At a Glance
Snug deep in a valley of the Kitakami Mountains lies the seaside port of Onagawa. While now a scenic fishing town, the town has quite the storied past; in addition to being a rich fishing spot since the Heian Period, the town was also formerly a naval base for both Britain and Japan.
Greatly affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Tsunami, Onagawa is still in the process of rebuilding as of the writing of this guide (2021). Yet the townsfolk's tenacity in face of adversity continues to inspire not just in Japan but worldwide.
The Onagawa region is also home to one of the rarer phenomena in the world - singing sand.
Places to Eat
Things to See
Places to Visit
Ochakko Club - おちゃっこクラブ
A pasta restaurant serving Neapolitan style pasta. Certified by the Japanese Neapolitan Society for the authenticity of its pasta, you know it's good!
Kushiyaki Taro - 串焼きたろう
Grilled seafood on a stick! Fresh fish, clams, scallops, and more all grilled over a charcoal flame by a gruff-looking-yet-kind owner. Whether just stopping for a quick snack or a meal, it's quite the place visit. The char-grilled scallops are the best.
Maybe cheating a bit given it's not a restaurant but a collection of them, but either way it's a foodie's paradise. Seafood restaurants serving the freshest fish you'll likely ever have? Check. Pizza? Yep. Ramen? Also check. Izakaya? Quadruple check. There's even a brewery and coffee roaster!
Kitchen Kimura - キッチンきむら
Restaurant serving Western style foods; from hamburg steaks up to katsukare and even soba. If you want to skip the hustle and bustle of Seapal Pier, this is definitely the place for it.
Onagawa Ichiba Shokudou - 女川市場食堂
Located in Onagawa Fish Market, here you can sample the daily catch and then some!
Life Stones - いのちの石碑
Placed around the area comprising Onagawa, these monuments were erected after the students in the local JHS wanted some way to memorialise what had happened on March 11th, 2011. The location of each stone marks the maximum height the tsunami reached that day, and act as reminders to future generations of not only the power of the sea, but also a reminder to not be complacent when disaster strikes. Each stone has a different sentiment from a different student carved into them.
You can read more about them here.
Former Onagawa Police Box
Located on what was once the shore, the police box was pushed onto its side by the tsunami when it came ashore. A true commemoration of the energy carried by the waves.
Ishihama ~ Onmaehama Rest Area - 休憩所（石浜～御前浜）
A small park overlooking Onagawa, it provides a 180 degree view of the region and is a nice spot for pictures.
Onagawa Fish Market - 女川市場
A pretty famous fish market in Onagawa. While not anywhere near the size of Shiogama, it's still an experience to go through and see.
Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant Visitor's Centre - 東北電力女川原子力PRセンター
While nuclear power is quite...sensitive in the region, Onagawa NPP is quite the interesting place. Actually built to proper tsunami-proof specifications, the plant was able to weather both the earthquake and subsequent tsunami without any failure unlike its cousin in Fukushima. In any case, here you can learn more about the science behind fission based nuclear power.