Standard Tour 2024

It’s been 13 years since the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear disaster suddenly happened all at once in Fukushima. 

It was March 11th in 2011 when the magnitude 9.1 earthquake, followed by the tsunami of some 18m high struck the northern east of Japan, and more than 18,000 people lost their lives throughout the eastern coastlines of our country. In the next days, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS)  had three hydrogen explosions releasing radioactive materials into the atmosphere, and three meltdowns due to the loss of electricity. The evacuation orders were issued several times to the 20km radius and further from the power plant, and more than 160,000 local residents in Fukushima had to have a sudden evacuation.

Since then, the Fukushima region has been heavily impacted individually and as a society. At the same time this region is making long-lasting and enormous efforts to recover from it, which is perhaps a very unprecedented scale in our world, and perhaps a very different path when compared to Chernobyl. 

Our standard tour in 2024 will take you to the 20km zone from FDNPS where the evacuation orders were once issued.  Now that many of the orders have been lifted after a massive decontamination effort, people are gradually coming back in this reopened area. The radiation evacuation zone is shrinking accordingly, but will remain for at least 30 years or more on a limited scale.

Our aim is to learn about the disaster, ongoing revitalisation efforts, and critical differences from Chernobyl through visiting some important places as well as talking to some returnees so that you can have more comprehensive understandings of what happened here and is now happening and what the future will be in Fukushima. We would also like to exchange various opinions on nuclear and think together what the future of energy might look like. 

This project is still experimental but is to be educational. We would like to hear your voices to develop a better programme for international visitors as well as for local people who have suffered from the disaster. Your accumulated dose will be even less than 1 micro Sievert from a 6 hour tour, which is equivalent to 1/10th of one detail X ray. The fee is JPY10,000 per person. Our English speaking guide will help you to discover the area and have some first hand experiences.  Let’s join us and think together. Feel the atmosphere and see what’s going on in Fukushima with your own eyes!  

 

Departure and return – JR Namie or Odaka Station on Joban Line

The tour usually starts at either JR Namie or Odaka Station, both located in the north area of the 20km evacuated zone where the evacuation orders have been lifted and people are slowing coming back. The easiest way to get this region is to take a JR Hitachi Express (and change to a local train). If you come by car, there is a free parking lot in front of the stations. 

<Usual meeting spots and times> 

March 16th, 2024: JR will change the train schedule and these options are valid after that. 

Tour 1) Meet at JR Namie Station at 11:20/ From Tokyo: take the 07:52 Express Hitachi at Tokyo Station directly to Namie. / From Sendai: there is no suitable train to make 11:20 (sorry). Take the 08:48 southbound local train, and please wait at Namie for roughly one hour until the tour starts. 

             End at JR Futaba Station at 17:30/ To Tokyo: take the 17:51 southbound local train to Iwaki Station, and change to the Express Hitachi No.28 at 19:18. Your arrival time at Tokyo is 21:44. / To Sendai: take the 18:12 northbound local train. Your arrival time at Sendai is 20:13. 

Tour 2) Meet at Odaka Station at 10:45 / From Tokyo: take the 6:53 Express Hitachi at Tokyo Station, and change to the northbound local train at Iwaki Station at 09:24 to Odaka. / From Sendai: Take the 08:48 southbound local train, and please wait at Odaka for 45 mins until the tour starts. 

             End at JR Futaba Station at 16:15-30/ To Tokyo: take the 16:48 southbound local train to Iwaki Station, and change to the Express Hitachi No.26 at 18:17. Your arrival time at Tokyo is 20:42. / To Sendai: take the 16:20 northbound local train. Your arrival time at Sendai is 18:14.

It will be a long day. If you would like to stay in this region, ask us for the available local accommodations in the reopened towns!

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* On March 14th, 2020, the JR Joban Line between Tokyo and Sendai reopened entirely for the first time since 2011. You can now travel to this coastal region directly from Tokyo and Sendai (there are still less trains, though).  We hope you have a pleasant journey to Fukushima! 

See ACCESSRebuilding Odaka

 What to expect

  • Visit rural villages in Odaka where the evacuation order was lifted in July 2016 and meet local returnees.
  • See abandoned rice fields as well as the decontamination efforts to reduce the radiation levels by removing the top soil.
  • Visit the tsunami-damaged area and the Ukedo elementary school -a tsunami memorial site by the shore in Namie Town where the evacuation order was lifted in 2017 (admission fee 300 yen).
  • Visit The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum (admission fee 600 yen) in Futaba Town and the surrounding area of JR Futaba Town, where the evacuation order was lifted in 2020 and some mural paintings are recently applied to empty buildings for revitalisation. 
  • Drive through Route 6 in the current exclusion zone and see Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in a far distance (you won’t be able to see the reactors), as well as thousands of the soil bags for decontamination. 
  • Learn about the disaster from local returnees.
  • Visit the newly built housing complex for the returnees and the brand new revitalisation hub the Road-side Station Namie to learn about the ongoing efforts for revitalisation.
  • See numerous solar panels which are being built after the disaster, with the aim of providing 100% renewable energy for Fukushima by 2041.

To viewers of Netflix’s Dark Tourist

If you are interested in visiting, please first read the following guidelines.
…Read more.


We were covered by The Guardian!

There is hope here: Fukushima turns to tourism after nuclear meltdown

 

Book the tour

[notes] 

The booking calendar is open for the upcoming 4 months. We will update it when it becomes available on the 1st of every month.

Due to COVID measures, we currently offer a small scale tour with a small number of people up to 3-4. Hope it’s be more private and special for you.    

If you take part in this tour for your business purposes, such as if you are a journalist, photographer / videographer, Youtuber, or Tik Toker, you need to mention it in advance.