length

7 Days

difficulty

Challenging - Strenuous

trip cost

From $5095 pp

Icons / stylised / time Created with Sketch.

length

7 Days

Icons / stylised / difficulty Created with Sketch.

difficulty

Challenging - Strenuous

Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

From $5095 pp

Nature Immersion

Cultural Interest

Guided Trip

our walk expert

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • The Experience
  • Expert Local Guide
  • Itinerary
  • Map
  • Inclusions
  • Similar walks

Overview

Michinoku Coastal Trail - Northern Section

Located in the beautiful, remote and rugged Tōhoku region of Japan’s main island Honshu, the Michinoku Coastal Trail offers a rich combination of wild and spectacular coastal landscapes, authentic local culture, world-class food and oceanside accommodation.

Our guided journey along the 235km-long northern section is within the stunning Sanriku Fukko National Park. We begin in Hachinohe City, easily accessible from Tokyo by bullet train, and finish at the iconic Jodogahama Beach, known for its picturesque cobalt blue waters and rock formations.

Along the way, this impressive and scenic trail takes us along seaside clifftops and through dense forests, pine groves, grassy pastures and even hand-carved tunnels. Peaceful fishing villages and idyllic beaches are dotted along the route. Traditional shrines and temples are located near the trail.

While the locals have vivid memories of the devastation of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake, the villages have mostly been rebuilt and hikers are greeted warmly. The visitor centres along the trail make good rest stops and have excellent resources.

Our local expert guide will truly elevate your experience on this impressive little-known trail, which is destined to become one of the world’s most iconic hikes.

Join us for an exciting adventure and discover the magic of the Michinoku Coastal Trail!

Yellow hiker icon We are Japan experts! As the most established Australian operator on this trail, we have the best local contacts, advice and resources.

Michinoku Coastal Trail, Japan

Highlights

Get Ready For

  • Fully guided walk with our knowledgeable local bilingual guide
  • Breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean
  • Fresh seafood from the fishing ports of Sanriku
  • Wild and rugged coastlines, pristine inlets, lush forests and tiny villages
  • Mouthwatering delicacies at Japan’s biggest and most atmospheric morning market
  • Iconic Jodogahama Beach, known for its picturesque cobalt blue waters
  • Historic shrines, atmospheric temples and significant landmarks
  • Oceanside accommodation, luxury glamping and soothing onsen hot springs
  • Winery tour & tasting and traditional salt-making workshop
  • Friendly locals keen to share a story or two
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The Experience

Hiking the MCT Trail

The Michinoku Coastal Trail (MCT) is a demanding walk that is best suited to those with a good level of physical fitness. There is plenty of dramatic scenery and challenging terrain, with steep ups and downs, dense forests, high clifftops, and remote beaches. The stone and log stairs can be covered with moss and leaves. There are also tunnels (headtorch required) and patches of rocky coastline with ladders and ropes. The bear warning signs add to the sense of adventure. It’s best to hike the MCT during spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November) as summer is hot and humid and in winter it’s covered with snow.

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Expert Local Guide

ELEVATE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Experience the magic of the Michinoku Coastal Trail with our knowledgeable MCT guide Katy Shina. Originally from Brisbane, Katy has been living and working in Japan for 16 years and has extensive experience walking this trail in different seasons. Katy will ensure you have the best experience possible and a trip to remember. She genuinely loves to share her knowledge and insights about the fascinating history, culture and people of the Tohoku region.

Itinerary

daily details

Day 1: Arrive Hachinohe

To reach the starting point of Hachinohe, take a bullet train from Tokyo on the Hayabusa Line (for Shin-Aomori). Trains run approximately hourly and the journey will take just under 3 hours. From Hachinohe station, it’s an easy change to the local Hachinohe line, getting off at Hon-Hachinohe station.

If you plan to arrive early to mid-afternoon, our guide will ensure there is a taxi waiting at the station to take you to your hotel in the downtown area (saving you a 10–15 minute walk with your luggage).

Accommodation for the evening is located in a convenient part of town. After dropping off your luggage, you may like to explore the nearby Hachinohe Portal Museum, which has permanent displays of the local culture, nature and history of the area. If you’re an art lover, you may also like to visit the Hachinohe Art Museum, though be aware that displays are typically only noted in Japanese. Less than 2% of international travellers currently visit Tohoku so you will find this to be a very authentic experience and English isn’t widely spoken.

At 5.30pm, join our guide and other group members in the hotel lobby for a tour orientation. We’ll then head out for dinner to a few Izakaya (traditional Japanese eateries), venturing down some of the old side alleys for a great local dining experience.

Meals: n/a

Day 2: Hachinohe to Tanesashi (9.5km / 4–5 hours)

We’ll start the day with an early rise and a short train ride to the Tatehana Wharf Market. This is a very popular local market, with good reason. There are approximately 300 stalls stretching over about 800m. It is a wonderful experience to stroll through the market, sampling as many of the delicious goods on offer as you can fit in. You’ll find delicious skewers, dumplings, seasonal fresh fruit, bakery items and coffee. There are also stalls selling fresh produce, and street performers. You’ll be able to select some tasty items to bring with you for morning tea and lunch for the day’s hike ahead.

From the market, we’ll re-board the local train on to Same (pronounced Sah-meh) station. It’s a short walk from here to the Sanriku Fukku National Park and the Kabushima Shrine, the northernmost point of the Tanesashi Coast and the official start (or end) point of the Michinoku Coastal Trail.

Hachinohe is known as an important industrial fishing port and for centuries local townspeople have visited the Kabushima Shrine to pray for good luck and for success in their business and fishing. The area all around the shrine is also a breeding and nesting ground for the black-tailed gulls (late February to August). After a wander around the shrine, we commence our hike. There is a short stretch alongside the road before we really connect to the trail at the Ashigezaki Viewpoint. This is a great lookout point that was also used as an observation post during WWII due to the great views along the coastline. You’ll also find here a cafe that is said to have some of the best ice cream in the region.

This is an easy part of the trail and from spring to autumn, various wildflowers are in bloom, making it particularly picturesque. We’ll soon reach Osuki beach, a long stretch of sand. Depending on the weather and conditions, you may like to have a dip to freshen up.

Continuing on, we’ll pass by some fishing huts shortly before entering into the Yodo Pine Grove, a beautiful walk through black pines, some of which are over 100 years old. Here, we’ll also find the Shira-Iwa or ‘White rock’, the colour of which varies depending on the season as it’s a nesting spot for the Japanese cormorants. This is a really picturesque section of today’s walk.

Coming out of the pine grove, we’ll arrive at the Tanesashi Coast Natural Lawn, where we find our accommodation for the evening. Until the mid-50s, horses grazed on this grassy stretch of the coast. After checking in for our glamping experience, the nearby Tanesashi-Kaigan Information Centre is well worth a visit to learn more about the unique eco-system along this coastline. Later we’ll take a short drive to a lovely onsen (hot spring facility), tucked away in the nearby mountains. A perfect way to unwind after a great day’s hike.

This evening we’ll have a very special treat with our own chef cooking and preparing our meal at our glamping retreat, after which we can relax, gazing up at the stars and listening to the sound of the waves.

Note: there are also shower facilities behind the Tanesashi-Kaigain information Centre for the following morning.

Meals: D

Day 3: Tanesashi Lawn to Itsukushima Shrine (12km / 5 hours)

Following a fresh breakfast, we’ll transfer about 1 hour south, skipping some longer road sections, before rejoining the trail in Iwate Prefecture. From today we’ll start to experience some more elevation as we move into a more rugged expanse of coastline. We’ll hike through a stretch of forest before reaching the Samurai-ishi rock slabs, which is a great place for a little break. We’ll then continue south along the trail, enjoying some great views until we reach the Kita-Samuraihama Campground where we break for lunch.

After lunch, we rejoin the trail, hiking on to the Yokonuma Viewpoint, a photogenic spot with incredible views along the coastline. We then head into a valley with glimpses of the coast before we ascend and hike into a forested area with giant red pines. We’ll cross a small stream and soon rejoin the coast at a little fishing port before we ascend once more into the forest.

We’ll finish our hike today at the Itsukushima Shrine (the head shrine is located on Miyajima Island near Hiroshima). After exploring the shrine, our support vehicle/driver will meet and transfer us to our accommodation.

We’ll have time. to relax and unwind with a soak in the onsen before having dinner at our accommodation.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 4: Fudai Station to Kurasaki-so Viewpoint (6.5km / 4 hours)

After breakfast, we’ll have a short transfer to Fudai Station where we will begin today’s walk. Part of our walk today is on road as we head out of this quiet, small town. Our guide will share more of the history of this town as we pass by the school and the 15.5m high seawall that helped to save the town and community from the 2011 tsunami, and which has thus been nicknamed the ‘Miracle Floodgate’. You can see by a marking on the wall just how high the water reached. Continuing on the road, we’ll pass through a few tunnels heading out of town, alongside beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

At a tiny fishing port we’ll break for lunch at a little cafe, a favourite with the locals, before continuing along the coastline and enjoying the expansive views.

Soon after our lunch stop, we’ll reach the Nedari Nature Trail. This is a beautiful stretch of path where on a clear and calm day it’s like looking into an open aquarium. This is a great spot to slow down and take it all in. We then walk through a short tunnel in the cliff before a steep stair climb to reach the Kurasaki-so Observation Point.

Our driver will meet us at the lookout and, for a change of scenery, transfer us to a nearby small winery for a tour and tasting. It’s a wonderful opportunity to find out more about a small local business that is doing very well in the Japan wine market.

Transferring back to our accommodation, we’ll have time to relax and freshen up before venturing out for dinner. This evening is a real treat! We’ll experience a delicious degustation meal made with fresh, local seasonal produce at a beautiful French restaurant. It is located directly on the Michinoku Trail, so also has stunning coastal views.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 5: Kitayamazaki Lookout to Tsukue-hama Beach (6km / 4 hours)

This morning we transfer to the Kitayamazaki Lookout and pay a visit to the Visitor Centre. There is a lot of great information in the centre and we’ll meet a local gentleman who’ll share his experience of the 2011 tsunami. Many do like to share their story with visitors and this is a great opportunity to hear directly of his account.

There are a number of lookouts at Kitayamazaki and it’s worth the short walk to each of them to enjoy the beautiful, expansive views along some of the largest sea cliffs in Japan, before commencing today’s challenging hike. The section of the trail we’ll hike today isn’t long in terms of distance, however, you will find the ascents and descents over the next few kilometres slow going, with the rewards being the incredible views and scenery along the way. Training well for this trail is essential and today is particularly where we’ll certainly appreciate and benefit from the preparation, with this being the most challenging day on the whole trail.

The hike begins with a stair descent to the beach before we turn inland to hike through the forest. We soon come to a series of stairs to ascend back out of the valley with the trail then winding through the forest, along the cliff-top. Further along we’ll have a shorter descent to another stretch of valley before we again climb up and then soon after descend some log stairs, hiking up and around the next ridgeline. We have a final descent down to the beach.

The next part of the trail takes us along a series of beaches and through a number of tunnels. The hand-carved tunnels are only a few hundred metres in length but are pitch dark so a head torch is needed here. To reach one of the tunnels, we’ll need to walk around a large rock. On the rare occasion that the tide is too high, we’ll need to descend a ladder, which is a few metres high and is affixed to the rock. There’s a short stretch of easy rock-hopping before the last tunnel. We then start our ascent from the beach, which includes two short, affixed ladders and a series of log stairs. We’re then back into the forest with stunning views along the coast until our final descent to Tsukue-hama Beach.

After the adventure of the morning’s hike, we’ll stop here at Fisherman’s Hut and be rewarded with a delicious bento box lunch. After refuelling and a rest, we’ll join a local guide who’ll take us through the process of making salt. This is an important industry to the area both now and historically. We’ll be able to join in the salt-making process and take home our own jar of salt. From the beach here, we’ll then board a sappa boat, which will take us along the cliff front where we can enjoy the section of the trail we just hiked from another perspective.

After checking into our accommodation we have a well-deserved rest and a soak in the wonderful onsen overlooking the ocean.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 6: Shiofuki-ana Blowhole to Jodogahama Beach (7km / 4 hours)

Following a buffet breakfast, we’ll transfer a little further south along the coast, again bypassing some longer road stretches of the trail, to the Shiofuki-ana Blowhole. This is a lovely, picturesque little viewpoint and if we’re lucky, we’ll see the blowhole in action. There is a sea cave beneath the blowhole and when the waves are strong, the water is forced through the blowhole up to 30m high. The blowhole is a designated national natural monument and, on this occasion, we hope for a northeast wind and some rough waves. From the viewpoint we can also see Hideshima Island, which is also a designated natural monument as it is the largest habitat for the endangered Madeiran storm petrel.

After taking in the views, we commence our hike. The trail today has a few ascents and descents with yet more stunning views to take in. The trail also weaves inland, crisscrossing a stream before we ascend out of the valley. The trees we walk through today are spectacular, including pine, fir, maple, Japanese magnolias and a giant bamboo grove. It’s a beautiful trail through to the Takonohama Fishing Port. The final stretch of the path weaves along the cliffs and through a couple of tunnels before we find ourselves at the picturesque Jodogahama Beach.

We’ll have lunch at the resthouse here before we have plenty of time to explore. Our accommodation is a short walk from the beach and if the weather is warm, you can enjoy a swim in the gorgeous, clear water. Or perhaps soak in the onsen at your accommodation and rest your legs following a wonderful and often challenging hike.

Our final dinner is a delicious buffet. If anyone is keen, we will finish the evening with karaoke.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 7: Depart Jodogahama Beach

After breakfast, we’ll depart the coastline with a 1.5-hour transfer to the city of Morioka. From here, we farewell our guide and driver before boarding a bullet train to Tokyo. Again the Hayabusa Line is the best option, this time heading south to Tokyo – a journey of ~2 hours and 15 minutes.

Alternatively, you may like to extend your stay in Jodogohama if you would like to relax here or explore further. Please enquire if this is your preference.

Meals: B

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Map

Explore

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.

CLICK ON A PIN TO REVEAL INFORMATION ABOUT THAT LOCATION
Tatehana Wharf Market

This massive morning market is the pride of Hachinohe and the largest in Japan. it is one of the hottest spots in Hachinohe and an absolute must-visit on any trip to the area. The market is more than just a market, it is a place many local people come to socialise. Often there is live music playing, and many people have breakfast and coffee with their friends and families after they finish shopping.

Kabushima Shrine

The picturesque Kabushima Shrine is on a small hill surrounded by the hill on the northernmost point of the Tanesashi Coast. It is the official starting (or ending) point of the Michinoku Coastal Trail.

Tanesashi Coast Natural Lawn

This beautiful spot on the Tanesashi Coast offers a luxury glamping site with breathtaking views of the rugged, rocky shoreline. The sunrise and sunsets here are magnificent. View the starry night sky then fall asleep to the sound of the waves

Yokonuma Viewpoint

The Yokonuma Viewpoint is a jaw-dropping photogenic spot with incredible views along the coastline. From the viewpoint, you’ll head into a valley with glimpses of the coast before ascending into a forested area with giant red pines.

Fudai Station

The station of this small village is the starting point for our walk past the 15.5m seawall (nicknamed the ‘Miracle Floodgate’) that helped save the town and community in the 2011 tsunami. You can see by a marking on the wall, just how high the water  reached.

Tsukue-hama Beach

The decent to the pebbly Tsukue-hama Beach involves an adventurous hike along a series of beaches and through a number of hand-carved tunnels. The fisherman’s huts destroyed by the tsunami have been rebuilt and now offer visitors an insight in the regional culture. Nearby is a wonderful onsen overlooking the ocean.

Sakiyama Blowhole

The Sakiyama Blowhole is a lovely, picturesque viewpoint that is a designated national, natural monument. From the blowhole you can see Hideshima Island, also a designated natural monument and the largest habitat for the endangered Madeiran storm petrel.

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.

Inclusions

What's included?

Included
  • 7-day fully guided walk with our expert local bilingual guide
  • Support vehicle/driver and luggage transfers (from Days 2 to 7)
  • 6 nights accommodation (inc. 1 night glamping experience)
  • Daily meals (as listed in the itinerary)
  • Local train tickets on Day 2
  • Mountain onsen experience on Day 2
  • Local winery tour and tasting
  • Traditional salt-making experience
  • Local boat ride along coastline
  • Insightful walk with a Tohoku local where you’ll learn stories of the tsunami
  • Departure transfer from Hotel to Morioka Station for those departing Day 7
  • Carbon offset for your trip and native tree planted for every walker
Excluded
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Beverages other than water at meals (except during winery tasting)
  • Train tickets to/from the start/end point of the walk
  • Expenses of a personal nature

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TRIP date selection

when would you like to travel?

Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed

dates
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dates
14/09/2024 - 20/09/2024
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price
$5,095
single occupancy
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dates
19/10/2024 - 25/10/2024
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Sold Out
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$5,095
single occupancy
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dates
12/04/2025 - 18/04/2025
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price
$5,350
single occupancy
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dates
24/05/2025 - 30/05/2025
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price
$5,350
single occupancy
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