Beautiful coasts and terrains weaving together a soothing site, Chu-Sanriku

Mount Hayachine

Mount Hayachine

Tanohata-mura, Iwaizumi-cho, Miyako-shi, Yamada-machi

In the central area, there are many geological sites that represent Sanriku. One of them is Mount Hayachine (1,917 meters) recording the highest peak in the Kitakami Mountains. There is also the Ryusendo Cave (Iwaizumi-cho) which is known to have the largest subterranean lake in Japan. The beautiful coastlines of Jodogahama Beach (Miyako-shi) and the Kitayama Cape (Tanohata-mura) are great places to see as well.

Ryusendo Cave (Iwaizumi-cho)

Ryusendo Cave (Iwaizumi-cho)

Jodogahama Beach (Miyako-shi)

Jodogahama Beach (Miyako-shi)

 

Great ways to enjoy Geosites

Climb the mountains and see the precious alpine plants along with the vast peneplain terrains. Explore limestone caves. Needle through rocks in the Pacific on sappas (small fishing boats). All these active and stimulating geo-tours are available so please come and experience the fun.

Sappa Adventures

Sappa Adventures

Vibrantly blooming Hayachine-usuyukiso (Leontopodium hayachinense, native to Mt. Hayachine)

Vibrantly blooming Hayachine-usuyukiso (Leontopodium hayachinense, native to Mt. Hayachine)

 

In addition, there are many scientifically valuable geological features distributed in this area. There is Geosite excited at including P-T boundary layer (Iwaizumi-cho) telling Miyako Group (Miyako-shi), the Paleozoic era and Mesozoic border which we go, and only fossil is productive of of the seas such as Moshi Coast (Iwaizumi-cho) that dinosaur fossil was discovered for the first time in Japan or coral or sea lily of 110 million years ago (the Cretaceous in the first half of the Mesozoic) about ocean anoxia case that we had in each place.

Tsunami deposit formed during Cretaceous period at Hiraiga Fishing Port

Tsunami deposit formed during Cretaceous period at Hiraiga Fishing Port

P-T boundary layer (Iwaizumi-cho)

P-T boundary layer (Iwaizumi-cho)

 

Along the coast, there are disaster ruins such as the Sea Wall of Taro and Taro Kanko Hotel (Miyako-shi) as well as the tsunami stone of Raga. There are many memorials built in that area as well. A tsunami deposit considered to be formed some 110 million years ago (Early Cretaceous period) can also be seen. Not only can visitors look at the scars left by the 2011 killer wave but also the history of its disasters from old times and how the people lived with that hazard.

Taro Kanko Hotel (Miyako-shi)

Taro Kanko Hotel (Miyako-shi)

Advanced talks on Central Region Geosites

Mount Hayachine (Miyako-shi) is located in the central part of the Sanriku Geopark. It is consisted of rocks which are more than 450 million years old (Paleozoic era Ordovician period) and they are called Hayachine rock composite. The composite is made of peridotite and serpentinite that have a reputation to be fragile which makes it difficult for plants to grow. For that reason, many endemic species which are capable of growing in harsh conditions can be seen on the mountain such as Hayachine-usuyukiso (Leontopodium hayachinense) and Nambu-Toranoo (Polygonum hayachinense Makino). There are also 140 rare alpine plants, making the mountain itself a natural monument.

The geological features northern of Mount Hayachine is called the Northern Kitakami Belt. It is made from marine sediments formed between the Permian Triassic eras. Then the sediment adhered to the plate during the Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era and later emerged into the Northern Kitakami Belt due to deformation of the Earth's crust making it into land. With such a history, the geological features in this belt is considered to be extremely complex but it is due to this that makes Sanriku Geopark full of many different landscapes.

In the inland around Iwaizumi-cho, limestone which is one of the geological materials that make the Northern Kitakami Belt, is distributed in a narrow single strip manner from the northern area. Here, it is possible to see unique landscapes such as the Akkado Cave, which is the longest cave in Japan and the Ryusendo Cave which is known for its large-scale underground lake (both in Iwaizumi-cho).

Additionally, a black sediment was discovered along the forest road of Iwaizumi-cho. This layer is considered to have formed between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, a period when 90% of marine life species had become extinct. This is an important evidence that indicates there was no oxygen in the ocean for over a million years.

Looking at coastal terrains a variety of landscapes can be enjoyed. In the northern area, with the end of Miyako-shi as the beginning, there is the Kitayama Cape and Unosu Cliff featuring their rough rocky faces. In the southern, there is the Jodogahama Beach which is said to be, just like Jodo (heaven), and the complex ria shorelines stretching from Funakoshi Peninsula to Yamada Bay.

Out of these many different sites, Kitayama Cape, formed as a result of a massive volcanic activity in the Early Cretaceous period, is one overwhelming scene. The cape turned into the appearance we know today after long years of erosion that was in a perfectly straight line to the layers and cracks of the stratum.

The Miyako Group which is scattered on the coastline, is a geologically important site as it has numerous species of index fossils from the Early Cretaceous period such as ammonites, trigonia and corals. Also, from this Miyako Group, the first dinosaur ever to be found in Japan, known as Moshi-ryu, was discovered.

These coastal areas are regions which are repeatedly subjected to massive tsunami damages. In addition to learning about the 2011 killer wave and how much damage it has caused by looking at the Seawall of Taro and the Taro Kanko Hotel, it is also possible to learn about the tsunamis itself through tsunami stones and various memorials as well as from tsunami deposit that formed over 110 million years ago (in the first half of the Mesozoic era, Cretaceous period). Through all these, visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of the life that is lived here in Sanriku.