Tohoku: Five Years On

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in which 15,894 people lost their lives. 2,562 people remain missing.

The damage was immense, but over these last five years the people of Tohoku have done an amazing job of keeping up the ‘ganbarou’ spirit and rebuilding. Even five years on there is still a lot of work to be done, but each step is a step in the right direction.

Ganbarou Tohoku

Ganbarou Nihon! Ganbarou Tohoku!

As some of you will know, I was in Japan at the time of the earthquake in 2011. It was a strange time to be there, and it was difficult to carry on whilst feeling so helpless. Returning to the UK in April that year was really hard, and if I could have stayed and gone to help in Tohoku I would have. Instead I found ways to help in London by volunteering with charitable organisations, and made sure to continue this blog to keep people aware of what was going on in Japan and simply to make sure people didn’t forget.

In 2014 I visited Tohoku for the first time – a trip that I had planned for so long and that meant so much. I travelled down part of the damaged coast, visited friends in Shichigahama, and went to a festival celebrating Tohoku’s culture. It was an amazing trip, and Tohoku was everything I hoped it would be and more!

Now, five years on from the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the best thing we can all do to support Japan and to support Tohoku is to visit Japan! More people than ever are visiting Japan at the moment, and we mustn’t let that change. In 2015 the estimated total number of visitors to Japan reached over 19.7 million (+47.1% from 2014). I was one of them – were you?

Support Japan! Visit Japan! (*^_^)v

4 thoughts on “Tohoku: Five Years On

  1. I guess I don’t really count as a visitor anymore since it’s been nearly four years since I moved here, but given how much I travel, I’d like to think I’m still doing my bit for the Japanese tourism industry. It’s just one drop in an enormous bucket of course, but then, I suppose we all are. 🙂 I was reminded once again today of the anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami while at work, since a siren went off all over Japan for a minute of silence in respect and remembrance for the people that were (and still are) affected by the tragedy. While I’m not strictly one of those people, it was still a very sobering and thought-provoking moment, as it always is.


    • Absolutely! Living in Japan and travelling around is just as important as international tourism. 🙂 We had a minute’s silence here in the UK in my office too (as we’re so closely connected to Japan). It was a day for lots of big thoughts.


  2. Thanks for your support. Even in Japan, people forget about Fukushima. It’s very sad for people living there to be abandoned in a way. So I would like to go as far and say: support Tohoku! Visit Tohoku!


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