About 50 of them gathered on Monday at one of the last remaining evacuation centers. All shelters will be closed on Tuesday because city authorities have finished building temporary housing units.
The survivors presented letters of gratitude and flowers to the volunteers who helped run the shelter. Some of them performed a traditional lion dance.
They also shared memories of the 7 months they spent at the evacuation center.
One man in his 60s said he will be sad to be separated from other survivors because they supported each other. He said he will hold onto the memory of the shelter and move forward. He also vowed to make a fresh start and return to where he used to live.
Ishinomaki is one of the areas in Japan's northeast that was hit hardest by the earthquake and tsunami. About 50,000 people were staying at the city's 250 evacuation centers at one point.