Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. 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
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life 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

Islands scattered like emeralds herald Miyagi's beautiful coastline

The coastal communities of Miyagi Prefecture rely on and respect the sea. After the devastation of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the resilient locals are rebuilding. Dine on the freshest seafood, enjoy unmatched views and be part of coastal revitalization.

The coastline is a gateway to several world-famous islands including the Cat Island and the Pine Islands.

Don't Miss

  • Spectacular sea views that have inspried artists and poets for centuries
  • Fresh seafood including all you can eat oysters in winter
  • The famous 260 pine-covered islands, considered one of the most beautiful sights in Japan

How to Get There

The capital of Miyagi, Sendai, is your gateway to all locations across the coast.

The Hayabusa or Yamabiko Shinkansen from Tokyo will get you to Sendai in around an hour and a half. The JR Senseki Line from Sendai takes about 40 minutes to reach Matsushima.

The magical pine islands

The 260 pine-covered islands of Matsushima Bay have inspired poets and travellers for centuries. In autumn, the harvest moon over the bay offers breathtaking views of the islands, silhouetted against the silvery water.

Find the best view of the islands by taking a 45-minute ferry ride around the bay. Sit in the warm inside carriages or pay a little extra to sit on the unobstructed top deck to feel and taste the salty sea breeze.

A bridge to another world

Three of the islands can be accessed by footbridges from the mainland. Visit mysterious Oshima with caves carved out by ancient meditating monks; pray at Godaido, a tiny island next to the ferry port and considered to be the symbol of Matsushima; then stretch your legs with a walk across the 252-meter-long red bridge to Fukuura Island for a view of both the bay and the Matsushima coastline.

Don't miss Zuiganji, the most important Zen temple in the Tohoku region. The grand but simple buildings enclosed by cedar trees evoke a sense of spiritual calm. Zuiganji and the smaller nearby temples were built by feudal warlord Date Masamune and his family, who ruled most of the Tohoku region in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The life of the sea

Miyagi Prefecture is part of the Sanriku Coastal Area, considered one of the most abundant fishing grounds in the world. At the fish markets in Kesen'numa, you can see huge tuna, swordfish and saury. Each of the major fishing ports along the coast has its own charm and character.

Shiogama: heaven for sushi lovers

The port of Shiogama is said to have the most sushi restaurants in Japan, testament to the quality of the local catch. Shiogama is just a 15-minute train ride from Sendai, and the fish market is a great place to try a "My Donburi": get a bowl of rice, then meander through the market adding fresh fish toppings.

Shiogama Shrine is said to be over 1,000 years old and is one of the most important shinto shrines in Tohoku. Climbing the 200 stairs to the entrance rewards climbers with spectacular views from the vermillion red buildings.

Ishinomaki: tragedy and triumph

The seaside town of Ishinomaki experienced the worst loss of life caused by the 2011 tsunami. However, visitors will see the pride and fighting spirit of the citizens, symbolized by the “Ganbaru Ishinomkai” sign put up shortly after the disaster. It is a reminder for all to “Never Give Up!”, no matter how hard things become.

Hiyoriyama is a hillside park famous for its springtime cherry blossoms and panoramic views. Compare pictures of the town pre-tsunami with the current flattened coastline which is being reconstructed.

Don't be surprised by the bizarre, UFO-shaped "Mangattan", or Ishinomori Manga Museum. This very striking structure houses characters and original artwork by the 'King of Comics' Ishinomori Shotaro, known for Cyborg009 and Kamen Rider.

Just off the coast is Tashiro Island, better known as 'Cat Island', home to more cats than people. Locate the cat shrine in the forest and cat architecture found at the nearby camping site.

For a quieter experience, visit Kinkasan Island for a spiritual journey. Hailed as one of the “three holiest places in Tohoku”, you’ll find forest hiking, temple buildings with much statuary, and a tribe of semi-wild deer, respected as messengers for the gods.

Kesen'numa: resilience by the bay

Kesen'numa is another town that was hard-hit by the 2011 disaster, but is fighting to recover. About two to three hours from Sendai by train, the town is famous for its super fresh seafood. You can recharge at K-Port, built by the famous actor Ken Watanabe after the tsunami. Indulge in gourmet pizza, curry, pancakes and good coffee.

Nature fans can climb the central 239-meter-high Mt. Anba, or take a ferry to nearby Oshima Island and rent a bicycle to tour Mt. Kameyama.

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