Odaka Town's history changed course in an instant on 11th March 2011 when 15m tsunami waves reached 3km inland killing 1,600 in Fukushima Prefecture and destroying all buildings in its wake.
“It's important to visit places like Odaka, to learn first-hand about the nuclear disaster and show support to the community who are rebuilding their lives. It's where tourism, handled sensitively, can really make a difference.”
Ruth Hubbard, Product Manager
Realising there were problems at the Fukushima No.1 Power Plant, just 20km away, the government immediately ordered the evacuation of 150,000 people, and just hours later three reactors suffered hydrogen-air explosions.
Before that fateful day, Odaka had been a prosperous town that bucked the depopulation trend suffered in other parts of rural Japan. Instead, as well as agriculture and fishing, the nuclear power plants were the main source of employment.
Odaka's evacuation order was lifted in July 2016. Still only 3,000 of the pre-disaster population of 13,000 have returned, but little by little houses are being rebuilt, new businesses are opening, and the residents are working together to rebuild their community.