Posts tagged with "Miyagi"

Tamara Yomour, illustration, japan, miyagi, 360 MAGAZINE

Miyagi Prefecture

From its dramatic coastline cliffs to its picturesque mountain ranges, Japan’s lesser-known Miyagi Prefecture boasts some of the country’s best terrain and natural environments for adventure travel and fitness aficionados.

As the cherry blossoms begin to bloom across Japan this spring, Miyagi will get ready to host two of the biggest marathons in the country. The Tohoku Food Marathon in Tome City is one of the biggest events in the region with hundreds of participants, including many from overseas. Inspired by France’s whimsical Marathon du Medoc, the multifaceted event features participants in costumes from their favorite shows and video games. The marathon events begin on April 25, 2020 with a relay marathon, followed by a full marathon, half marathon and several smaller races for teenagers and children on the April 26, 2020. Multiple food festivals are held in conjunction with the races, allowing runners and spectators to sample regional delicacies including over a hundred varieties of sake.
For those looking for more of a challenge, the Sendai International Half Marathon will be held in Miyagi’s capital on May 10, 2020. The annual marathon hosts over 10,000 runners from around the world. The route begins in Kohshin Rubber Athlete Park, traversing the city’s parks, lush avenues and stadiums. The race has several divisions, including 5K and 2K races, and is accessible to those in wheelchairs.

From the big cities to the picturesque landscapes of mountains and forests, Miyagi’s title as the “Land of Contrasts” comes from the prefecture’s incredibly varied environments. One of the best way to experience its diversity is by hiking the Michinoku Coast Trail, one of Japan’s longest hiking trails. This 560-plus-mile trek runs from Fukushima to the Aomori Prefecture, passing through four of Miyagi’s inner regions. The most sought-after hiking location is the Northern Kesennuma Section on the Sanriku Coast, which features a scenic rocky coastline and the Ogama Hanzo Monolith and Dairiseki Coast, a shore composed of natural marble. 

Along the trail, hikers can take a break at Matsushima Bay, one of the great views of Japan, and paraglide along the bay’s iconic islands. At Shobutahama Beach, Takeshige Yamaya, a three-time paragliding national champion, offers tandem paragliding experiences. These experiences last around twenty minutes and offer incredible bird’s eye views of Matsushima Bay and, at higher heights, the city of Sendai and Mount Zao.

While the Michinoku Coast Trail and Matsushima Bay provide the best views along the coast, the Zao Hill Climb Eco event on May 24, 2020 is one of the best ways to see Mount Zao. Every spring, Miyagi Prefecture hosts this mountain biking tournament on two of Mount Zao’s roads: the Zao Echo Line and the Zao High Line. The challenging courses reach an altitude of 43,000 feet and a total length of 11.6 miles, starting from green terrain and ending at the snowy mountaintop. While many participants race, others go at their own pace to admire the incredible landscapes of Miyagi, including a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Asahi Mountain Range (only accessible from the peak).

North of Mount Zao, the Onikobe Ski Resort offers the best ski runs with a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes and boasts the longest ungroomed powder run in Miyagi. Skiers can also hit the slopes after dark, as night skiing is offered on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Many of the lodges feature on-site onsens – a cozy way to unwind after an eventful day of skiing.

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

MIYAGI, Japan, 360 MAGAZINE, Geoffrey Weill

JAPAN’S MIYAGI PREFECTURE

The “Land of Contrasts” Is the Gateway to the Lesser-Known Tohoku Region


Dubbed the “Land of Contrasts,” Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is characterized by its bustling capital city of Sendai, the picturesque islands of Matsushima Bay, the coastal landscape and world-class seafood of Sanriku, the rice fields and vibrant wetlands of northern Miyagi, and the iconic crater lake, “snow monsters” and Fox Village at Mount Zao.


Known as the gateway to the lesser-known northern Japanese region of Tohoku, Miyagi is easily accessible via 90-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo, and by regular direct flights from all major Japanese cities, as well as from Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei. The highlights of this largely undiscovered corner of Japan include:


MATSUSHIMA BAY


A quick day trip from Sendai, the Matsushima Bay area is renowned for its legendary temples, coastal landscapes and islands, and delicious local seafood. At the very heart of the region is the 400-year-old Zuiganji Temple, which was built as the family temple of the founder of Sendai and has been designated a National Treasure. From there, travelers can explore the traditional Japanese gardens at Entsuin Temple, visit sake breweries and sample matcha at a local tea house. And of course, the main draw of Matsushima Bay are the 260 pine tree-topped islands, accessible by foot or boat, that dot the bay. And to top it all off, travelers can taste their way around the Shiogama Fish Market, just a short car ride away from Matsushima Bay (where they can even make their own sushi bowl or grill their own seafood).

SENDAI


The capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in the entire Tohoku region, Sendai is a major transit hub for the region, accessible by air, ferry, train and bus. The “City of Trees,” as it is known, is thus the starting point for most journeys throughout Miyagi and the Tohoku region at large. Though a busy metropolis, Sendai is known as much for its access to nature and its hiking, camping and skiing as it is for its world-class restaurants, shopping and nightlife. And two of the area’s most historic hot springs (or onsen) are just on the city’s outskirts, at Akiu and Sakunami.


MOUNT ZAO


One of Japan’s most magnificent natural areas, the Zao region of southern Miyagi Prefecture is most famous for its iconic Mount Zao, featuring a colorful crater lake at its summit and, in wintertime, the mysterious “snow monsters” (the strange phenomenon created when freezing cold fronts from Siberia transform the mountain’s massive fir trees into snow- and ice- covered creatures). But beyond the famed deep-powder slopes of the mountain, the Zao area offers a wealth of excursions in other seasons, including immersion in samurai culture at Shiroishi Castle, the unique experience of communing with furry creatures at Fox Village, viewing thousands of cherry trees along the Shiroishi River at Hitome Senbon Zakura in springtime, and hiking and mountain biking through the fiery fall foliage in the autumn months.


SANRIKU COAST


Characterized by dramatic cliffs, hidden coves and abundant marine life, the Sanriku Coast has become a sought-after destination for seafood lovers and adventure travelers. Particular areas of interest include the utterly unique Cat Island Tashirojima and the holy island of Kinkasan, home to the Koganeyama Shrine, where wild deer roam freely and are regarded as messengers of the gods by Shinto priests. The Sanriku Coast is also considered a symbol of recovery, as the area suffered heavy damage in the 2011 tsunami. Each town along the coast has established memorials and museums to commemorate the disaster – one of the most affecting of which is the former Onagawa Police Station, an overturned ruin of a building that was torn from its foundation and dragged onto a nearby boat pier, where it still stands as a memorial.


NORTHERN MIYAGI


A vibrantly colored and naturally diverse destination year-round, the area of northern Miyagi is known for its natural wetlands, which fill with thousands of migratory geese and swans during wintertime and then dry up and are carpeted by fields of wild lotus flowers in summertime. And at Mount Kurikoma in the western part of the region, avid hikers are drawn to its fields of alpine wildflowers, dramatic autumn foliage and unkai (sea of clouds).


To know more about Miyagi Prefecture, go to: https://visitmiyagi.com.