Roots of Japan

Miyagi

Home to Matsushima, ranked one of the three most scenic views in Japan, Miyagi attracts many tourists in search of breathtaking scenery.Miyagi is also the place to enjoy oysters and Gyutan (beef tongue)!Miyagi is easily accessed by either Shinkansen (bullet train) or via Sendai Airport.Another cheaper option would be to take a highway express bus from Tokyo.
Today let's highlight the many attractive features of Miyagi!

Miyagi has an approximate area of 7,282㎢ and an estimated population of 2.31 million people.This is the largest population in the Tohoku region.Miyagi also has a high percentage of post-secondary students.This is likely due to the presence of Tohoku University and many technical colleges.Miyagi is known for getting less snow than other parts of the Tohoku region, due to its Pacific Ocean climate.However, the western mountains have typical characteristics of the climate along the Sea of Japan. This means the area gets heavy snowfall and visitors are advised to be cautious.In summer, the heat doesn’t linger very long and it's considered a comfortable climate.Perhaps Miyagi’s most well-known city is Sendai.
It is possible that you may be more familiar with Sendai, rather than Miyagi, due to around 47% of Miyagi residents living in Sendai city and also the long and famous history of the Sendai clan.So, let’s focus on some of the tourist spots around Sendai city.

1/ Sendai Castle Ruins 2/ Sendai Astronomical Observatory
3/ Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium 4/ Sendai Kaleidoscopes Art Museum
5/ Sendai Anpanman Children's Museum & Mall 6/ Sendai Mediatheque
7/ Yagiyama Zoological Park 8/ Akiu Otaki Falls
9/ Tsutsujigaoka Tenman-gu Shrine 10/ Rinnoji Temple

There are, of course, many more tourist spots in Sendai city than the 10 we’ve listed here.
If you are traveling with small children, you will not want to miss Sendai Anpanman Children's Museum & Mall.Many tourists from outside Miyagi prefecture visit Sendai City just for this purpose!Also popular is the Sendai Kaleidoscopes Art Museum where you can immerse yourself in the beautiful world of the kaleidoscope.Visitors can even make their own kaleidoscopes.Children and adults alike will enjoy making an original kaleidoscope which they can take home with them as a souvenir.
Let’s now have a look at some other attractions outside of Sendai city.There are all kinds of things to enjoy, including Matsushima, called one of Japan's three most scenic views.

1/ Matsushima 2/ Mount Zao / Okama Crater
3/ Zao Heartland 4/ Zao Fox Village
5/ Tashiro Island 6/ Naruko Gorge
7/ Ogama-Hanzo Rocks 8/ Michinoku Park
9/ Mount Kinka 10/ Dairiseki Coast

Outside of Sendai city, you will notice popular tourist spots are places to enjoy nature.
Michinoku Park has a large collection of flower varieties which bloom during different seasons.You will enjoy the tulips and pansies in spring, and marigolds and salvias in summer.
As the seasons change so does the appearance of the park, so there is something to look forward to every time you visit!There is also a campground, great for those who like to experience the outdoors.

Now, let’s have a look at some places where you can enjoy Miyagi’s cherry blossom season.
Perhaps you might like to add some of these places to your itinerary?Of course, you will find cherry blossoms in April, but some spots even have blossoms until early May!

1/ Tsutsujigaoka Park 2/ Hiyoriyama Park
3/ Mount Kinka off the Oshika Peninsula 4/ Funaoka Castle Ruins Park
5/ Saigyo-Modoshi-no-Matsu Park

Funaoka Castle Ruins Park is the only place in Miyagi that has been designated as one of the top 100 places to see cherry blossoms in Japan. People come from all over Japan to see over 1,300 cherry trees blossom!A slope car (monorail) goes through a spectacular tunnel of cherry blossoms and continues up to the top of the mountain.If you visit Miyagi in spring, you will be sure to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms!Miyagi also has a number of exciting festivals.It might be fun to time your visit with one of these events!
Here are some of the festivals:

1/ Sendai Tanabata Matsuri 2/ Matsushima Oyster Festival
3/ Sanuma Summer Festival 4/ National Kokeshi Festival
5/Kesennuma Minato Festival

Festivals in Miyagi are not only held in summer.For example, in Matsushima, one of the Japan's three most scenic views, the Kaki (oyster) festival is held every year in February.
Indulge yourself with freshly caught Matsushima oysters!Enjoy irresistible treats such as grilled or deep-fried oysters, oyster soup and oyster rice.Make sure you visit on an empty stomach!Since we are talking about famous Miyagi festivals, we can’t forget about the Sendai Tanabata Festival.It is a wonderful sight to see the colorful Tanabata decorations as you take a walk through the city.

Miyagi is known for being one of the major rice-producing centers in Japan.Perhaps you have heard of the famous brands of rice, "Sasanishiki" and "Hitomebore"?Along with delicious rice, try out the local cuisine!

1/ Sasa Kamaboko (Fish Cake)
2/ Hattojiru (Dumpling soup)
3/ Zundamochi (rice cakes with a sweet green soybean paste)
4/ Gyutan curry (Beef tongue curry)
5/ Ishimaki Yakisoba (stir-fried buckwheat noodles)

Fresh oysters and beef tongue are some of Miyagi’s famous specialties.You will definitely want to give them a try!Hattojiru is likely a dish you have never heard of before.Hattojiru is made from kneaded and stretched dough which is cooked in a soy sauce base soup.Lots of vegetables are added too.It has a lovely mild flavor of Japanese home cooking.You will enjoy the texture of this dish!Miyagi is home to many fishing ports so it is a great area to try fresh seafood.Here are some of the most popular souvenirs from Miyagi, some of which were also on the list of local cuisine.They would make great souvenirs for family and friends and you will probably want to buy some for yourself too!

1/ Gyutan (Beef tongue) 2/ Zundamochi (rice cakes with a sweet green soybean paste)
3/ Sasa Kamaboko (fish cake) 4/ Yubeshi (sweet rice cake)
5/ Zao natural cheese

We might first think of sweets when buying souvenirs but Gyutan (beef tongue) and Sasa kamaboko (fish cake) make good souvenirs too.As a snack or served as nibbles with a drink, Sasa kamaboko is a versatile souvenir.There is also a whole range of products made from Sendai’s specialty, Gyutan.A filling snack that would be a great souvenir for your family.
Because Miyagi has so many popular tourist spots and festivals, it is hard to decide which season to visit.So why not come more than once during different seasons!Try out Miyagi’s local cuisine!You can buy Gyutan, Sasa Kamaboko, Zundamochi etc. as souvenirs, so if you find one you like, take some home with you as a reminder of your time in beautiful Miyagi.

It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.