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Field Trip to Reconstruction (or Re-start) Sites in Fukushima Hama-dori 2023

On February 6 and 7, 2023, the English-track program organized a field trip to understand the reality of post-earthquake reconstruction in the Hama-dori area of Fukushima Prefecture. Thirty-six international students participated. . This field trip was held with the full cooperation of Mr. Kensuke Tadano (Pionism).

Day 1: The Reality of the Earthquake/Nuclear Disaster and Large-Scale Reconstruction Projects

After leaving Ochanomizu by bus, we first headed to JR Ono Station. There, Mr. Tadano joined us and led us to the place where the Okuma nursery school used to be. Its garden was grass-covered, and buildings were abandoned. It was an empty town due to the evacuation order after the nuclear disaster.

Next, we moved to JR Futaba Station, where we observed murals painted on buildings that were about to be demolished. We also looked into the former building of a local fire brigade that was left as it was after the evacuation.

After understanding the situation after the evacuation order, we moved to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum and learned about the outline of these disasters. International students knew about the existence of the earthquake more than 10 years ago, but it was an important opportunity to understand what kind of damage it actually caused.

From there, we moved all the way to Haramachi Ward, Minamisoma City, where we learned about large-scale reconstruction projects. First, we visited the Fukushima Robot Test Field. Field trip participants from developing countries were amazed at the enormous scale of the experimental facilities built for the development of advanced drones.

At the end of the first day, we went south to Namie Town and visited Namie Shinka, which was established as part of a large-scale redevelopment plan in front of JR Namie Station. By chance, we were able to hear from a teenager about his thoughts on reconstruction, and many of the participants were impressed.


We stayed overnight at Ikoi-no-mura Namie. We all stayed in the lodge buildings, which were repurposed from the temporary housings for the evacuees.

Day 2: Contrasting Approaches in Odaka, Minamisoma City

On the first day, we hurried around a number of locations. On the second day, we stayed around the center of Odaka Ward, Minamisoma City.

The group started the trip from JR Odaka Station. While walking along the main street, Mr. Tadano talked about the history of the town and the importance of horses in the Soma region. The international students from Central Asia had a strong interest in horses, so they listened intently to the story.

At the Odaka Exchange Center, we learned about the long time necessary for its development and the restriction of uses due to the government subsidies it received.

Next, we visited haccoba craft sake brewery from the outside (unfortunately, we couldn't go inside because a TV crew was filming there!). We then walked to Odaka Pioneer Village, where we learned from Mr. Tadano about the concept of its architecture and general disaster recovery. By using private funds and deliberately keeping the design simple, the building was constructed in a relatively short period and at a low cost while also leaving room for flexible modifications in order to adjust to future needs.

After lunch, we had small group discussions to wrap up the field trip and then shared what kind of "learning" we gained.

It seems that the most important lesson was the importance of "people" in reconstruction. From the perspective of developing countries, it seems that our international students tend to focus on large-scale and brand-new infrastructure facilities. But after meeting the real people in Hama-dori, who live there and work on reconstruction every day, our students were able to understand the importance of people's perseverance and spirit.

(Masahiro Matsuura)


Professional Graduate School Office, Meiji University

Monday to Friday 10:00 ~ 18:00 (English Desk)

Email:gabaken♦mics.meiji.ac.jp *Please replace ♦ with @