Explore! Discover! Matsushima Bay

Recovery and Disaster Preparedness in Matsushima Bay

Passing on the Story of Recovery

Learn about natural disasters as you tour the bay on a survivor's storytelling cruise.

Katsurashima Beach, which was struck by an 8-meter-high tsunami on March 11, 2011.

“By continuing to tell my story, I hope more lives will be saved.”
A Storyteller Cruise that Passes on the Memories of the Tsunami

“You've come a long way. We’ve been waiting for you!” says Ms. Yokoyama, a storyteller, in her lively dialect. She welcomes students on school trips onto a cruise ship that circles Matsushima Bay. In addition to telling them about the charms of Matsushima Bay’s islands, which were loved by Date Masamune, Ms. Yokoyama also narrates her experience of the disaster.

At the time of the disaster, Matsushima Bay was struck by a tsunami nearly 10 meters high, but the islands were able to divert the force of the tsunami, and by the time it reached the town, it was only 2 meters high. "The islands of Matsushima Bay protected us,” Ms. Yokoyama says.

"We can’t take for granted that tomorrow will just be an ordinary day. We should cherish each day. I want to leave my guests with a sense of reverence for nature. Nowadays, there are more and more disasters, right? I hope that telling my story helps save lives someday," says Ms. Yokoyama about the message she hopes to pass on with the storytelling cruise.

Mr. Yabe, the director, says, "Through this storytelling cruise, I want people to feel the importance of trying to understand the feelings and pain of others. I also want them to acquire the ability to make decisions on their own when the time comes.”

Ms. Yokoyama introduces Katsurashima, one of the Urato Islands, as "an island of miracles" in her narration. Mr. Haruo Utsumi, who has been running a lodge on Katsurashima since the time of the earthquake, says, "First of all, you have to protect yourself. If you can't save yourself, you can't help others." He teaches students the importance of self-help and mutual aid.

At the time, Katsurashima was home to 240 people, but 38 houses were swept away by the 8-meter tsunami. However, before the tsunami reached the island, the local volunteer firefighters went door to door with each of their neighbor’s faces in mind. They called for evacuation, which saved the lives of all the islanders. Mr. Utsumi’s eldest son, Tomu, who was a first-year student in high school at the time, chose to become a firefighter to help protect his hometown. He fulfilled his dream of getting into a career where he could help people.

Objective of Experience
The guide, Ms. Yokoyama, will tell children about her disaster experience in her own words while making them feel at ease with her dialect and humor. By listening to a firsthand experience of the disaster, even young children can realize the importance of life and the value of family.

Experience Program

The storytelling session about the disaster is offered while the boat cruises between Matsushima and Shiogama, the route which Matsuo Basho traveled on his "Narrow Road to the Deep North.”
Visitors will see the islands of Matsushima Bay, which acted as breakwaters and slowed down the tsunami's momentum.
While feeling the sea breeze and the smell of the ocean, you will experience the beauty and power of nature, and the storyteller’s feelings as you cruise around Matsushima Bay.

●Matsushima Recovery Storyteller Cruise (50 minutes)
You can board the ship from either Matsushima or Shiogama.
Capacity: Up to 400 people (depending on the type of boat)

* To get to the Urato Islands, please take the Shiogama City Ferry from Marine Gate Shiogama in Shiogama Port.

Marubun Matsushima Kisen Co., Ltd.

【Boarding from Matsushima】
Window No. 2 at Matsushimakaigan Rest House 98-1 Chonai, Matsushima, Miyagi District, Matsushima
【Boarding from Shiogama】
Marine Gate Shiogama 1-4-1 Minatomachi, Shiogama City
■Hours of Operation:
8:00 – 15:00 (Boats begin boarding at 9:00, and the last boat departs at 15:00)
No holidays (open year-round)
*Extra service boats can be arranged departing every hour, on the half hour.(Advance reservations are required).
*Chartered boats can also be operated at times other than those in the timetable.
(Charters are only available for groups of 15 or more. Advance reservations are required).
Marubun Matsushima Kisen Co., Ltd.Yoshiyuki Yabe, Matsushima Office Director (left)
Junko Yokoyama (right), Onboard Sales Attendant, Storyteller
Natural disasters can happen anywhere.
We hope that someday you’ll recall something from our experience.
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