The journey from Tokyo to Fukushima, and then from Fukushima to Kyoto thru Tokyo was a long one but thanks to the JR company trains it was a comfortable one. Starting our trip in Tokyo, the center of one of the biggest mega-regions, gave me a false sense of Japan is like. It was very easy to get around, order food, and direct questions in English so it was an easy adjustment. I soon realized that most of the rest of Japan is not like that.
We started our journey to Fukushima at 6:30 am on June 3rd and got there around 10:15 am. The journey was easy to follow, as most Japanese transit journeys are, and took us up the Eastern coast of Japan. There was a noticeable change in the areas around the track as we went outside the Tokyo mega-region. We stopped seeing a lot of buildings and started seeing smaller houses and rice fields, it was a beautiful view. You could tell from looking out the train that most of the economy revolved around farming.
In Fukushima, seeing the effects that the 3.11 incident had on people and how it is still affecting them to this day was a humbling experience. I saw the resiliency of the Japanese people after seeing how much of the evacuated area they have already restored and how most people want to come back to their homes. One of the biggest things that I observed was that even though we were in small towns away from big cities, people still followed the trash separation seriously and everything was clean. Another nice thing I saw was that the high school students of the area learned about the sustainable development goals and were interested in turning them into a reality. The push towards renewable energy in the Fukushima also interested me. Currently, over 30% of Fukushima's energy comes from renewable sources and they plan to go 100% renewable energy by 2040.
From Fukushima we left to go to Kyoto around 11:30 am on June 4th. Our first line from Fukushima to Tokyo was delayed due to some error in the track. This delay was the first delay of any kind that I have experienced in Japan so far (and will most likely be the only). The line we took from Tokyo to Kyoto was a Shinkansen and rode extremely smoothly.
Looking at fields of rice through the window of the train while leaving Tokyo.
A poster of the Sustainable Development Goals in an alley in Kyoto.
A model of the town hall of Okuma inside the town hall. The town had an evacuation order for most of the past 8 years but it was recently lifted and the town is starting to go back to how it was before the 3.11 incident.