The Tanesashi Coast (種差海岸) at the center of Sanriku Fukkō National Park (三陸復興國立公園) in Hachinohe City is an unusual beach. Instead of a sandy beach shore, it has a natural lawn that spreads all the way to the shoreline! As a designated National Place of Scenery Beauty, along the Tanesashi Coastline, you can admire more than 650 different types of plants blooming from spring to autumn!
The name “Tanesashi” will leave many Japanese people wondering how the coast got its name. Apparently, the name came from the Ainu language. Tanesashi (タンネエサシ) in the Ainu language means a ‘long cape’. Just like its name, the coastline stretches around 12 km.
Located close to the Tatehana Wharf Morning Market (館鼻岸壁朝市),
it is a perfect place for a relaxing stroll after you have had your breakfast at the market. As you step off the lawn onto the sand of Ōsuka Beach, for each step you take, the sand will “sing” back to you in response (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
The lawn that continues to the 5.2 km Coastal Exploration Trail (海岸探勝歩道) was chosen to be one of Japan’s Top 100 Promenades.
As you stroll along the coast, it might be hard to believe that the area was severely damaged by the tsunami caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. The Japanese really deserve some applause and recognition for their efficiency with their reconstruction.
Tanesashi Coast can be divided into four areas. From north to south, they are:
- Kabushima Area (蕪島エリア)
- Ashigezaki Observatory and Ōsuka Beach Area (葦毛崎展望台・大須賀海岸エリア)
- Tanesashi Natural Lawn Area (種差天然芝生地エリア)
- Ōkuki Area (大久喜エリア)
Tip: If you would like to get a tour guide for your time at Tanesashi Coast, make a booking with Hachinohe International Association (八戸国際交流協会) at least 7 days in advance.
If you know a bit of Japanese, you might wonder why Kabushima is not a stand-alone island.
Your suspicion is correct. Kabushima only got connected with Japan’s main island after the Japanese army completed the reclamation work in 1942. The island that is covered by rape blossoms (Nanohana, 菜の花) is a temporary home for many Black-tailed Gulls in spring and summer.
Kabushima is the only breeding ground for Black-tailed Gulls in Japan. Each year at least 30,000 to 40,000 gulls stop by Kabushima. This is how the sightseeing bus Umineko-gō got its name. It was named after the bird!
Whilst seagulls are very common in the area we previously stayed in, if that isn’t the case for you, come to Kabushima for a flock of Black-tailed Gulls. The Black-tailed Gulls usually visit this part of the Tanesashi Coast from March to August for breeding.
Tip: If you want to see the small gulls, come in June.
Important: Please try to stay away from the gulls’ nests as much as possible. It wouldn’t be a great experience for anyone to be attacked by protective parent gulls.
Kabushima Shrine (蕪嶋神社)
At the top of the hill, you should be able to see a shrine. It is a popular place for people to pray for their success in stock trading and personal charisma.
Apart from having the god of wealth, Benzaiten (弁財天), enshrined here, the other reason the shrine is famous for has something to do with its name.
The stocks of the stock market and one’s popularity are both pronounced as “Kabu” in Japanese. Now you can understand why the Japanese like to come to the shrine for those specific prayers (^_-)-☆.
On the ground in front of the worship hall is an image of a six-pointed star. It is said that you can purify yourself when you stand on top of it.
The most popular souvenir from the shrine is the Kabuagari Hyōtan charm (かぶあがりひょうたんお守り). If you can’t be bothered to pay for the charm, how about a photo with the Kabuagari Monument in a green turnip shape that is also located at the front of the worship hall?
Tip: Remember to bring an umbrella with you. During the season, there will be so many Black-tailed Gulls that their dung can drop at any given time. If you didn’t bring one, you could check if there are still umbrellas placed next to the torii gate as they can be rented out for free. Another advantage of using an umbrella is that you might get a chance to have a Black-tailed Gull standing on your umbrella (´▽｀*).
Important: Please refrain from feeding the gulls.
How to Get to Kabushima Shrine
- Kabushima Shrine is just a 15-minute walk from JR Same Station (鮫駅)
- If you are taking the sightseeing bus Umineko-gō, get off at Kabushima Kaihin Park (蕪島海浜公園)
Ashigezaki Observatory (葦毛崎展望台)
Ashigezaki Observatory, which is a 30-minute walk away from Kabushima, is probably the best place to get a panorama view of the Tanesashi Coast.
The observatory was once a military facility of the Japanese marine force. But nowadays, it is more known as a scenic spot where the Emperor and Empress of Heisei stopped by when they visited Hachinohe.
If you come in the right season, you will be surrounded by a field of flowers!
The observatory is also the starting point of the 5.2 km Coastal Exploration Trail (海岸探勝歩道) which ends at the Tanesashi Coast’s natural lawn area.
Tip: During the hot summer, don’t forget to grab one of Aomori’s highly popular ice creams from Cafe Terrace Hulunbuir (カフェテラス ホロンバイル) close to the observatory.
How to Get to Ashigezaki Observatory
- From JR Same Station (鮫駅), it is a 40-minute walk
- If you are taking the sightseeing bus Umineko-gō, get off at Ashigezaki Tenbōdai-mae (葦毛崎展望台前)
Samekado Lighthouse (鮫角灯台)
From the Ashigezaki Observatory, you should be able to see the white Samekado Lighthouse. It is another spot along the coastline that gives you a magnificent view of the area. And if your timing is right, you might also be able to capture a photo with the local train running below the lighthouse!
Except for the winter periods, the lighthouse is open to the public. This would be a perfect opportunity for you to head up there for an even better view of the Tanesashi Coast (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Nakasuga Coast (中須賀海岸)
The rocky cliff area south of Ashigezaki Observatory is known as Nakasuga.
There is a well-maintained promenade built along the reef cove. From mid-June to mid-July, various flowers will be blooming. This is why the area is also nicknamed “Hana no Nagisa (花の渚)”, which means a floral shore.
Ōsuka Beach (大須賀海岸)
Ōsuka Beach is also known as Nakisuna no Hama (鳴砂の浜), which means the ‘beach of singing sand’.
The sandy coastal area beyond Nakasuka Coast has sand with fewer impurities. As long as the beach isn’t covered in snow, why not take off your shoes and enjoy the unique sound that the sand produces when you walk on it!
As Ōsuka Beach stretches more than 2 km, you can hop back onto the One Coin Bus Umineko-gō and head to the next attraction of your interest on the Tanesashi Coast.
Important: Swimming at Ōsuka Beach is prohibited due to its rip current. If you would like to swim somewhere nearby, the Shirahama Beach (白浜海水浴場) next to is accessible and includes all the essential facilities, such as shower rooms and locker rooms, which are open from mid-July to mid-August.
Yodo no Matsubara (淀の松原)
If you decide to trek your way to the lawn area of Tanesashi Coast, you should end up passing through a road filled with pine trees. Although it is a small forest, the trees there are still well over 100 years old!
Before you get to Yodo no Matsubara, close to the Fukakubo Fishing Port (深久保漁港), there is a giant rock called Shiraiwa (白岩) close to the shore that looks as if someone spilled white paint all over it.
The culprit? The Black-tailed Gulls. Given that they often fly around in the area, it shouldn’t be a shock that the rock is covered by Black-tailed Gull’s dung (´▽｀*).
Tanesashi Kaigan Information Center (種差海岸インフォメーションセンター)
After Tanesashi Coast became a part of the Sanriku Fukkō National Park (三陸復興國立公園), the information center was opened in 2014. It was set up to introduce visitors and tourists to the natural resources and provide geological and seasonal information about the surrounding areas.
The center has multiple maps and pamphlets in different languages for both long and short walking trails. If you need a break from sightseeing, head to their resting area that oversees the Tanesashi Coast!
Tip: There is a water fountain in front of the Tanesashi Kaigan Information Center. The Black-tailed Gull clock next to it will inform you the time every hour from 7 am to 6 pm when the gulls inside the clock will take off along with the music.
The opening hours of Tanesashi Kaigan Information Center are:
- April to November: 9 am to 5 pm
- December to March: 9 am to 4 pm
- The center closes between the 29th of December to the 3rd of January
Tanesashi Morning Yoga Session
If you love a stretching session next to the beach, come to Tanesashi Coast at 7 am on Saturdays from the end of May to the end of September.
At Tanesashi, you get to enjoy the magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean while doing yoga on the soft natural lawn!
The one-hour session will only cost you 500 yen (+ 100 yen if you need to rent a yoga mat). Although the session is available in Japanese only, it shouldn’t be hard to follow the movements of the instructor.
Reservation is not required. If you are taking a bus, get off at Tanesashi Kaigan Information Center (種差海岸インフォメーションセンター).
The Best Time to Visit Tanesashi Coast
- April to July: Black-tailed Gull (ウミネコ) sight seeking at Kabushima (蕪島)
- May to October: When the lawn is at its greenest
- Mid-June to mid-July: For flowers blooming at Nakasuka Coast (中須賀海岸) and Ashigezaki Observatory (葦毛崎展望台)
Tip: From north to south of Tanesashi Coast, the average time spent here is around 2 – 3 hours.
Cycling at Tanesashi Coast
If you prefer to cycle your way along the coastline, you can rent an electric-assisted bicycle from Tanesashi Tourism Association (種差観光協会) close to the white Samekado Lighthouse (鮫角灯台).
The cost is 1,000 yen per bike for 3 hours. You can rent and/or return the bike between 9 am to 5 pm.
If you would like to reserve a bike, give the Association a call at +81-178-38-2024 and give them at least two days’ notice in advance.
Important: If you are heading to Tanesashi Coast in winter, many of the public toilet facilities are closed. For a list of toilet facilities along the coast, please refer to the map on the official website HERE.
How to Get to Tanesashi Coast
- From JR Tanesashi Kaigan Station (種差海岸駅), it is a 5-minute walk
- From JR Hachinohe Station to JR Tanesashi Kaigan Station, the train ride is around 30 minutes
- You can also take the Tanesashi Coast Sightseeing Bus – One Coin Bus Umineko-gō (ワンコインバス・うみねこ号) from JR Same Station (鲛駅) and get off at one of the bus stops along the coastline
- The bus fare is 100 yen for adults and 50 yen for children
- Please note that from mid-Nov to late Mar, the bus will only be operating on weekends and public holidays
- Please be aware that the number of bus and train services is limited
Discovering Other Attractions in Hachinohe
The city of Hachinohe is definitely one of the more unique cities in Japan. The biggest morning market in Japan is found here. And an alley full of stalls where you can randomly strike up a conversation with the owner or customers eating next to you!
To find out more about what to do and where to go in Hachinohe, please refer to our Hachinohe article (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.