In the Tohoku region, Miyagi Prefecture occupies a large part of the eastern side of Japan on the Pacific Coast. Cradled between scenic coastlines and mountainous landscapes, Miyagi is famous for its seafood. A luxurious harakomeshi is a classic Miyagi dish of rice with the belly meat of fatty salmon, sprinkled with salmon roe marinated in soy sauce. Miyagi Prefecture also offers fantastic skiing in the winter and stunning coastal scenery, namely the celebrated Matsushima Bay. Considered one of Japan’s three most beautiful views, Matsushima sees pine trees clustered over more than 200 rocky islets, starkly mingling across clear ocean waters. Nourish the body soaking in the healing waters of Naruko Onsen, while the flaming fall foliage around Naruko Gorge proves unbelievably beautiful. Meanwhile, the mountains and forests of the Zao region in southwest Miyagi are symbolized by the Okama Crater beside the summit of Mount Zao.
The Hirose River wiggles its way through the city of Sendai, Miyagi’s capital that’s best explored by bike. Richly flavored and soft in texture, Sendai is lovingly associated with its quality gyutan (beef tongue), the representative dish of Miyagi Prefecture. Aged and thinly sliced before hitting the grill, beef tongue is succulent and soft, typically served with a side of beef tail soup. Built in 1600, Aoba Castle (Aoba-jo) overlooks the city and resides by the colorful mausoleum, Zuihoden, enshrining the powerful daimyo Masamune Date. Each year in the fall, family and friends enjoy stewing Sendai imoni hot pots around riverbanks alfresco-style, a long-lived tradition flavored with miso, root vegetables, konnyaku, and pork. Bright green zundamochi is a Miyagi Prefecture signature sweet, while the local fish cake in the shape of a bamboo grass leaf is known as sasa kamaboko. Miyagi is abundant with glorious mountainscapes and natural parks, featuring tasty local cuisine and quality seafood.
Gyutan (beef tongue) is a local delicacy in Miyagi, and can be enjoyed barbecued or grilled with different sauces. Zunda (edamame) soybean paste is a sweet ingredient that’s well known in Miyagi and can be eaten in the form of ice cream, cookies, boba, and more.
Matsushima is known for being one of the Three Views of Japan and a Place of Scenic Beauty. There are many islands in Matsushima Bay that visitors can tour and hike. The National Treasure Zuiganji Temple is worth a visit, including a temple museum and surrounded by caves where monks would go to pray.
Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park is a beautiful place to see cherry blossoms in Miyagi, located along Matsushima Bay. It is the perfect spot for cherry blossom viewing, as the park is placed on higher ground and overlooks the water.
Miyagi’s capital, Sendai is known for its beautiful greenery, earning the nickname “The City of Trees.” Before the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, many citizens were requested to grow trees to keep the city beautiful and green. In addition, Miyagi is known for its summer festivals such as Sendai Tanabata Matsuri (Sendai Star Festival).
Zunda and beef tongue snacks are a must when visiting Miyagi. All over the prefecture you can find these two items at specialty stores and even train stations.