Apr 24, 2019
Gallery - Yamoto's Amazing Carp Streamers
In a field near Higashi-Yamoto Station on the Senseki line (73 minutes and 630 yen from Sendai), several lines of beautiful carp streamers criss cross the sky, in memory of the children who passed in the March 2011 disaster. Having seen an ad on social media, I chose to go check it out, unsure of what to make of the "short walk from the station" listed in the ad.
The station itself does not even have an office of any kind, but there is a stand that charges your Suica for your journey and a small free-standing slot for tickets off to the left. I was hoping the carp would be visible from the station but that was not the case. I turned on my maps app and headed for the nearest field.
If you're keen to see this and travelling by train, cross the large street near the station and head north.
There is limited sidewalk but this is the best way to get there. Notice all the nice new houses? I caught myself remembering new housing developments in my hometown and then realized with a pang of survivors' guilt why none of these buildings seemed to be more than a few years old. Everything here was wiped away in the 2011 tsunami.
After less than ten minutes of walking, I came to this intersection. Over to the left, you can see the carp, just past a solar-power station. For some reason, the crosswalk signs never changed to green, even after I pressed all the buttons and waited for the light to change. Going with the corresponding traffic lights might be helpful.
I went on a weekday before Golden Week and if I had come by car, I would have had to park in this little shoulder area that's blocked off from the parking lot within. I don't know if this will be the case later, but it made me happy to have come by train.
They were breath-taking. The things that excited me most were the differences between so many of them, from the personal touches on the handmade additions to the hand-prints on others and the messages written in marker on so many.
The scent of the sea swelled in the air and the wind blustered and blew the carp streamers in one direction, then another, filling the sky above my head with words for the children of this area who didn't get to grow up.
My eyes filled with tears, but I was also captivated and took as many pictures as I dared of this fantastic sight. It pulled hard at my heart strings and I let myself feel this grand gesture of kindness for the dead.
If you're in the area, you should go and see this. It is shockingly moving and beautiful, far more amazing than I expected a bunch of windsocks to be on an overcast weekday. Maybe it won't make you cry in public or hear the footsteps of phantom children, but it is one of the most authentic and fantastic things I have both seen and felt in my time in this country.
The walk from the station takes less than 15 minutes. I stayed and was overwhelmed and emotional and still left the carp within 30 minutes with full appreciation. If you're taking the train, you're going to want to keep an eye on the time as the trains in this area only run once per hour.
There isn't much to do around the station but there is a small enclosure with a sliding door to guard against the wind or rain while you wait.
The event runs until May 5th.
A working mom/writer/teacher, Jessica explores her surroundings in Miyagi-ken and Tohoku, enjoying the fun, quirky, and family friendly options the area has to offer.