I would like to introduce some places, features of the beautiful northern city of Japan. Sendai city is the Capital of Miyagi prefecture and also the largest city in Northern Japan. It is also known as the Green City for its well balanced layout with mountains and forests, and also Academic city because it hosts the largest National university in Northern Japan – Tohoku University.
Ox Tongue. Sendai is famous for various dishes made from Ox tongue, that is well eaten in Tohoku Region because of its dairy and farming industry.
Another delicacy is Sasakamaboko, or Fish cake or paste heated in an oven. Since Sendai also has very large fishing ports like Shiogama port, it has been a tradition to process the small fish that can not be sold independently into paste. Freshly made Sasakama does not have any fishlike smell and goes well with ice cold beer or some Japanese Sake.
The most popular tourist spot in Sendai is Matsushima area. Matsushima is regarded as one of Japan’s “Sankei” which means the most beautiful sights (The other two being Miyajima in Hiroshima, and Amano Hashidate in Kyoto). Matsushima is composed of a coastline and multiple islands connected by bridges which are allocated perfectly to create the beautiful view of mountains, coastline and island landscape.
There are a number of temples in the Sendai/Matsushima Region. The most famous being Zuiganji Temple in Matsushima, and Gokokuji Shrine in Sendai. As you may know, Temples are buddhist places of worship and Shrines are a form of original Shinto Tradition in Japan. There are many differences, but the biggest difference is that Buddhism is somewhat a monotheistic religion/with the Buddha being the centre of preaching, and Shinto is obviously a polytheistic religion. In Shinto religion, there is Yaorozu no kami or 8000,000 gods which represent everyday natural phenomenons. A Shinto Shrine will have a Red Arch Gateway and a Buddhist temple will have no gateway or normal traditional gates.
One of the favourite pastime for the Japanese is the hot spring area of Akiu Onsen. Akiu Onsen and Natori River which provides the water source, run through a valley where about 200 hot spring baths are available for tourists and locals. The excellent view and rich dishes from the river and the seas of Sendai make Akiu Onsen one of the favourite hot spas in Japan.
Lastly, Aoba Castle, which was the home ground of the legendary warlord Date Masamune, is located just 15 min from Sendai Station on the hilltop of Aoba mountain. You can enjoy the panoramic view of Sendai city and all of the coastline and mountains behind. The famous statue of Date Masamune is a popular photo spot, where thousands of Japanese and foreign tourists visit each year.
I definitely recommend staying at “Ryokan” or Japanese style accommodation that features a variety of hot spas inside.
Probably one of the most famous ryokans in the Akiu Onsen area is “Sakan”. The ryokan has been maintaining and offering hot spas since the days of Lord Date Masamune was ruling Sendai Area. The ryokan is over one thousand years old and offers two large size public baths and 2 private baths for guests, along with many “Roten Furo” or outdoor spas where bathers can enjoy the great outdoor scenery of the valley, river and mountains.
There is a regular transport service connecting Sendai station and the ryokan, free for guests, and it features many traditional restaurants and cuisines along to spice up the experience.