Elemental, picturesque or just plain cute, nature in all its guises has a starring role in Miyagi. In this prefecture in the northern region of Japan’s largest island, there are landscapes that will take your breath away – and all just a 90-minute bullet-train ride from Tokyo. Top of the list is the majestically craggy Pacific coastline, washed by some of Japan’s most fertile waters. The main draw for many is the sweeping circle of Matsushima Bay, dotted with hundreds of pine-covered islets, the soul-soothing beauty of which has been inspiring artists and poets for aeons. For others, it’s the quirky charm of a tiny island where feral but friendly cats vastly outnumber the people.
Inland, there’s just the same mix of epic and appealing. Narrow roads wind their way up through the mountains to multi-coloured crater lakes and active volcanoes, boulder-strewn gorges and thundering waterfalls, before ending at a long-established hot-spring resort with gloriously scenic outdoor baths. It’s all very inspiring, but there’s a chance the highlight could be the alpine village where hundreds of foxes of several species roam freely through the forest. These animals have a special place in traditional Japanese culture, though it’s the more modern cult of cuteness – kawaii – that’s to the fore here, especially when the cubs are born in spring.
See a less-travelled part of Japan with a Miyagi tour that introduces you to its natural wonders. Our destination specialists are here to guide you on your way.