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.
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
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 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!