If you are traveling to Northern Japan (Tohoku region) for the first time, I think it is best to visit Miyagi prefecture first. Sendai City, the largest city in Tohoku, is located in Miyagi Prefecture. Sendai is known as the city of forests and is known for its beautiful nature. People from all over the Tohoku region come together to enjoy delicious cuisine from all over the Tohoku region. In addition, Matsushima Bay, which extends northeast of Sendai City, is counted as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan and is famous for its scenic beauty. You can tour the small islands in the bay on a pleasure boat, as shown in the photo above. This region was hit hard by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. Even so, people long for the sea, which gives them many blessings, and live with the sea.
Sendai is about 2hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen. It’s surprisingly close.
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Outline of Miyagi
Miyagi prefecture is located on the Pacific side of the Tohoku region, and its west side is in contact with the Ou Mountain Range. It is about 350 km north of Tokyo.
Miyagi prefecture has a population of approximately 2.3 million people and has become a center of the Tohoku region since long ago. The center is Sendai City. Nearly half of the people in Miyagi prefecture live in this city.
Along the Pacific Ocean in Miyagi prefecture, deeply indented coastline continues. This area has been hit by a big tsunami when a large earthquake arrives from long ago. However, there are many fish and shells living in the deep bay, giving us a wealthy blessing.
Climate and weather in Miyagi Prefecture
Because Miyagi prefecture is on the Pacific side of the Tohoku region, snow does not fall as far as the Japan Sea side in winter. It may be disappointing if you go to this area in anticipation of a snow scene. However, the mountains in the western part of Miyagi prefecture are heavy snow areas. Snow accumulates considerably in winter.
This area is cooler than Tokyo throughout the year, and it is rare that the summer maximum temperature will exceed 35 degrees.
Please refer to the linked page below for detailed information about Sendai’s climate and weather by month.
At Sendai Airport along the Pacific Ocean, regular flights are operated with the following airports. A railway is directly connected to Sendai Airport, and it is approximately 25 minutes by train from Sendai Airport Station to Sendai Station.
Seoul / Incheon
Shanghai / Pudong, Beijing / Capital
Taipei / Taoyuan
Sapporo / New Chitose
Tokyo / Narita
Nagoya / Chubu
Osaka / Itami
Osaka / Kansai
>>Official website of Sendai International Airport
Shinkansen (Bullet train)
There are 4 stations of Tohoku Shinkansen in Miyagi prefecture.
The time required from Tokyo station to Sendai station depends on each train, but it is about 2 hours. It takes about 1 hour and 35 minutes if you use the fastest Shinkansen.
If you want to travel around Sendai, a rail pass that allows unlimited rides on the Shinkansen and local trains is a great deal. >>See here for details.
Sendaijo Ato (Aoba Castle Ruins)
Sendai is a large city with a population of 1.1 million, which is outstanding in the Tohoku region. There was Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle) of the Date clan that boasted the greatest power of the Tohoku region in the era of the Tokugawa shogunate.
If you go to Sendai, I recommend you visit Sendai Castle site first. About 66,000 square meters of this castle suffered many fires and earthquakes and it was completely destroyed by air raids during the Second World War. However, if you go to Honmaru (main bailey) trace in Mt. Aoba, you can see the whole Sendai.
In this castle, there is a statue of Masamune DATE as seen in the picture above. He is the lord who built this castle in the beginning of the 17th century. This statue is said to be a symbol of Sendai.
Masamune is the most powerful warrior in the Tohoku region in the 16th century when the samurai fought fiercely. He was very fashionable. Sendai citizen still adores him who was strong and stylish.
Zuihoden is a historical mausoleum located in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. Date Masamune’s tomb built at the foot of the mountain where the above equestrian statue is located.
The mausoleum is known for its impressive architecture and beautiful gardens that represent the elegance and strength of Date Masamune. The roof of the main shrine is decorated with intricate carvings and decorations, and the surrounding gardens are filled with cherry trees and seasonal flowers.
Inside the mausoleum, various artifacts and treasures related to Date Masamune’s life and legacy are displayed. There are also detailed explanations in English and other languages, so you can come into contact with history and culture.
The most impressive thing about Zuihoden is the intricate carvings and decorations on the walls and ceiling of the main hall. Various scenes from Date Masamune’s life, creatures that appear in mythology, and symbols of power and power are carved.
Zuihoden is a must-visit place for those who are interested in Japanese history and culture.
Sendai Gyutan (Ox tongue dishes)
“Gyutan-yaki” is a unique and delicious local dish that you should try when you visit Sendai.
The beef tongue is marinated in a special sauce made from soy sauce and sake, and grilled over an open flame until it becomes soft. It is generally served with rice and miso soup, and may also include side dishes such as vegetables.
Beef tongue is popular not only for its delicious taste, but also for its high nutritional value. Beef tongue is high in protein and other important nutrients, making it a healthy and filling meal.
Sendai has many restaurants specializing in beef tongue, and you can choose from a variety of styles and cooking methods. Some restaurants serve it as a simple grilled dish, while others serve it in an elaborate cooking method such as hotpot or sizzling. Even people who don’t like beef say grilled beef tongue is delicious.
We will introduce the best accommodation when you visit Sendai.
One is to stay in a downtown hotel. Sendai is a small town, so if you stay at a hotel in the downtown area, you can easily get to the tourist spots introduced above by taxi or bus. It is also possible to go on foot. You can also enjoy Sendai’s nightlife. Kokubuncho in Sendai is famous as a nightlife spot. There are many different restaurants and entertainment facilities.
Another recommended place to stay is to go to Akiu Onsen and stay at a ryokan.
Akiu Onsen is about 30 minutes by car from the center of Sendai. There are plenty of choices, from reasonable ryokan to luxury ryokan. Some ryokan will pick you up from Sendai.
Around the Akiu hot spring town, there are wineries, a local product market, and facilities where you can experience crafts such as kokeshi dolls and pottery, so you can enjoy a leisurely stay.
Miyagi prefecture’s most popular sightseeing spot is Matsushima.
Matsushima is famous for its picturesque landscape consisting of over 200 small islands covered with pine trees. The scenery of this bay has long been called one of the three most scenic spots in Japan.
Visitors to Matsushima can take a pleasure boat cruise around the islands and take in stunning views of the surrounding coastline and natural beauty. It is also a town with many historic temples and shrines, including Zuiganji Temple, which was built in the 9th century and is designated as a national treasure.
Another popular spot in Matsushima is the Fukuurajima Observatory, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the bay and surrounding islands. The observatory is a short climb up a hill and is a great spot for taking pictures and admiring the beautiful scenery.
In addition to its natural beauty, Matsushima is known for its fresh seafood such as oysters and scallops. Matsushima has many restaurants and shops where you can taste these delicious dishes.
There are large and small pleasure boats on Matsushima and you can see the islands from the ship. Usually you can go around the bay in about 50 minutes.
When you go to Matsushima, you ride the JR Sengoku Line from Sendai Station. Then get off at Matsushimakaigan Station. You can get on board from here.
Matsushima’s specialty is delicious oysters. In Matsushima Bay, oyster cultivation is thriving. Many oyster dishes are offered at restaurants and hotels in Matsushima, so please try eating oysters by all means. The oysters here are fresh, so it is really delicious.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, I have heard stories from elderly men engaged in oyster farming in this port town. His son was attacked by the tsunami and was swept off the coast. But he swam and came back. They are afraid of the sea, but at the same time they respect the sea and receive blessings from the sea.
Zao Town is located in the mountains of Miyagi Prefecture, on the border with Yamagata Prefecture.
There are many hot spring resorts with a history of more than 1,900 years in Zao Town, and there are various styles of hot springs, from public bathhouses to high-class hot spring inns. From there, you can soak in the hot springs while admiring the beautiful natural scenery of Zao.
The ski area offers a variety of slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. It is also known for its snow and ice-covered trees, called “snow monsters,” which create a unique and beautiful landscape.
Besides skiing and hot springs, you can enjoy various activities such as hiking, fishing, and golf.
Miyagi Zao Fox Village
Miyagi Zao Fox Village is a popular tourist spot in the mountains of Miyagi Prefecture. More than 100 foxes of various breeds are kept in the village, and you can observe and interact with foxes in nature.
The foxes in Miyagi Zao Fox Village are friendly and accustomed to people, so you can pet them and feed them under the supervision of the staff. There is also a corner where you can interact with animals such as rabbits, goats, and sheep. It is a very attractive and unique facility that is irresistible for animal lovers.
It is open all year round, and you can experience something different each season, such as seeing Ezo red foxes in winter during the cold season. There is also an on-site gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs related to the red fox and the village. Nearby is Zao Resort, where you can enjoy hot springs and skiing.
Thank you for reading to the end.
>>Click here if you want to the Miyagi prefecture tour menu
Now, let’s plan to make your vacation in Japan the best experience ever!