Trail Club – a not-for-profit organisation that supports the local communities and provides trail maintenance, as well as keeping us informed about the most important news for those hiking the trail.

Michinoku Coastal Trail

THE RAW TRAVEL DIFFERENCE

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WE GET YOU READY TO WALK

We offer expert first-hand advice about walking the Michinoku Coastal Trail, along with comprehensive training resources. Our dedicated team of Japan specialists have in-depth knowledge and will ensure you are well prepared for your adventure.

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BEST LOCAL GUIDES

Our wonderful local English-speaking guide will elevate your walk along the Michinoku Coastal Trail. With unrivalled knowledge about the history and highlights of this new trail, you'll get the best experience possible.

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TASTE THE REAL JAPAN

When you walk the Michinoku Coastal Trail with us you can indulge in a unique range of local culinary delights, from delicious market fare and bountiful fresh seafood to local wines and sake.

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DIVERSE & IMMERSIVE

Our unique itineraries will ensure you have a diverse and immersive walking holiday. Experience off-the-beaten-track Japan, soak up Tohoku culture and contribute to rebuilding efforts.

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Michinoku Coastal Trail

Michinoku Coastal Trail
7 Days

Michinoku Coastal Trail

Michinoku Coastal Trail – Northern Section

Challenging - Strenuous Group Guided
  • Guided hike along the northern section of Japan’s new 1000km coastal walk
  • Wild and rugged coastlines, pristine inlets, lush forests and tiny villages
  • Mouthwatering delicacies at Japan’s biggest morning market
  • Iconic Jodogahama Beach, known for its picturesque cobalt blue waters
  • Oceanside accommodation and luxury glamping
from

$5,095.00

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Michinoku Coastal Trail Route Map

Hachinohe

Hachinohe (Aomori Prefecture) is famed for its thriving fishing industry and vibrant morning markets teeming with diverse marine delicacies. Beyond its culinary allure, Hachinohe exudes cultural richness through its centuries-old Kabushima Shrine, seaside landscapes, and the spirited Sansha Taisai festival celebrating tradition and community unity.

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Taneichi

Taneichi (Iwate Prefecture) is surrounded by lush greenery, including verdant rice paddies. The town’s tranquil beauty, preserved traditions, and warm community spirit offer visitors a peaceful retreat.

Kuji

Kuji (Iwate Prefecture) is characterised by blue seas and rugged rocky outcrops. Rich in gemstones, it hosts the annual Kuji Amber Festival, celebrating its prized amber heritage and offering a glimpse into local culture.

Tanohata

The small village of Tanohata (Iwate Prefecture) is sandwiched between deep mountains and wide ocean on the spectacular Sanriku coast. It has many popular attractions, including extensive mesmerising limestone caves.

Jodogahama Beach

Jodogahama Beach (Iwate Prefecture) is known for its picturesque cobalt blue waters, white pebbles, and distinct hexagonal rock formations that resemble giant steps – a geological wonder and a prominent feature of the beach.

Miyako

The port city of Miyako (Iwati Prefecture) is known for its beautiful coastline. To the north, you’ll find the Earthquake Heritage Taro Kanko Hotel, which stands as a symbol of resilience and offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Michinoku Coastal Trail

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the story behind Japan’s Michinoku Coastal Trail?

The origins of the Michinoku Coastal Trail can be traced back to the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that struck on 11 March 2011. The disaster had a profound impact on the coastal communities of the Tohoku region, causing extensive damage and loss of life. In the rebuilding and recovery efforts that followed, there was a desire to promote tourism and revitalise the local economy. The Michinoku Coastal Trail project emerged as part of these efforts, aiming to attract visitors to the scenic coastal areas while also providing opportunities for local residents to engage in tourism-related activities. (Existing trails were merged, creating this newly named full-length trail; sometimes you’ll hear people refer to a section of the trail by its original name.) The trail has rest areas, viewpoints and information signs to enhance the hiking experience. It officially opened in June 2019 but the pandemic kept most international travellers out until late 2022.

How difficult is the Michinoku Coastal Trail?

The Michinoku Coastal Trail is a demanding walk. We have graded it as 6–7 (Challenging to Strenuous). The trail takes hikers through a variety of terrain, including coastal cliffs, forests, remote beaches and rural communities. The trail has many steep ascents and descents, sometimes on stone and log stairs, which can be covered with moss and leaves. While the trail is designed to be accessible to a wide range of hikers, it is best suited to those with a solid level of physical fitness who are confident hikers with multi-day trekking experience.

When is the best time to walk the Michinoku Coastal Trail?

The Michinoku Coastal trail can be hiked year round, however the weather and scenery do vary greatly. Mid-March to mid-June (spring) are great times to walk this trail. Flowers in bloom add wonderful colour to the diverse landscapes and the weather is generally mild, making it comfortable for hiking. September to mid-November (autumn) also offer pleasant temperatures and the changing colour of the leaves provides a stunning backdrop. In the winter months, snow can impact the ease and enjoyment of hiking. The summer months (July, August) are best avoided because of the heat, humidity and rain.

What is the food like on the Michinoku Coastal Trail?

The Michinoku Coastal Trail passes through the Tohoku region of Japan, known for its diverse culinary traditions and local specialties. The traditional Japanese food served along the trail is truly a real highlight. Seafood is prominent, given the trail’s location and the rich fishing grounds off the coast. Hittsumi (dumplings in a miso-based soup) is a local specialty in Iwate Prefecture and in the mountainous regions along the trail, you might find dishes featuring sansai (wild mountain vegetables). You can also look forward to Japanese barbeques with top-quality Wagyu beef. There are convenience stores and vending machines in some towns along the trail where you can buy snacks and drinks.

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