The Michinoku Coastal Trail runs more than a thousand kilometers along the Tohoku coast of Japan. The scenery features majestic greens and cold coastal waters. The place is also one of regions devastated by the March 2011 tsunami, a reminder of the mixture of nature's capacity to both peace and sheer power. Stretching from Fukushima to Aomori, the hiking trail was built in 2019 and serves as a "bridge connecting nature, local lifestyles, and traces of the disaster." The place is steadily regrowing with businesses and families. And perhaps most importantly, the trail gives locals a chance to talk about their grief with hiking tourists. "Locals can't talk to each other about the disaster," says Kumi Aizawa, managing director of the Michiknoku Trail Club. "You could meet someone in a bar, but you don't know if they've lost a wife or a child, so you just don't bring it up. Even in a family, it's difficult to talk to each other. Hikers are from the outside and it's obvious, so it's easy to talk to them." In total, the thousand-kilometer Michinoku Trail is a step towards healing and rebuilding for the Japanese, and everything in between.

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