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Photo By: Sydney Seekford
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Reborn Art Festival

Contemporary Art exhibits celebrating the resilience of Tohoku 10 years after the tsunami.

By Sydney Seekford

The Reborn Art Festival, officially held in 2021 in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, celebrates the revival and resilience of Ishinomaki, a town in Miyagi Prefecture near the epicenter of the disaster.

At that time, centuries of history, from a rich aquaculture industry to important historical sites and daily ways of life, were washed away. Now, the town boasts a growing contemporary art and culture scene, best experienced through the permanent exhibits of the Reborn Art Festival.

The Installations

Reborn Art Festival

Photo by: Sydney Seekford This sculpture is the epicenter of the festival

Oshika (White Deer), by Kohei Nawa, is a towering white deer statue that shifts in color with the tides and setting sun. It represents both the lost deer that wander into human settlements and recalls the holy deer living on nearby Kinkasan. This sculpture is the epicenter of the festival, offering spectacular views of Ishinomaki’s verdant new island growth and sparkling seaside. Seasonally, the path to Oshika features original musical scoring from the festival and a nearby man-made storage cave is also used for Reborn-related events.

The White Road, by Shimabuku, features hundreds of thousands of white stones that connect Ishinomaki’s woods to the sea, ending at the tip of the peninsula that faces Kinkasan. The stone path, built into the area for the art piece to give visitors a view of the ocean, can be seen from Kinkasan’s summit and represents the connection of the mainland to the sea.

Nearby, Room Kinkazan preserves the daily life and hours of the poet Gozo Yoshimasu, who spent months in the Hotel New Sakai while writing. On the windows, guests can enjoy the poet’s hand-written notes, commentary, and drawings that offer a glimpse into his creative process. The room also features a soundtrack and mementos from the poet in the form of his personal effects and books.

Finally, Microcosmos -Melody-, a decorated, hot-pink piano, is on display at Oshika Whale Town, a new structure devoted to Ishinomaki’s long whaling history. The piano allows communication without words, without regard to time or space, to transfer between people who feel the gravity of the area’s history.

Enjoying the Art

Reborn Art Festival

Photo by: Sydney Seekford Hired guides and tours are the most convenient way to access the locations

All of the exhibits are free to visit and enjoy, although hired guides and tours are the most convenient way to access the locations, as they are quite far apart and not easily discoverable without experience or knowledge. Occasionally, live and pop-up events are still held by the Reborn Art Festival committee.

Things To Know


All of the exhibits are free to visit, with access depending on the operating hours of the individual venues and daylight/weather safety.

Oshika Whale Town: Open from 8:30 A.M.–5 P.M. Closed on Wednesdays. 

Hotel New Sakai: Ask at the 24-hour front desk to see Room Kinkazan

Warning: The grounds near Oshika (White Deer) and The White Road have leeches, thorns and sharp shells. It is recommended to wear thick-soled shoes, thick socks and bug spray.

How To Get There


By train

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen bound for Sendai from Tokyo station or Ueno and transfer to the Senseki-Tohoku line for Ishinomaki at Sendai. The trip from Tokyo to Ishinomaki takes approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes. Taxis from Ishinomaki station are the best way to reach the Oshika peninsula.

By car

Oshika peninsula is approximately 6 hours from Tokyo by car. The exhibits are best enjoyed by taxi or hired guide.

Where To Stay

Value The Hotel Higashimatsushima Yamoto
  • 215 Komatsu, Higashimatsushima-shi, Miyagi, 981-0504 Japan
  • ¥6,300 - ¥13,600
  • 4.04/5 (602 reviews)
  • 9.4 km

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