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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 the remote northeastern Tohoku region, which makes it an excellent base for exploring the surrounding, less accessible prefectures. However, that doesn’t mean you should pass up the prefecture. It’s home to beautiful mountains, several natural parks and breathtaking coasts.

You can travel to Miyagi in less than two hours on the bullet train from Tokyo to Sendai, the prefecture’s capital, where you can easily access the rest of Miyagi’s attractions.


Miyagi Sendai Tanabata Matsuri Festival

Hapina Nakakecho Shopping Arcade during the Tanabata Matsuri Festival.

Colorful Sendai is the prefectural capital. Its tree-lined avenues are packed with great shops and restaurants. Friendly locals are always happy to strike up a conversation with an unfamiliar face. You can even spot Zao Mountain from the cherry blossom-lined bank of the Shiroishi River.

Discover Naruko Onsen

Naruko Gorge Onsen Miyagi Autumn Sendai 2
The extremely popular Tanabata Festival 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, hot spring action at Naruko and Akiu, and skiing at Onikobe. Grilled cow-tongue is the traditional dish, and don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

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. One such memorial is Masamune’s mausoleum, which is decorated with vivid colors and intricate designs.

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 major attraction thanks to the Tanabata Matsuri, when the streets are crowded 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 the best views.


Matsushima, Miyagi.

Photo by: iStock/ SeanPavonePhoto Coast of Matsushima, Miyagi.

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 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 lies hidden deep in the mountains. It’s on the way to the Golden Mountain of Kinkasan, which is a superb spot for hiking. For a bit of stoic R&R, you can stay overnight in the simple Buddhist lodging at Koganeyama Shrine.

Plan your trip to Miyagi with the destinations below!


Naruko Gorge Onsen Miyagi Autumn Sendai 2

Discover Naruko Onsen

While you’re in Miyagi Prefecture stop take a dip in Naruko Onsen


Places to visit

Reborn Art Festival

Reborn Art Festival

Contemporary Art exhibits celebrating the resilience of Tohoku 10 years after the tsunami.

Koganeyama Shrine

Koganeyama Shrine

Visit a shrine built to honor the first discovery of gold in Japan 1200 years ago, whose grounds comprise a whole island.


The ideal pilgrimage for visitors wishing to pay their respects to victims of the tsunami

Naruko Gorge Onsen Miyagi Autumn Sendai 2

Naruko Onsen

Abundant hot springs and nature for hiking and winter sports.

Zao Fox Village Japan

Zao Fox Village

For fox sake.

sendai-tanabata festival

Sendai Tanabata Festival

Reunited lovers at Japan’s most iconic Tanabata celebration.


Sittin' pretty on the borders of Yamagata and Miyagi.

Miyagikyo Nikka Whisky Distillery

Come for the factory tour and stay for the free whisky tasting.

Tsukasa Beef Tongue Restaurant

Best tongue in town.

Tashirojima (Cat Island)

Tashirojima (Cat Island)

For friends of felines.

Ishinomori Manga Museum

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


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

Date Masamune in Sendai Miyagi Japan


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

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


Poetry in ocean.

Other Destinations in Tohoku


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