Introduction and places to visit in Miyagi
Miyagi is a prefecture on the coast of Pacific Ocean, and has been widely recognized as the most developed and urbanized prefecture in Tohoku region. Although many people consider it as a huge, busy area, there are actually a number of tourist attractions which offer refreshing experience surrounded by nature, not the overwhelming business buildings! In this article, we will introduce places to visit in Miyagi!
1. Sendai City
Before we take a close look at some specific tourist spots in Miyagi, let us introduce the symbolic city called “Sendai”, a prefectural capital of Miyagi. It is the largest city in Tohoku region with over one million population! Since it has a role as a public transportation’s hub including the bullet train station, this is probably the starting point for many tourists. It used to be a big, powerful clan ruled by a famous feudal lord Date Masamune, and retained its power from the Sengoku era through the Edo era over centuries.
It also has a unique nickname “Forest City”, as there are several spots where you can closely feel nature within the urban area. Hirose River is an iconic river running through the center of Sendai, whereas Aobayama Park, which is located on the site of the old Sendai castle, is loved and visited by local people and tourists!
【Sendai Official Tourism Website】
2. Zuihoden Temple
Zuihoden Temple is a mausoleum complex which is dedicated to Date Masamune, the first feudal lord of Sendai clan, and his heirs. It was established after his death according to his will in 1637 by his second son Date Tadamune. It is located in the heart of the city, in the park called Kyougamine Park which is about 2.5 km away from Sendai station. Unfortunately, the original buildings were destroyed by fire during the World War Ⅱ, but later restored.
As you can see in the picture, the luxurious and gorgeous architectural style painted with the vivid colors is visually attractive and worth visiting several times!
The impressive design is based on the Momoyama culture, which developed and flourished around that time. There are also several historical structures within the complex, and it is enjoyable to walk around and compare each of them while surrounded by refreshing atmosphere in the large park!
【Zuihoden Temple Official Website】
Admission Fee 440 yen/Adult
February 1- November 30 9am-4:50pm
December 1-January 31 9am-4:20pm
Close December 31
Matsushima refers to the cluster of a number of islands floating on the Matsushima Port. It is said that there are around 260 islands, making up an amazing view!
Each of them fascinates visitors with respective characteristics and unique figures. It is ranked among the three most scenic spots in Japan, and officially designated as a National Scenic Beauty.
The beauty has been enchanting people through its long history, and a famous Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, who lived in the Edo era, was among them. As he was deeply impressed by the stunning view, he wrote a Haiku, a short form of Japanese poetry consisting of 17 syllables, which later became one of the most famous poetry ever!
Matsushima Sightseeing cruise which provides an amazing experience is also available. Seeing the island closely from the water while on the comfortable cruise ship is a completely different experience from enjoying them from a distance! There are several companies offering a cruising tour, and the fare and the duration of each tour differ depending on the company.
【Matsushima Tourism Association Official Website】
4. Godaido Temple
Godaido Temple was originally founded in 807 and is now administrated by Zuiganji Temple, a Rinzai Sect Buddhist temple which dates back to 828. Zuiganji Temple is one of the most important Zen temples in the Tohoku region, and the main hall called Hondo is designated as a National Treasure.
Godaido Temple is located in one of the Matsushima islands, and it is accessible by walking across two symbolic, red wooden bridges connecting the island to the main land. It is thrilling to walk across the bridges as you can see the ocean beneath through the wooden structure! The current building was rebuilt by Date Masamune, and it still conveys the notable beauty of the Momoyama Culture. It houses five Buddhist statues that represent the five great kings, which explains why the temple has Go (means five in Japanese) in its name.
【Zuiganji Temple (including Godaido Temple) Official Website】
(※English Brochure is also available)
Admission Fee 700 yen/Adult
5. Zao Fox Village
Zao Fox Village is a unique theme park situated at the foot of the Mount Zao. There are about 100 foxes kept in a designated area which maintains a similar environment to the wild. When you take a close look, you can easily notice several differences in each of them, the colors, sizes, and more!
It is strongly required for all the visitors to follow the strict rules in order to prevent accidents and enjoy admiring them safely. For example, you are allowed to feed them from a designated building by throwing the food to them, but don’t reach out to them directly as they occasionally bite anyone who gets too close.
Make sure to keep a safe distance from them, and not to drop your belongings as they will be never returned!
If you pay extra money, you can hold an adorable fox baby! They are fluffy and it is undoubtedly the most popular event especially among kids! This event is held all year round, and the best season is spring as they usually give birth from late March through May!
【Zao Fox Village Official Website】
Admission Fee 1,000 yen/Adult
March 16-November 30 9am-5pm
December 1-March 15 9am-4pm
6. Akiu Great Falls
Akiu Great Falls is a waterfall which occasionally ranked among the three biggest waterfalls in Japan along with Nachi Falls in Wakayama and Kegon Falls in Tochigi (not officially recognized). It is 6 meters wide and the water falls 55 meters straight down to the basin, which makes the stunning view!
It is also selected as one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan. There is a trail leading down to the bottom of the falls where you can enjoy the awesome view more closely.
It is enjoyable throughout year, and it fells cool around the waterfalls even in summer because of the splash and negative ions coming from the waterfalls!
On your way back to the center of Sendai from Akiu Great Falls, why don’t you stop by at Akiu Village to get some rest? It is a complex facility which is similar to rest stops, where you can park your car and rest for a while in order to get rid of the fatigue.
It consists of some areas including a flower garden, park for kids, restaurants, and a relaxing cafe! You can also get fresh, local vegetables sold at the farmers market. It is about a 20-minute drive from Akiu Great Fall.
【Akiu Village Official Website】
Don’t forget to check out our private tour!
If you need some help to organize your trip to Miyagi, you should definitely check out our private tour including English guide. We’re glad to help you make your trip to Miyagi a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!
【1. Sendai & Matsushima 1–Day Highlight Private Walking Tour (7 Hours)】
We offer a special tour which inclusively focuses on tourist attractions in Sendai and Matsushima area. The itinerary is flexible and we are happy to customize it based on your interest and requests!
【2. Fukushima Disaster Area Day Tour from Tokyo (Within 20 km of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant)】
Fukushima is another prefecture located in the Tohoku region, and it also shares the border with Miyagi. We offer a special tour in Fukushima Disaster Area where you can learn about the disastrous earthquake which hit the area and caused a serious damage in 2011. It will be a memorable and worthwhile experience to stay in both cities!
Where to stay in Miyagi
- Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East —Directly connected to Sendai Station, breakfast buffet using local ingredients at the on-site restaurant
- Hotel Monterey Sendai —Located in the central part of Sendai, only 3 minutes walk from the station, clean and comfortable rooms
- Hotel Vista Sendai —Located 4 minutes away from the station, stylish and clean modern rooms, good breakfast and public bath
In Miyagi, there are a number of historical spots which represent the artificial beauty and its long history. On the other hand, the abundant nature plays a key role to make the entire city more attractive as a trip destination. This is exactly where you can immerse yourself in both aspects deeply and simultaneously!
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