Exploring Miyagi Prefecture’s Top Attractions In The Sothern Tohoku Region

Miyagi prefecture is found on the pacific coast of the Tohoku region of Japan. The beautiful landscapes and interesting cultural sites make it worth a visit if you are heading to Japan and want to escape the big city and experience nature in its purest form.

In this article, we will take you through the top things to see and do while you are visiting the Miyagi Prefecture to help you ensure that you do not miss out on some of the best sites that the region has to offer.

About the Miyagi Prefecture

The Miyagi Prefecture is located on the pacific coast and its biggest city in Sendai. However, some of the best parts of this prefecture are not restricted to the city.

The popular coastal town, located just outside of Sendai called Matsushima, is home to one of the top three most beautiful views in Japan, making it well worth a visit.

Unfortunately, the Miyagi Prefecture was greatly impacted by the 2011 tsunami that was widely covered in the news and still is well known as one of Japan’s greatest natural disasters. 

Zao Mountain in the background along the bank of Shiroishi river in Funaoka Castle Ruin Park, Sendai, Miyagi prefecture

The Miyagi Prefecture has the Yamagata Prefecture to the west and the Fukushima Prefecture to the south, making it a great place to stay if you want to see more of Japan than just Tokyo

Miyagi prefecture is an important prefecture for Japan, even though it is only the 16th largest, as it is home to a lot of manufacturing for both industrial and agricultural firms as well as for electronics.

Regarding the more rural aspect of the Miyagi Prefecture, fishing and rice farming are both a big part of life here.

In comparison to many of the other nearby prefectures, the Miyagi prefecture has a much milder climate, with much more manageable summers.

So, what is there to see and do in Miyagi Prefecture?

There is something for everyone in Miyagi Prefecture, no matter if you like to rest and relax or explore each moment you are there, whether you prefer to be in the heart of the city or in the countryside.  The Prefecture features an official website below

Miyagi Prefecture Official Website

Visit The City Of Sendai

No trip to Miyagi Prefecture would be complete without a visit to the hustling and bustling city of Sendai. Sendai is the largest city in the Tohoku region with more than one million inhabitants. In fact, it is vastly bigger than any of the other fifteen cities in the Miyagi prefecture.

Sendai City Official Website

Founded in the 1600s by Date Masamune the city has a lot of attractions and tourist spots regarding this powerful feudal family. 

Because Sendai is such a vast city there are a lot of things to see and do. However, your first point of exploration should definitely be the Zuihoden mausoleum, which is dedicated to Date Masamune and his family.

Zuihoden Mausoleum And Templ Location Via Google Maps

His son and grandson are also buried in nearby mausoleums but this is by far the grandest and most ornate.

The shrine is incredibly painted and beautifully decorated according to the style of the Momoyama period.

The detailed woodworking and use of bright colors make the shrine amazing to behold and give the area a much more uplifting feel than you might expect for a mausoleum.

Zuihoden Mausoleum Official Website

Next door there is also a museum that houses artifacts and relics from the family and that time period, giving you a much more insightful look into the history of Sendai.

If you are planning on visiting the Miyagi Prefecture in the summer months then consider heading to Sendai to see the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri festival.

This festival is characterized by its brightly-colored decorations and is held on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of August every year. 

The festival is also known as the “star festival”. The city becomes shrouded in thousands of beautifully colored streamers that line the shopping centers and busy streets.

The streamers are anywhere from 7 to 15 feet long, making them a spectacle to see.

The purpose of these decorations is to ward off the bad and bring in the good. Like a lot of other Japanese holiday decorations that have auspicious meanings and there are also a number of other, more specific decorations such as purses for good business, cranes for long life, and kimonos for good health.

Visit the Naruko gorge

If you want to head outside of the city then Miyagi Prefecture has some of the best nature spots in all of Japan.

The astounding Naruko gorge is certainly one of them, especially in the fall when you can see the place shine in all its beauty thanks to the fall colors spread out across the mountains and valleys.

Naruko Gorge Location Via Google Maps

Found in the northwest of the prefecture, this gorge is flooded by locals and tourists alike in the fall with everyone wishing to catch a glimpse of the spectacular colors.

The gorge runs for approximately 2km and has a main path that you can take along the center. There is a resthouse in the center of the gorge that offers some of the best views possible. 

If you are traveling to the Naruko gorge (it is roughly 70km outside of Sendai) then there are several free and paid-for car parks along the main walking path. 

Unfortunately, the 2011 earthquake forced the majority of the ravine’s walkway to be closed, and now only short sections of the path remain open to the public.

However, these are open to the public between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please note that if the weather is very bad then the path will also be closed for safety reasons.

Visit Sanriku coast

Another nature recommendation is a visit to the Sanriku coast, a very dramatic shore that is dotted with jagged rocks. This isn’t your average coastline by any means. 

Stretching out ver 300m, this coastline spans three different prefectures and is a national park and popular tourist spot thanks to its natural beauty and striking features.

Matsushima Bay

Matsushima bay is a Japanese group of islands located in Miyagi Prefecture. There are 260 small islands covered in pine trees (matsu), thus the name, and it is considered one of Japan’s three most scenic views to see while in Japan.

Matsushima Bay Location Via Google Maps

Please bear in mind that this area was particularly affected by the tsunami and it is still undergoing the reconstruction process. Many smaller towns and settlements were completely destroyed in this disaster.

However, tourism is helping the locals to rebuild their homes and towns. So, a trip to the Sanriku coast is a win-win situation.

Introducing Miyagi Prefecture Via INTRO JAPAN

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.