Tohoku's gateway offers inspirational views
Miyagi is a beautiful place to visit every season of the year, and every season of your life. Its mild climate makes it a comfortable place to visit, especially for a weekend escape from the summer humidity elsewhere.
In spring cherry blossoms line the banks of the Shiroiishi River. Imagine strolling along the banks or in a boat with a row of a thousand cherry blossoms and with the Zao mountain range in the background.
In summer the shopping district of Sendai is filled with colorful washi streamers during the Tanabata festival.
In fall go hiking at Naruko Gorge, which is over 100 meters in depth and admire the autumn foliage, or see one of the three most special waterfalls in Japan, the Akiu Otaku falls. Music fans should also put the Jozenji Street Jazz Festival on their calendars.
In winter head into town for the romantic lights in Sendai. From Dec 15 to 31 the trees along Aoba and Jozenji Avenues are lit up in the Pageant of Starlight festival.
My favorite day itinerary in Miyagi would be to take a cruise around Matsushima, renowned as one of the three most beautiful sights in Japan. Taking one of the longer cruises takes me to the more unspoilt parts of the bay, where the pine trees, white cliffs and blue seas form a wonderful contrast of colors and textures. After that I would relax in a nearby onsen (hot spring), and soak my worries away while admiring the ocean view. This will be followed by some freshly charcoal grilled beef tongue, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice. This gyutanyaki beef is a local delicacy, and if you ask any resident, they will tell you to eat it with oxtail soup and barley rice.
The gateway to Miyagi is Sendai, the largest city in Tohoku and home to over a million people. Despite its size the city is a great place to stroll around and is dotted with parks making it a great place to picnic or to read a book in the afternoon sun. There are direct flights from all over Japan, Korea, Thailand and China to Sendai airport, making it an easy place to get to.