Otsuchi is in Iwate. The town of Otsuchi has been severely devastated by the tsunami of 2011 and we should keep the people of the area in our thoughts.
It's not far from the "big" city of Kamaishi.
The train from Morioka has been suspended since the tsunami, and may be replaced in the long term by bus service only.
The bus leaves from in front of Morioka Station at 4:20PM. This also costs about ¥2,500. (but this goes just to Kamaishi, where you get off the bus in front of the station and take another 20 minute bus to Otsuchi (the correct buses are 浪 or 赤浜).
You can walk from one end to the other in about an hour, but it is a great place to ride a bicycle around. Unfortunately, if you are just visiting, there are no bike rental stores.
Namiita Beach and Kiri Kiri Beach. Namiita = surfing (they have a rental shop). Kiri Kiri = relaxation. In Namiita, there is the cutest little tea/cake shop a little walk from the beach. It is right in front of the train stop. You can eat beautiful little cakes and drink matcha that you make in little tatami mat rooms. Feels like you went back in time.
Also, Shiroyama Park (城山公園). Climb up the little mountain and see beautiful views of the town, mountains, and sea.
Surf, swim, hike, walk around the town and talk to the locals.
Also, although there are no natural hot springs in the area, there is a spa behind Mast, which is fantastic. There are six baths and two saunas. Three of the baths are outside, which are wonderful after a long day in the winter. Plus, they have a tank full of fish that you can stick your feet in for relaxation.
Not much to buy in terms of souvenirs here, but there is a nihon-shu (sake) that is made in Otsuchi that is delicious. Just go in any liquor store and ask for Otsuchi no nihon-shu, and they should be able to help you find it.
Also, Mast has anything you could possibly need. Grocery store, a Homac, a department store, video store, shoe store, a cute little hippy/Indian store.
The little ramen shop inside the Mast, and the restaurant at Namita Beach over looking the ocean from a little cliffy area. Great view. Also, a chinese restaurant near the eki street called Sen Sen (せんせｎ).
- Amigo (This bar is difficult to find without a guide.). A Mexican bar.
- Crayon (クレヨン). A karaoke bar. 1 hour all you can drink for ¥600.
In Otsuchi proper, there are no hotels. But in the Namiita beach area, there is one hotel overlooking the ocean. Also, in Kamaishi there are several hotels like the Bay City Hotel and Sunroute.
Most people in this town do not speak English.
The neighboring city of Kamaishi has a large statue called the Daikanon which overlooks the bay. Climbing up the stairs to the top is a bit of an exercize but definitely worth it. Inside are several little statues and things to look at. This city also has a sightseeing boat that goes along the coast and is one of the things you MUST do if you are in Kamaishi. Also, there is a sea kayak rental shop.
About an hour away is Tono, home of the kappas. It's a cute little town with a lot of folk history.