STORY Stunning Views, Amazing Food, and even Cute Foxes! Come and Enjoy Miyagi Prefecture! by JNTO on 30 September 2019
Miyagi Prefecture is located in the Tohoku region of Japan. You can reach the main city, Sendai, in about 1 hour and 40 minutes by Shinkansen, or bullet train, from Tokyo. Check out spots associated with the famous military commander and ruler of Sendai, Date Masamune, and experience Sendai’s famous beef tongue dishes!
Sendai, the city of the famous warrior Date Masamune
Sendai, located in the heart of the Tohoku region, was founded by Date Masamune. It is also known as “Mori no Miyako”, which means “the capital of the forest,” and as the name suggests, the city is overflowing with nature. The well-preserved stone walls and a reconstructed tower of the ruined Sendai Castle (also called Aoba Castle), the former home of the Date clan, overlook the city from the place where they lie and now known as the Aobayama Park. In autumn the park is lit up and there are various sites to see such as Zuihoden, Date Masamune’s mausoleum, and Osaki Hachimangu which is a Shinto shrine with a magnificent black lacquer painted structure decorated in gold leaves.
Don’t forget places with amazing views and lots of animals; Zao!
The Zao area, which straddles Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures, offers a wealth of amazing views including Mount Zao which lies at the center. To traverse the range, you can take the Zao Echo Line, a 26-kilometre tourist road where nature expands before your very eyes. Typically, around September and October, you can see the maple trees and Japanese beech tree in all their red and gold autumn glory. From the beginning of November until the end of April the road is closed, but when it reopens, it is bordered by vertical snow walls until mid-May.
One of the most outstanding spots you can visit along the route is Takimidai where you can see two waterfalls. Right in front of the viewing platform, there is the 3-step Sankai waterfall, and the second one is called Fudo. The area also has many high-quality food. Zao Cheese is made using the milk of cattle raised in the fields of Nanokahara. There is also handmade soba, made using pure spring water taken from the foot of Mount Zao. The area is also famous for peaches and blueberries!
Places to see in Zao, 1: Goshiki-numa, the lake of five colors
Goshiki-numa (literally “five-colour pond”), is also called Okama, because the volcanic crater is said to resemble a cauldron. The water of the crater lake can change color to emerald green or lapis lazuli blue, depending on the natural light and the weather, so the lake can be said to have beenpractically created for Instagram posts! Through the “Mount Zao Highline” trek (a small fee apply), you can view the lake from a viewing platform.
- Goshiki-numa volcanic crater
- Zao Hot Springs Zao Quasi-National Park, Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture
- [BUS] From Yamagata JR East station, you can reach Zao Hot Springs in 45 minutes. When the Zao Echo Line is open, on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays some of the Miyako Buses (Shiroishi Zao ~ Togatta Hot Spring) run an extended route which go to Zao-Katta Sancho for views of the volcanic crater.
- [Rental Car] Due to the crater being within the Zao Quasi-National Park, you are unable to enter the address into the car navigation. Please search by using “御釜（Okama）” instead.
Places to see in Zao, 2: Meet over 100 cute foxes at “Zao Fox Village”
Located in Shiroishi City, Miyagi is Japan’s only fox-themed zoo. It has six different species of fox including the Ezo Red Fox, Red Fox, Arctic Fox, and Silver Fox. There are over 100 foxes in total. Twice a day (Saturdays and Sundays), there is an opportunity to pet the fox cubs as well as feed them.. (A fee is likely to be charged for these activities and kindly note that they may not be available depending on the weather conditions).
Within the park, there are also rabbits, goats as well as ponies which you can interact with and also feed. For safety reasons, due to the foxes being free range, all children must be accompanied by at least an adult.
- Zao Fox Village
- 11-3 Kawarago Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi, Miyagi
- 20 minutes by car from Shiroishi Zao Station
- Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily (Last admission is at 4:30pm)
- ※except Wednesdays
- ※Opening times may vary due to weather conditions
- Admission: Adults and children 13 years and older: 1,000 yen; children aged 12 and younger: free