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Japan Regional Information

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Miyagi

Matsushima, known as one of the three most beautiful sites in Japan - Tanabata-matsuri Festival in Sendai, crowded with more than 2 million spectators
Miyagi Prefecture is situated in the northwestern part of Japan, facing the Pacific Ocean. With the capital of Sendai City in the center, to the south is Abukuma-gawa River, and to the east, Kitagami-gawa River. On the coastal side are intricate shores on the north and moderate beaches from Matsushima on the south. Along the western inland is a stretch of 1,000 meter-high mountains represented by Zao. Miyagi, with these typical geographical characteristics, has much to attract visitors. They include, but not limited to, Matsushima, known as one of the three most beautiful sites of Japan, Zao with rich natural environment, and a saw-toothed coast in the Minami Sanriku Kinkazan Quasi-National Park that leads to Rikuchu-kaigan Coast.

Throughout the prefecture are natural hot springs like Akiu-onsen, Sakunami-onsen and Naruko-onsen. You can go around the famous hot spring and feel the atmosphere and emotions of people that have been carried down for generations. Also, in the castle city of Sendai, there are historical sites such as the site of Sendai Castle and Rin'no-ji Temple Garden. Every year, during the beginning of August when Tanabata-matsuri Festival is held, the City hosts more than two million spectators.

Getting there
Two hours from Tokyo Station to Sendai Station by JR Tohoku Shinkansen.Line. An hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport to Sendai Airport. Forty minutes from Sendai Airport to Sendai Station by bus.
 

  • Akiu-onsen Hot Spring
    Modern hotels in the middle of greenery - a place to relax surrounded by nature
    Akiu-onsen Hot Spring is in the center of Miyagi and has prospered along the banks of the Natori-gawa River, which flows from Sendai Bay into the Pacific Ocean. It is an old hot spring whose origin is in the 6th century. Though Akiu is near the center of Sendai, over 90 percent of the town consists of mountain and forest. There are modern hotels in the middle of the greenery, giving it a quiet appearance.

    Along Natori-gawa River, there are many beautiful spots, from Rairai-kyo Valley with its mysterious, eye-catching crags, to Akiu-o-taki Falls and Futakuchi Valley. Rairai-kyo Valley is near the entrance of Akiu-onsen Hot Spring, and is beautiful in the green of spring and when the leaves are tinted by autumn. But in winter, when snow piles up on the five waterfalls and rocks, the scene is like an India ink painting. Akiu-o-taki Falls is 55 meters high, and if you go down the walkway to its basin and look up, you can feel its vast scale. The great sound and the spray have become symbols of Akiu-onsen Hot Spring.

    If you walk 15 minutes from the Akiu-onsen-Yumoto bus stop, you will come to the vast natural forest of Tenshukaku-Shizen-koen (Nature Park), where you can take a walk looking at mountain streams. This is a place where the townspeople relax, and there are facilities like Shinrin Sports-koen (park) and a golf course.

    Getting there
    Sendai Station is 2 hours from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Take the Miyagi Kotsu bus for Akiu-onsen, which reaches Akiu-onsen-Yumoto in 50 minutes.

     

  • Kesen'numa
    The entrance to Rikuchu-kaigan Coast National Park - a saw-toothed coastline full of inlets and promontories
    Kesen'numa is at the most northeastern point of Miyagi. It is the southern entrance to Rikuchu-kaigan National Park, which stretches down from the Pacific coast of Iwate to the north. The saw-toothed coastline is full of inlets and promontories, which form natural ports. The splendor of the coastline as a whole has made it known as Miyagi's top of beautiful spot.

    In Iwai-zaki Point there are rocks that have been worn away over the years by rough waves. Waves crash against the rocks here, producing spray from between the gaps. This scene of seawater being blown against rocks has been designated a natural monument. The height of the seawater that splashes up often reaches over 10 meters, and the dynamism gets full marks for intensity. O-shima Island in Kesen'numa Bay is a small island just 22 km in circumference, but from its 235 m high Mt. Kameyama you can see a magnificent view of the Rikuchu-kaigan Coast, as well as Kingazan Islet.

    Kesen'numa is also one of the big fishing ports along the Sanriku Coast, and all sorts of fish are brought in there, including bonito, tuna, Pacific saury and scallops. There are also farms that cultivate oysters and seaweed. Because of this. You will therefore find restaurants serving fresh seafood wherever you go in the town.

    Getting there
    Ichinoseki Station is 2 hours 45 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. From Ichinoseki Station, it takes 1 hour 35 minutes to get to Kesen'numa Station on the JR Ofunato Line.

     

  • Kinkazan Islet
    A small island floating above the Pacific Ocean, from where you can see the city of Sendai and the Kurikoma Mountain Range
    Kinkazan is an islet about 60 km east of Sendai and 1 km to the southeast of Oshika-hanto Peninsula. It floats above the Pacific Ocean, and is only about 26 km in circumference. The highest point on the island is about 445 meters above sea level. From it, you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Pacific Ocean, Sendai the City of Trees, and the Kurikoma Mountain Range in the north of Miyagi.

    There are several walking courses on the island, including an undulating course round the island and a course to the island's summit. The climate is warm, and wild deer and monkeys live on the island. Hiking these courses enables you to fully enjoy the island's nature.

    Also on the island is Koganeyama Shrine, which was built in the 8th century. Its guardian god, the god of good fortune, has been attracting worshippers for many years. This shrine forms the starting point for the hiking course to the top of the mountain, and people in the shrine office will give you an advice on how to enjoy the course. There is also a hotel attached to the shrine where you can spend the night. From its large communal bath, you can enjoy the view of Oshika-hanto Peninsula.

    Getting there
    Sendai Station is 2 hours from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. From Sendai Station, it takes 1 hour to get to Ishinomaki Station on the JR Senseki Line. Onagawa Station is 36 minutes from Ishinomaki Station on the Ishinomaki Line. Take a ferry boat to Kinkazan from Onagawa-ko Port for 30 minutes. There is no transport facilities on the island.

     

  • Matsushima
    Over 260 islands floating on calm Matsushima Bay and Zuigan-ji Temple, representing the Japanese style of architecture of the 17th century
    Matsushima is the general name for a group of some 260 islands, large and small, that are scattered in the coastal part of Matsushima Bay. The view of Matsushima changes from place-to-place and from-season-to-season, and is so beautiful that it is considered one of the three most beautiful sites in Japan.

    In calm Matsushima Bay, dotted with small islands with black and red pines on grayish white rocks, the views from the four islands of Ogi-ga-tani, Tomi-yama, Otaka-mori, and Tamon-zan are said to be the four grandest views in Matsushima Island. Matsushima is noted as a place to enjoy the variety of different scenery of the islands, and is frequented by visitors all the year round. Zuigan-ji Temple that stands facing Matsushima Bay is a Zen temple erected in 828. The present building was constructed in five years by Date Masamune, who reigned over this district in 1604, and is designated as a national treasure. The building is highly valued as one that represents the architectural style of Japan in that period.

    Getting there
    Two hours to Sendai Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 4 hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station with a change at Tokyo Station, by JR Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Twenty minutes to Matsushima-kaigan Station from Sendai Station by JR Senseki Line.

     

  • Naruko Hot Spring
    A giant ravine formed by torrents and a hot spring with plentiful waters containing all sorts of minerals
    Naruko Hot Spring is in the northwest of Miyagi, and consists of Naruko Hatto Hot Springs and the neighboring Shin-yu Hot Springs. It has been a hot spring town for over 1,000 years. Out of all the springs in the spa, Naruko Hot Spring is especially well known for its fine waters. Its waters are plentiful and contain all sorts of different mineral: sulfur, which relieves hardened arteries and high blood pressure and leaves the skin feeling smooth, and alkaline that helps remedy skin diseases.

    Naruko Valley is a large ravine formed by Ohya-gawa River, a tributary of the Eai-gawa River that flows through Naruko Hot Spring. The river's torrents have formed fantastically shaped rocks and sheer cliffs. Nearby is Lake Kata-numa, a crater lake which changes color according to the sunlight and presents a stunning view when the leaves turn golden and orange in autumn. In winter, Naruko Ski Resort is busy with people enjoying winter sports.

    Naruko Hot Spring is also the place of origin of the traditional Kokeshi doll, a simple wooden doll, and is also the production center for Naruko lacquer ware, which dates back for 350 years. Nihon Kokeshi-kan(Japan Kokeshi Center Museum) displays about 7,000 Kokeshi dolls, which are notable for their elegant features and bright colors. Naruko lacquer ware shops sell a wide variety of lacquer-painted goods, from affordable items such as traditional eating utensils and modern-looking coffee cups, to high-class lacquer ware.

    Getting there
    Furukawa Station is 2 hours 15 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Naruko Onsen Station is 55 minutes from Furukawa Station on the JR Rikuu-to Line.

     

  • Rikuchu-kaigan Coast
    Rikuchu-kaigan Coast, dynamic northern area, moderate central area and southern area with saw-toothed coast
    The Rikuchu-kaigan Coast in the east of Iwate is a shoreline with a variety of scenic beauty along the Pacific Ocean between Kuji and Kesen'numa in Miyagi, and is a part of the Rikuchu Kaigan National Park. The northern part exhibits spectacular views of keen-cut cliffs and a row of oddly shaped rocks. It is characterized by the dynamic Kitayama-saki Point with cliffs that rise sheer from the surf, Unosu Cliff where columns of 200-meter tall precipices layer with one another.

    The center of the coastline offers moderate scenery with many picturesque beauties. Jodogahama Beach gives a beautiful contrast between long, white beaches and precipitous oddly shaped rocks as well as fresh green pine trees. On Namiita-kaigan Beach, rough grains of sand absorb incoming waves and outgoing waves vanish. Miyako, your starting point to tour through the scenic beauties of the coastline, is a port town where abundant seafood is hauled in, and there are numerous eating houses where you can enjoy fresh shrimps, sea urchins, crabs, etc.

    The southern coastline is an irregular saw-toothed coast. It has Goishi-kaigan Beach with a row of oddly shaped rocks and grottos, Takada-Matsubara with white sand beaches, Hanzo with entangled rows of marble rocks carved into unique shapes by sea erosion and Ogama with a keen rock pillar, that stretches from them, and many other scenic spots. Rikuzen-Takada and Ofunato are also famous fishing ports where you can enjoy fresh seafood.

    Getting there
    Take JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line for 2 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station, transfer to a Rapid Train of JR Yamada Line for 2 hours from Morioka Station to Miyako Station, transfer to Sanriku Tetsudo Kita-Rias Line for 18 minutes to Taro Station or 1 hour 41 minutes to Kuji Station.

     

  • Sendai
    A castle town called "The City of Trees" Tanabata-matsuri Festival thronged with over 2 million spectators
    Sendai City, situated in the center of Miyagi Prefecture, is the largest city in the Tohoku region(the northeastern region) and has prospered as the capital of the Dates' fief since Date Masamune reigned over this district and built the Aoba Castle at the beginning of the 17th century. Now, the neighborhood of Mt. Aoba, where you can find the ruins of the Aoba Castle, has been transformed into a park for the people of the city to rest and relax.

    The street lined with rows of zelkova trees which extends westward from JR Sendai Station, is Aoba-dori Street, the main street of Sendai, which is known as "The City of Trees". The Christmas illumination spectacular, not to mention the beauty of fresh verdure in spring and scarlet-tinged leaves in autumn. Ichiban-dori Street, which crosses Chuo-dori Street, running parallel to Aoba-dori Street is a shopping area with a local market and many stores lining the side streets. In addition, some 4,000 fancy restaurants are clustered around Kokubun-ji Temple, located on the west side of Ichiban-dori Street.

    The Tanabata-matsuri Festival held in summer in Sendai is considered one of the four greatest festivals in the Tohoku region, and is crowded with over 2 million spectators every year. The Tanabata-matsuri Festival is based on the Chinese seventh of July legend in which the Kengyu(a cowherd), the star Altair and the Orihime(a weaver), the star Vega appear on either side of the Milky Way and the cross the bridge of magpie's wings to the Milky Way to meet once a year.

    Getting there
    Two hours to Sendai Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 4 hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station with a change at Tokyo Station, by JR Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen Line.

     

  • Zao
    Winter sports paradise where you can enjoy the spectacular sight of a cluster of ice-covered trees
    Zao, on the Yamagata-Miyagi prefectural border, is a mountain park centering around the Zao mountain range. You can enjoy the beauty of the nature when you visit the mysterious Okama crater lake which is also called Goshiki-numa(five-color marsh) since its water color changes several times in a day, and Zao Shizen-shokubutsu-en(botanical gardens), a treasure house of alpine plants. Aboard the ropeway car, you can get a bird's eye view of the whole of the Yamagata Basin. You can also enjoy a night view and a starry sky from the lodge or inns.

    If you prefer outdoor sports in the seasons from fresh green of spring to the scarlet-tinged leaves of autumn, you can enjoy camping and trekking, have a horse-riding lessons at the International Horse Riding Club at the foot of the mountain, and take on paragliding at Bo-daira. In winter, Zao turns into a mecca for winter sports such as skiing and snow-boarding. Skiing while admiring a cluster of ice-covered trees or needle-leaf trees on which water drops and snow are solidified, is particularly exhilarating.

    If you prefer staying indoors, Zao-onsen Hot Spring at the mouth of Zao National Park is recommended. It has been well known for long time as the best hot spring where you can enjoy an open-air bath and sample the public hot baths, such as the large open-air bath that can accommodate 200 people at a time. As for eating, you can taste a Mongolian barbecue, a pheasant meat Shinzan-nabe dish, a char dish, and boiled potatoes. If you are interested in Japanese handicrafts, you had better visit Miyagi-Zao Kokeshi-Kan where you can try out painting on a traditional Kokeshi doll, a simple wooden doll.

    Getting there
    Two hours 48 minutes to Yamagata Station from Tokyo Station by JR Yamagata Shinkansen Line, and 5 hours 13 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station, with a change at Tokyo Station, by JR Tokaido and Yamagata Shinkansen Line. Fifty-five minutes to Zao-onsen from Yamagata Station by bus.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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