I'm Heidi and I would have just finished over a year of unpaid volunteering mission in Sendai, Japan, in Feb 2017. As part of my way of thanksgiving for the completion of the mission, I will be walking by foot from Northern Aomori prefecture, to Soma, Fukushima (yes that Fukushima). The distance is about 800km. I will be taking part of the Michinoku Shiokaze Trail; a still uncompleted trail created to boost tourism in Tohoku. It stretches along the Eastern Coast of Japan.
Sendai in a major city in the Tohoku region, and it is famous for being devastated by a large earthquake, and then a tsunami in 2011. Over the course of my volunteering, I have discovered the wonderful region of Tohoku, and the beauty of the resilient spirit of the people here, and I would really love to introduce this region to the world at large. Tohoku is not a very touristy area, and it is a region prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. Many people here depend on the ocean industry, and on tourism. Unfortunately it is not very known to many people, and life can be a very great struggle in the northern part of the main island of Japan. So I also want to do this walk also to create more English guides to this area, and help in my little way to boost tourism in Tohoku.
Along the way, I also hope to visit the isolated Catholic parishes of Japan, where many of the parishioners are already elderly. So this walking trail is also my Camino de Santiago -- the famous Spanish walking pilgrimage. Except maybe it's not to Santiago, but to Soma in Fukushima.
To be straightforward: I wish I could do this on my own resources, however after over a year of mission work, I may not have enough resources to carry this out on my own. I will be walking in the deepest winter, and will try to rely on the generosity of people willing to offer me accommodation, however I never know whether some places are shut in winter and I may have to look for places to stay. I want to promote tourism in the places I walk, and any little bit helps me in trying to introduce this beautiful, wild and glorious Tohoku to all of you!
Estimated Dates: Mid-Feb to End-March 2017
Estimated distance by foot: 700 - 800km in total. About 20-35km a day.
Weather conditions: Snowy, strong winds with temperatures below freezing
Expected chance of survival: 99.5% (Safety being a priority since I am aware of the need to be careful being a solo female traveller. The 0.5% is because you can never be too sure in life, of life.)
Estimated budget a day: About 8,000 yen/day all inclusive of food and accommodation, medical supplies and travel fare to the impassable areas.
Weight loss expected: Maybe not.
Number of prayers: With every step