Largest City


Escape to Tohoku's friendly hub

With vibrant Sendai at its core, Miyagi makes the ideal base for exploring the remote corners of Tohoku.

Miyagi prefecture is about as close to a regional hub as you’ll get in remote Tohoku and makes a great base for exploring the surrounding, less accessible prefectures. Colorful Sendai is the prefectural capital; it’s tree-lined avenues are packed with lots of great shops and restaurants frequented by friendly locals happy to strike up conversation with an unfamiliar face. The popular Tanabata Matsuri means they’re certainly used to visitors, who usually combine a trip to nearby Matsushima to witness one of Japan’s top three scenic views. There’s hiking around Kinkasan’s Golden Mountain, onsen at Naruko and Akiu, and skiing at Onikobe. Grilled cow-tongue is the definitive dish – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Sendai Japan Cityscape

Sendai is Miyagi’s colorful capital.

It’s less than two hours on the bullet train from Tokyo to Sendai, from where you can easily access the rest of Miyagi’s attractions. Stay awhile in the city to explore the monuments to the legendary feudal lord Date Masamune, nicknamed the One-Eyed Dragon, who transformed Sendai from a small village into a major stronghold. After dark, head to the lively Kokubuncho area, affectionately seen as the little brother to Tokyo’s Kabukicho red-light district. In early August, Sendai becomes a riot of color during the Tanabata Matsuri when streets are decorated with thousands of giant handmade paper streamers. It’s a beautiful sight, though you’ll have to jostle with the two million or so spectators for a good view.

Matsushima, Japan coastal landscape from Mt. Otakamori. Miyagi Prefecture

Head to Matsushima for gorgeous coastal vistas.

Matsushima is a collection of around 260 islands scattered through the bay. Shaped by wind and waves into gnarled formations, the islands are known as one of Japan’s most stunning views. You can catch a cruise around the bay or take photos from one of the lookout points in the temples along the coast.

In the northeast of Miyagi, Naruko Onsen resort is home to five hot spring areas renowned for their skin-softening sulfur waters. Naruko is also the birthplace of traditional handpainted kokeshi dolls which you can watch being made in the various shops along the main street. At the opposite end of the prefecture, Akiu onsen deep in the mountains was the fave pick of the Date clan. It’s on the way to the Golden Mountain of Kinkasan which is a gorgeous spot for hiking. For a bit of stoic R&R, you can stay overnight in the simple Buddhist lodging at Koganeyama shrine.

Fixes at Zao Fox Village

Pay a visit to the Zao Fox Village in Shiroishi – a preserve in the mountains with over 100 foxes and probably the cutest place on earth.

Places to visit

sendai-tanabata festival

Sendai Tanabata Festival

Reunited lovers at Japan’s most iconic Tanabata celebration.

Zao Fox Village Japan

Zao Fox Village

For fox sake.

Matsushima, Japan coastal landscape from Mt. Otakamori. Miyagi Prefecture


Poetry in ocean.

Naruko Onsen

With hot springs galore and autumn colors, it's Naruko Gorge-ous.


The feel of a small town combined with the convenience of a big city is what makes Tohoku’s metropolis so appealing.


Every April this peaceful northern town comes alive from its famous tiger festival.

Ishinomori Manga Museum

Meet the 60s, 70s and 80s Japanese superheroes!


Sittin' pretty on the borders of Yamagata and Miyagi.

Tashirojima (Cat Island)

Tashirojima (Cat Island)

For friends of felines.

Tsukasa Beef Tongue Restaurant

Best tongue in town.

Miyagikyo Nikka Whisky Distillery

Japan’s high-spirited secret.

Other Destinations in Tohoku

Lake Towada in Autumn, in Aomori and Akita, Japan


The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it.

Cherry blossoms along the moat surrounding Hirosaki castle, Aomori.


The northern tip of Tohoku, Aomori prefecture is the boundary between the known and unknown Japan.

To-no-hetsuri in Fukushima, Japan


Ignore the bad press or miss out on this boundless, breathtaking natural landscape.


The local people say that Iwate is a place where you forge your own path. Take their advice and enjoy this re-emerging—and rewarding—destination.

Find poetic inspiration at Yamadera Mountain Temple in Yamagata


Winter is coming. But so is spring, summer and fall at this rewarding year-round destination.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya, Japan city skyline, Aichi Prefecture


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

People eating and drinking in Yurakucho Tokyo Japan.


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.


Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.