- Title: JAPAN: Route 45 - a drive through despair
- Date: 28th March 2011
- Summary: CHILD EATING NOODLES
- Embargoed: 12th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Travel / Tourism
- Reuters ID: LVAAS9M23PAZIOIM2EAYDKPXFQ0U
- Story Text: Route 45 was considered one of Japan's most scenic drives as it snugs the northeast coast for hundreds of kilometres but a drive through it on Sunday (March 27) exposed that large sections of it were battered by the earthquake and tsunami that spared next to nothing on the path.
The road winds up and down mountains into what is left of the cities along the sea following the natural disasters that struck earlier this month.
Ships are stacked on houses while equipment from fishing boats are intertwined with downed power lines.
Nestled on a cliff above the bay of Kirikiri sits a roadside noodle house that survived the tsunami.
Owner Ryuetaro Meakawa, who cooks by candlelight, says that although the tsunami didn't wash away his shop he doubts the business that has been in his family for more than 40 years will survive through the summer.
"I think it will just be the local people from now on. Since the entire coastline has been destroyed, I'd have to say that the number of people who come to swim will definitely drop off," he said.
If and when the tourists return they will be hard pressed to find accommodation. The Namizaka Tourist Hotel, one of many destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, now has overturned cars where the front lobby use to be.
Residents from other parts of Japan are starting drive along route 45 to see the devastation with their own eyes.
"There aren't the towns that were once here. It's terrible. It's tough to see. Route 45 is all ripped up now the towns are a mess and it is just dangerous," said Misato Chiba, who decided to drive along route on her day off.
The 9.0 earthquake and tsunami has claimed more than 20,000 lives and leveled a part of Japan that most people believe will never be the same.
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