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TOHOKU Miyagi The gateway to Tohoku: Japan's north country

Miyagi, Japan

Hot spring resort towns, historical attractions, festivals and the iconic Matsushima Bay draw visitors from far and wide

You can find hot spring resorts such as Akiu Onsen, Sakunami Onsen and Naruko Onsen throughout Miyagi Prefecture. In the city of Sendai, a former castle town, visit the impressive mausoleum of warlord Masamune Date, Zuihoden, and the ruins of Sendai Castle. A trip the remote and mysterious Zao Fox Village, where foxes roam freely, is a highlight of Miyagi, and the Tanabata Festival, held at the beginning of August, attracts more than two million spectators. Visit Miyagi's majestic coastline to sample fresh seafood from some of Japan's most fertile fishing grounds.

How To Get There

A trip from Tokyo to the capital city of Sendai takes an hour and a half via the JR Tohoku Shinkansen. There are also domestic flights from Osaka, Sapporo, Hiroshima, Kobe, Fukuoka and Nagoya, reaching Sendai Airport in one or two hours.

From Tokyo, take the Komachi, Hayabusa or Hayate shinkansen trains. You'll arrive in Sendai in just over an hour and a half. The slower Yamabiko trains take about two hours. Sendai Airport offers an increasing number of domestic and international flights with competitive prices. Direct low-cost carrier (LCC) flights from Taiwan, Osaka and or Sapporo are most popular. The airport also serves flights to and from most large Japanese cities such as Nagoya, Okinawa and Hiroshima. Local trains and highway or night buses from Tokyo are the cheapest options, each taking about five to six hours. Buses allow relatively comfortable seats and stops at rest areas. Another option is to take a series of local trains, which offer unmatched views of the Japanese countryside.

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Don’t Miss

    Matsushima Bay, widely considered one of Japan’s greatest scenic spots
    Fantastical “snow monsters” on the slopes of Zao in winter
    Cuteness overload at Cat Island or Zao Fox Village
    Soaking in the healing hot-spring waters of Akiu Onsen

Local Specialties

  • Zundamochi

    A simple, vibrant green dessert of unsweetened mochi rice cake topped with sweet edamame paste. The Miyagi version of nutella on toast.

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  • Shiroishi Umen

    A short, wheat flour noodle, similar to somen, eaten cold in the summer and warm in winter. Prepared without oil, Shiroishi umen are healthy and easy to digest.

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  • Sasa Kamaboko

    Formed from whitefish that is minced, seasoned and then baked or steamed to create a tasty little fish cake with variations in texture from region to region. A staple of Japanese cuisine.

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  • Gyutan

    Called gyutan in Japanese, beef tongue is a delicacy you can enjoy at yakiniku restaurants and specialty restaurants, grilling the thin slices and dipping them in yuzu, salt or a special house sauce.

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  • Naruko Lacquerware

    This lacquerware tradition in Naruko dates back to the early 1600s.Typical Naruko shikki styles range from traditional clear lusters to playful contemporary designs with faux marble patterns or distressed patinas.

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  • Naruko Dolls

    These finely hand-painted wooden dolls are actual head turners that squeal when rotated. This quirk distinguishes Naruko kokeshi from other Japanese kokeshi dolls.

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    The “Echo Line” road reopens, still flanked by walls of snow, while over 1,000 cherry trees burst into color along the Shiroshi River.

    sendai area
  • Summer

    Miyagi is at its liveliest, with a famous island-dotted bay, towering waterfall, the nation’s largest cooking pot, Cat Island and a Tanabata festival all compete for your attention.

    naruko area
  • Autumn

    Fall means leaves aflame with color blanketing Naruko Gorge, warming up in the prefecture's many hot springs and dancing to the music of the Jozenji Street Jazz Festival.

    sendai area
  • Winter

    The frigid cold turns trees into fantastical “snow monsters,” Zao Fox Village is enveloped in white, and holiday illuminations brighten the nights.

    Ski at Zao-WIN

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