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 the remote northeastern Tohoku region which makes it a great base for exploring the surrounding, less accessible prefectures. Colorful Sendai is the prefectural capital—its tree-lined avenues are packed with lots of great shops and restaurants. Friendly locals are always happy to strike up a conversation with an unfamiliar face.

Sendai Japan Cityscape

Sendai is Miyagi’s colorful capital.

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 definitive dish – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Tanabata Festival Sendai, Miyagi

Photo by: Verena G. Sendai’s Tanabata Festival is a colorful display that’s popular amongst foreign travelers.

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 a while 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 monument is Masamune’s mausoleum which is ornately decorated with bright 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 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.

Whisky anyone?

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.


Whisky anyone?

While you’re in Miyagi Prefecture stop at the Nikka Whisky Distillery for a factory tour and free whisky tasting. Just try not to drink too much.


Places to visit

autumn colors of Naruko Gorge in Japan and nice blue and cloud background

Naruko Onsen

An abundance of 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

Godzilla Rock Oga, Akita Japan


The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it. Watch out for Godzilla though.

Tsurunomaihashi Bridge in Aomori Prefecture.


The northern tip of Tohoku and the boundary between the known and unknown Japan.

Ouchijuku in Fukushima, Japan.


Don't miss out on this boundless, breathtaking natural landscape.

Genbikei Gorge


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.

Yamadera Temple in Yamagata is a good hiking and autumn spot in Japan.


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

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


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.