The Present Condition of Ibaraki Prefecture (Updated Edition) ~Part3

3. The present condition in the disaster-stricken area

Just after the quake, because media such as television and newspapers mainly covered the Tohoku area which suffered severe destruction by the Tsunami, information on the
situation in Ibaraki prefecture was extremely limited. Afterwards, broadcasts on the circumstances in Ibaraki gradually increased and the serious damage in the northern area of the prefecture by the Tsunami and the flooding in the Rokko area was revealed. The following is the report about the situation according to the personal inspection.

(1) The northern area of the prefecture

In Kitaibaraki City, the Hirakata Port which has been open since early modern times was gravely damaged by the great Tsunami. Although it has not been confirmed yet, the well-known archives were almost certainly washed away. From the Port to the Higashimachi area located by the coastline, we could see that a lot of houses were partially or completely destroyed. However, the damage in the old post towns and the other communities along the Hama Highway was relatively slight such as cracked walls, collapsed stone-fences, or fallen roof tiles, because those towns were located on high and stable land.

Ootsu Fishing Port which is the biggest port in the city was completely destroyed. All of the buildings connected with the fishing port such as a fishermen’s cooperative association were also damaged. Almost all fishing boats were capsized or washed away. A large amount of fixed shore nets were washed up and scattered around. The area along the Hanawa-Ootsu route which runs from east to west was left in a very severe condition, and many houses were partially or completely destroyed. However, it seemed that the Tsunami didn’t reach the shrines, temples and main villages which lay inland from the route. The fishery museum ‘Yoosoro’ also suffered at the hands of the Tsunami. The market place is now only debris and we could see some crushed Japanese traditional Fusuma(*) there. As for the Isohara Beach and the neighbouring area, the Tsunami engulfed Route 6 which ran along the coastline. The houses which were partially destroyed stood out.

In Kawarago Port in Hitachi City, it could be seen that the guesthouses along the beach were destroyed by the Tsunami. From Kuji Port to Hitachi Port, houses and shops by the coastline were affected because the Tsunami flowed over Route 245.

Around the sand dune area in Muramatsu, Tokai village, the roads were covered with sand due to the flooding so a lot of subsidence and bumps were evident. I saw the surface of the tennis courts had buckled. The great Torii gate of Daijingu shrine also collapsed, and the banks of Shinkawa River were heavily damaged. In Isozaki Fishing Port of Hitachinaka City, guesthouses and hotels located from the dune area to the port were slightly affected. Hiraiso seaside is safe because the Tsunami didn’t flow over the road by the coastline. On the reclaimed ground in Nakaminato port, the reconstruction of the market place has clearly advanced, although grave damage had been reported. It seemed that the Tsunami flooded the back roads of the market place, but it didn’t reach to more
interior places or the so-called old Nakaminato town which developed since medieval period. With regard to Ooarai Town, the buildings of commerce, harbour, and public office were severely hit by the Tsunami because this town developed on the lowland by the coastline, and some parts of the town were on reclaimed land. However, the old village which developed on the perch was completely safe as the Tsunami couldn’t reach there. The old brewery in the centre of the city was also not harmed so much. In terms
of the shrines and temples which were located on the perch, we partially confirmed the extent of their damage such as the roof tiles which had fallen down, the stone-made stairs which had come loose, and the stone garden lanterns which were destroyed.

The Nagaoka-Ooarai Route which runs through the centre city from south to west has
been built on the Kanju Trench which Kanjuro Matsunami had tried to cut although it had already been reclaimed. It was uncertain whether it was the cause or not, yet there was considerable subsidence on the roadside. Moreover, the shops and houses were slanted to the direction facing the road, the paving stones were broken, and the curb stones had sunk. In Hanaike Temple which was located 100m east from the road, the stone walls were loosened, and a lot of grave stones had fallen down.

(2) Rokko area

Entering Kashima City from the north and going south along Route 51 which runs beside
the coastline, we could see a lot of telegraph poles located in seaside villages were no longer upright. In the Nagasu area in Kamisu City along Route 124, all of the signboards of supermarkets and restaurants had fallen down. Many houses and shops were subsided, and driveways and pavements were also cracked and distended because of the liquefaction that occurred on the reclaimed ground. The House Yamamoto in Okunoya, Kamisu City is a nationally designated structure being an old fisherman’s residence whose wattle and daub was partially damaged by the Tsunami. The drifted items were scattered all around the residence. The Tsunami which entered from Kashima Port flooded the place, and poured into this area which lies between there and the Gounoike
pond. We also confirmed the coastline area from the seashore sports park to Hikawahama Beach, there was no trace of the Tsunami having flooded there.

The Hinode area which is on the reclaimed ground in Itako City has telegraph poles which were seen to be awfully slanted even from a distance. This area is the reclaimed ground of the Uchinami Sakaura. The area along Route 51 and prefectural Road 5 in the city did not suffer so much. On the other hand, in the riverside district along Hitachi-Tonegawa River whose riverside area was famous for the iris garden, the telegram poles were uneven and roads heavily cracked.

The pavements in front of the Ebisawa in Ibaraki town were loosened by the liquefaction, and the manholes had been lifted approximately 50-60cm up from the roads. Along the local route 45 and prefectural route 114, the bumps and subsidence on the road was eviden here and there. In Yoshikage, Namegata City, we could also continuously find that the manholes on the Mito-Kamisu Route had been lifted 30-100cm up from the road. We saw many bumps and subsidence on the road, too.

(to be continued)

*Fusuma(襖): sliding door made from paper and wood, used to partition off rooms in a Japanese house. Sometimes they have beautiful traditional pictures, or old historical documents on the underside to strengthen against being torn part.


About Nerwork for Historical Materials
A volunteer group for preserving Cultural Heritage suffered from natural disasters

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