AreaMatsushima Bay

AreaMt. Zao

AreaNorthern Miyagi

AreaSendai

Seasonal Experiences in Miyagi

季節体験 | Seasonal experiences

Seven seasonal events for couples, families, or friends

Photo by Yu-an Wang

Photo by Yu-an Wang

Photo by Mizuhi Horii

Photo by Miyagi Prefecture

  • Miyagi has an attractive climate with four distinct seasons. The year-round temperatures are moderate, with neither the summer heat nor the winter cold too extreme. The topography of Miyagi, which is mountainous in the west and flatter in the east, allows the sea breeze from the Pacific Ocean to blow in during the summer and blocks the cold monsoon in the winter. These features make Tohoku’s summer and winter milder than other parts of the Tohoku region. With such a pleasant climate, Miyagi has developed a number of attractive seasonal activities. The following is a list of seven unique experiences to be enjoyed in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Spring

1. Cherry blossom viewing at Hitome Senbon Zakura

When it comes to spring events in Japan, many people first imagine lively scenes of people having drinks and enjoying themselves under the blossoming cherry trees. Hitome Senbon Zakura is one of many cherry blossom viewing spots in Miyagi and it has been selected as one of the “Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Japan”.

Tohoku Sightseeing Organization

In Japanese, Hitome Senbon Zakura means “one thousand cherry trees at a glance”. Over 1,000 cherry trees stretch for about 8 kilometers along the banks of the Shiroishi River in the southern part of Miyagi Prefecture, connecting the towns of Ogawara and Shibata and making for a magnificent sight. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, a cherry blossom festival is held along the riverbank. In addition to concerts and various entertainment events, there are stalls selling a variety of festival foods. What could be more enjoyable than to sit under the cherry blossom trees with your beloved partner, friends, or family, enjoying the scenery and chatting while enjoying a beer and some yakitori?

Jack Morrison

In addition to the views from the riverbank, you can also enjoy the sight of cherry blossoms from the water by taking a ride on a yakatabune boat during the cherry blossom festival. You can also climb up to Funaoka Castle Park on the hill to get a bird’s eye view of the endless cherry blossoms on both sides of the Shiroishi River.

 

(*The Ogawara Cherry Blossom Festival in 2020 and 2021 have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about future events, please check the Ogawara-machi Tourism and Products Association’s website.)

Jack Morrison

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Summer

2. Experience SUP at Matsushima Bay

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a water sport that originated in Hawaii. As the name implies, the sport involves standing on a surfboard and maneuvering with a paddle. In fact, there are many places in Miyagi where you can experience SUP, and Matsushima Bay is one of them. Many people who come to Matsushima prefer to take a cruise to enjoy the scenery of the islands in the bay, famous as one of the Three Views of Japan. The SUP experience, however, allows one to enjoy the beauty of the island rocks, pine trees, and their reflections on the water up close. There are many local tour groups that offer SUP tours, such as Yayu and Hannah Firm, and you can book them on their official websites. If you have the chance to visit Miyagi in summer, try cooling down with this exciting water activity.

Carlsbad

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3. Enjoy the Sendai Tanabata Festival in a yukata

The Sendai Tanabata Festival, held from August 6 to 8 every year, is the largest Tanabata celebration in Japan. The festival is known as one of the Three Great Festivals of Tohoku, along with Akita’s Kanto Festival and Aomori’s Nebuta Festival. During the festival, the city center is decorated with colorful giant tassel hangings that are hung in the shopping streets of Sendai. Summer festivals in Japan are best enjoyed wearing a yukata! Make a reservation online and kimono rental stores such as Ume Luv will be happy to provide you with elegant yukata and professional dressing services. Wear a summer yukata with your friends and take some beautiful photos under the gorgeous tassel hangings to make your summer a memorable one!

Tohoku Sightseeing Organization

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Autumn

4. Enjoy jazz music in downtown Sendai

The Jozenji Streetjazz Festival, held in every September in downtown Sendai, is a large-scale music festival with a 30-year history. During the festival, several parks and streets in the city are used as concert venues, where hundreds of pre-screened jazz bands perform and immerse the city in beautiful music. In addition to the music, vendors near the venues sell a variety of drinks and foods. Grab your beer, sway to the tunes with the crowd, and chill out in the lush greenery of this forest city.

 

(*The Jozenji Streetjazz Festival in 2020 and 2021 have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about future events and food & beverage policy, please check the festival’s website.)

Miyagi Prefecture

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5. Enjoy the famous mid-autumn moon in Matsushima

Matsushima is well known as one of the Three Views of Japan, but did you know that Matsushima Bay is even more beautiful under the full moon? Especially during mid-autumn, when the night sky is clear, the bright moonlight shimmering on the sea resembles a silver walkway to the end of the sea. There are many places in the Matsushima area where you can enjoy such a stunning view of the full moon, such as Kanrantei, Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park, and the charming open-air bath Asahimi no Yu of Matsushima Onsen Hotel Komatsukan where guests can overlook the bay.

Roger Smith

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6. Head to Naruko for autumn colors and onsen hot springs

There are many destinations for enjoying the autumn foliage in Miyagi, and Naruko Gorge is one of the most famous. The gorge is in the Naruko area in the northwestern part of Miyagi Prefecture. Naruko’s best views can usually be enjoyed every year from mid-October to early November, when the entire winding gorge is filled with colors. After seeing the foliage, don’t forget to stop by the nearby Naruko Onsen to enjoy the healing effects of the hot springs. Out the ten types of hot spring water categorized by the Japan Spa Association based on their chemical composition, Naruko Onsen boasts a whopping eight, and there are more than 400 natural hot springs in the area. Take your family to enjoy autumn colors, healing onsen hot springs, and specialty late-autumn dishes prepared by the local hotels. You are sure to find abundant joys to appreciate.

Xander McGrouther

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Winter

7. Snowshoeing at Miyagi Zao Sumikawa Snow Park

The Tohoku region is home to snowy winters, so winter sports are very popular here. If you have an opportunity to visit Tohoku in winter, it would be a pity not to experience these sports. In Miyagi, besides the typical snowboarding and skiing, there is another kind of snow sport that people without skiing experience can easily experience—snowshoeing. Hike on snowy mountain with special snowshoes and experience fun that is unique from skiing.

Yu-an Wang

Miyagi Zao Sumikawa Snow Park is one great place to go snowshoeing. M’s Guide, a winter mountain guide service in Sumikawa Snow Park, provides all equipment rental services. Simply make a reservation online and don’t worry about bringing any gear. Each tour will start with a careful explanation of how to use the equipment and everything you need to know before the experience. You’ll then take a chairlift ride towards the top of Mt. Zao and begin a slow walk down the mountain, which takes about 2 to 3 hours. Your experienced guide will lead you through snowy forests and bushes to see the frozen nature up close. If you are lucky, you may even see wildlife such as rabbits!

M's Guide

If you have ski or snowboard experience, you can also rent equipment from M’s Guide. The snow here is scattered by the coniferous forest and is so powdery that it makes for runs so smooth that it may sometimes feel as if you’ve stopped moving! Give it a try!

M's Guide

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