Sitting on the Pacific coast of the southern Tohoku Region is Miyagi Prefecture. Home to the city of Sendai and some of the most incrediblly scenic views in all of Japan, the area is famous for its natural beauty and unbeatable natural hot springs. It’s also home to Matsushima Bay, a collection of islands that have now for over a century been considered one of the nation’s three most incredible natural views. In March 2011 the prefecture was hit by the tsunami that tore through this area of Japan. However thanks to the resilience of its people and the help of outside sources, the area managed to bounce back stronger than ever. If there’s ever been a time to visit Miyagi, it’s now.
The city of Sendai is Miyagi prefecture’s main central business hub. With a population of roughly one million, it’s the largest city in the entire Tohoku Region and also one of Japan’s largest 15 cities. In 1600 Sendai was established by one of feudal Japan's most powerful names, lord Date Masamune who ruled throughout the early Edo period. If you spend some time in the city still today you’ll find a number of attractions and historic sites dedicated to the Date family name.
Beyond city life, Miyagi is overflowing with unparalleled natural beauty, most notably in the Matsushima area. Siting an easy half hour journey from Sendai, Matsushima is the home of Miyagi prefecture’s most stunning natural sites. Famous for its bay, from which you can see many of the 200 pine clad islands that are scattered across the bay and the water’s horizon. There are a number ways to explore the area, from water cruises to a small mountain hikes there’s something for every fitness and traveller type. If you do make it to Matsushima bay be sure to charge up your camera as this little pocket of Japan is the ultimate photographer’s delight.
In 2012, it was recorded that 23% of the total land area of Miyagi prefecture was in fact designated as Natural Parks. This makes the area the perfect nature filled escape for all those wanting to take a break from the hustle and bustle of mega city life. That said of course if you do want the hum of the city there is always Sendai. Economically the area is dominated by the manufacturing industries of electronics, appliances, and food processing around central Sendai, however one thing you may not know is that it’s also home to the production of around 23% of Japan’s oysters, which you have to try while you’re in town.
The best way to get to Miyagi from Tokyo is by heading directly to Sendai. Connected by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen, a trip from Tokyo takes about 100 minutes and costs around 10,500 yen each way depending on the time of year. If you want to take a local train you can get from Tokyo to Sendai on the JR Tohoku Line but it does take about seven hours, and tickets are 5940 yen each way. Bus is another travel option, Willer Express, offer direct highway bus routes between Tokyo and Sendai both during the day and overnight. A bus journey will take 5.5 hours and fares start around 2500 yen each way.