Posts tagged with "Miyagi Prefecture"

ADVENTURES IN MIYAGI PREFECTURE

Known as the “Land of Contrasts,” Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is home to a variety of outdoor activities for travelers to enjoy. From cycling to surfing and even paragliding, Miyagi’s wide range of landscapes has no shortage of opportunities to try something new. Below are a few places travelers can dream of visiting when travel restrictions are lifted.

With a variety of biking trails to choose from, Miyagi is the perfect place to cycle through paths that stop by some of the prefecture’s most famous sights. For coastal views, Oshika Peninsula offers more than 40 miles of rolling hills and coastal panoramas, including a view of Kinkasan Island, a majestic island home to sacred deer that roam about the island freely. In the countryside, Marumori Loop is a popular cycling spot for locals. The low plains offer excellent views of the mountains, charming villages and rice fields. Experienced bikers can cycle through the mountainous wilderness of Mount Zao. These incredibly remote passes are grueling but are totally worth it for the beautiful scenery, secluded hot springs and countryside cafes.

Speaking of Mount Zao, the region is one of Miyagi’s best destinations for outdoor adventures. Skiers and snowboarders can opt to tackle the remote slopes on their own, but a guide is considered essential for anyone not trained in winter mountaineering and acquainted with the terrain of Mount Zao. Luckily, M’s Guide is a winter mountain guide service based at Sumikawa Snow Park and can tailor any outdoor excursion for guests.

For watersports, three-time paragliding national champion Takeshige Yamaya offers tandem paragliding experiences in Matsushima Bay, perfect for travelers to experience one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan. Setravelndai and even Mount Zao can also be seen from the sky. In Sendai, Barefoot Surf offers a variety of SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) and surfing excursions for any skill level.

Travelers looking to spend the night outdoors can stay at the Fukiage Kogen Campground in Northern Miyagi. The grounds are surrounded by scenic views of mountains and quiet forests. The campground even has its own hot spring, walking trails, pub and plenty of cute goats. While travelers can bring their own equipment, guests can be supplied with all the gear they need with advanced reservations.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com.

teamLab's Forest of Resonating Lamps is an iconic exhibit from the MORI Building Digital Art Museum as announced by 360 MAGAZINE.

JNTO x Japan’s Winter Illuminations

In celebration of the coming winter months, Japan lights up across the country with winter illuminations in cities, rural areas and natural attractions. While travelers can’t experience many of the illuminations due to travel restrictions this year, below are a few galleries of some of the most exciting events taking place this winter.

Forest of Resonating Lamps – One Stroke, Ice Cave by teamLab, Tokyo

An iconic exhibit from the MORI Building Digital Art Museum, teamLab’s Forest of Resonating Lamps – One Stroke, Ice Cave is an interactive exhibit featuring a seemingly endless arrangement of Venetian glass lamps. The arrangement of the lamps is mathematically determined and when a person stands still close to a lamp, it will shine brightly and cause a chain reaction with all of the surrounding lamps.

Sendai Pageant of Starlight, Miyagi Prefecture

On Jozenji-dori Street in Sendai, about 160 zelkova trees are decorated with over half a million LED lights. With the street Illuminated in a warm glow, it becomes the perfect place for a nice romantic walk while dining on tasty treats from local vendors and shops. In addition to the scenery, there is an ice skating rink and a light tunnel at Kotodai Park.

Ashikaga Flower Fantasy, Tochigi Prefecture

Ranked #1 by the Japan’s night-view critics, Ashikaga Flower Park’s Flower Fantasy is one of the most popular seasonal illuminations in the country. Running through February, the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy changes lights about every six weeks to match with a different theme. For November and December, the park puts on a Christmas fantasy and in January and February, the New Year is celebrated with the blooming winter peonies.

Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination, Mie Prefecture

The Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination utilizes millions of LED lights to bring even more color and brightness to the large flower park. Visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the lights from a special observation deck, “swim” through a sea of lights that shine in a huge field and navigate their way through various light tunnels.

Otaki Ice Festival, Saitama Prefecture

Located in the former Otaki village, the Misotsuchi Icicles are illuminated every night during January and February. While there are two other “Great Icicles” in the local city of Chichibu, the Misotsuchi Icicles are the only ones that are naturally occurring. Visitors can view the icicle light-up from the north side or along the river on the south side. The nearby Tsuchiuchi Camping grounds also serve hot food and drinks during the ice festival. (Note: Whether this event will be held is still being determined.)

For more information and to discover more of Japan’s local attractions, JNTO has put together a collection of the best of the country’s local treasures on a new section of their website for would-be travelers to browse through HERE.

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, click HERE.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Saudi Arabia (Tabuk)

Visit Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture

While Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is not yet open to international travelers, there are a number of foodie destinations that should be on travelers’ bucket lists when travel restrictions are lifted. Below are some incredibly unique restaurants, breweries and wineries that showcase the best of Miyagi’s local cuisine.

Akiu Winery in the quiet hills of Akiu was founded in 2015 in an effort to support the prefecture’s local agriculture. The winery produces an incredible array of wines using Merlot, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris grapes that are all grown on the estate. Guests who stop by the winery can sample any of the wines, cheeses and meats, and take a tour of the winery. Japan’s whiskey industry has received global recognition over the last few years, and travelers can experience the scene first-hand at the Miyagikyo.

Miyagikyo Distillery produces Nikka Whiskey which was originally made by the “Father of Japanese Whiskey,” Masataka Taketsuru. Taketsuru founded this second Nikka distillery in 1969 at the junction of two rivers among the Sakunami Mountains. Guests can tour the facility, participate in a whiskey tasting seminar and purchase distillery-exclusive whiskies at the gift shop. There are also a small number of microbreweries in Miyagi including one at the restaurant

Naruko no Kaze serves Japanese dinner staples like ramen and curry rice along with acclaimed sake and beer that is brewed on-site. Its awarding-winning doburoku, a thick, unfiltered farmhouse-style sake, along with its beers, which are made from local ingredients such as Yukimusubi rice and yamabudo (wild mountain grapes), are a must-try for all visitors. Miyagi’s restaurant scene also highlights the best of the prefecture’s local cuisine. Travelers who find themselves in Naruko Onsen should take a short tip to Egao Shokudo, a local soba shop. The fresh vegetables and mushrooms are all foraged by the ladies who run the shop and the local community of the surrounding mountains. The hand-picked vegetables and mushrooms are also pickled and available for purchase in the store.

As Japan is well known for its seafood, no trip to Miyagi would be complete without a visit to the Koei Suisan Fish Store, a popular local store in Matsushima Bay. In addition to offering the freshest seafood available, this family-run shop farms its own oysters. During oyster season (mid-October to mid-March), guests can savor yakigaki (grilled oysters) and raw oysters for dine-in or take-out.

Miyagi also has an incredible array of sakes distributed in the United States for people to try while dreaming of these foodie destinations. With more than 350 years under its belt, Uchigasaki Brewery is the oldest sake brewery in Miyagi Prefecture. Just north of the capital city Sendai, the brewery was founded in 1661 when its hometown Tomiya City became a popular post town along the Oshu Highway during the Edo period.

Another local favorite, Katsuyama has been making sake in Miyagi Prefecture since 1688. This brewery offers a wide variety of crystal-clear sakes to choose from, appealing to every palette. Founded in 1724, the Urakasumi Sake Brewery has been family-run for thirteen generations. Since then, the brewery has been providing the sacred sake for Shiogama Shrine, a 1,200 year-old Shinto shrine and one of the largest and most beloved shrines in Miyagi.

Newer but no less reputable, Ichinokura Brewery was founded in 1973 after four local breweries joined forces to create a very special sake made completely by hand.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com