You’ll be hard pressed to find locals friendlier than the ones in Ishinomaki, which is remarkable considering the damage done by the 2011 Tsunami here. The city has bounced back through remarkable volunteer efforts, including the creation of “pop-up” art and food installations selling all manner of creative handicrafts, cheap eats, and drinks. Check out “The Common”, a collection of trailers where you can sip handcrafted desserts, curries and cocktails while listening to local music. Or head to Irori, a local coffeeshop where the city’s “Ishinomaki 2.0” campaign has helped launch game nights and other local activities.

If you’re a fan of manga, don’t miss the Ishonomori Shotaru Manga Museum, dedicated to the famous creator of Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009. Take in the view of the city’s old waterfront – and it’s rebuilding central area – from the city park, or catch a ferry to the cat island of Tashirojima. Whatever the experience, you’re bound to make a friend in Ishinomaki – and leave a changed person.