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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Breathtaking gorges to hike and bike, and charming hot springs for afterward

Just 30 minutes from Sendai and offering some of Miyagi's best hot springs, hiking, and scenery, mountainous Akiu is a convenient and restful place to recharge.

Don't Miss

  • Follow a 1500 year tradition and soak in the local hot springs
  • Sample ohagi, a signature sweet made with rice
  • Gaze deep into Rairai Gorge to see mysterious boulders
  • Reenergize at the stunning Akiu Otaki waterfall

How to Get There

You can reach Akiu from Sendai by bus or car. The journey takes around 30 minutes.

Buses to Akiu depart from Sendai Station with roundtrip tickets available from the driver. If combining your visit with a hotel stay, many offer a free shuttle pick-up and drop-off service from Sendai Station.

Get your bearings

If arriving by bus, pass the Sendai Astronomical Observatory and Sakan Hotel to alight at the third stop: Akiu Sato Tourism Center. You can learn how the town developed from a railroad town transporting valuable Akiu stone to one of Japan's finest hot spring resorts.

Anything else needed can be found here too, even an outdoor footbath. Take advantage of a free rental bike service to navigate the hilly area.

Luxuriate in rich mineral waters

With records dating back 1500 years and historical figures such as an emperor and the famous feudal lord Date Masamune rejuvenating in its waters, the healing Akiu hot springs have long been a go-to spot for rest and relaxation.

You can stay at one of the hot spring hotels or use the baths as a day visitor. Check the opening times for the hot springs at the tourism center and remember to visit early; most day-use spas open only until 2-3 p.m.

Gorge yourself on natural surroundings

A one-kilometer hike that begins from behind the Akiu Sato Tourism Center, Rairai Gorge is a forested canyon-side trail which cleaves the town of Akiu in two. As you cross Nozoki Bridge, pause and look down to see a perfect heart-shaped hole, naturally carved into the stone. Allow for about 40-50 minutes to complete the journey there and back.

Refresh the senses at one of Japan's greatest waterfalls

Satisfy your sense of adventure by completing a challenging 14-kilometer bicycle ride to Akiu Otaki. This 55-meter high, six-meter wide waterfall is impressive in any season, but especially lovely when framed by verdant summer green or the colored leaves of autumn.

An elevated platform allows a great view of the entire falls, then you can descend to the basin below to hear the thunderous roar of the cascading waters.

An urban hub for local treats

Akiu's main tourist area is compact and offers everything you might need.

Visit Shufu no Mise Saichi supermarket before early afternoon to get your hands on ohagi, local rice cakes covered with red azuki beans. Then wash the delicacies down with a glass or two of local wine from Akiu Winery or peek inside the studios at the Akiu Traditional Crafts Village to find items such as smiling wooden kokeshi dolls and chat directly with their creators.

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