Every year from mid May to early June, the people of the greater Kesennuma area in Miyagi Prefecture bask in the beauty of spring with the blooming of wild mountain azalea flowers (yama tsutsuji) on Mt. Tokusenjo. The Kesennuma Azalea Festival is also held to celebrate, with local musical artists and activities.
Kesennuma is a beautiful coastal city in Miyagi prefecture in northern Japan. With Kesennuma having a population of a little over 65,000 people and best known for its fishing industry, one may wonder what it has to offer the average person. Lucky for me, the people of Kesennuma are so kind and ecstatic to share Japanese culture with others! Here are some of the things I’ve found so far!
This spring, Kesennuma brings you its yearly free music festival! Join us on April 20th for the last Kesennuma Street Live Festival of the Heisei era. This event is run by city volunteers who are all excited to reel in the Reiwa era with music and cheer.
Perhaps most known as of late for its destruction and city’s resilience following the 2011 disaster, the small city of Kesennuma is actually home to many mom-and-pop style noodle houses that have been around for decades! With so many to choose from, ordering chashuu (pork belly) ramen has been my go-to dish but I’m always excited to try something new or a shopkeeper’s personal favorite.
When it is time to move on from the food tour of Sendai’s science lab you’ll find that the entire Miyagi prefecture is plentiful of fine cuisine. With autumn present and winter arriving fast, there is no better place to be than the areas that are known for the perfect rice bowl, seafood, and all around comfort food when the evening chill gets you shivering.
The Okama crater of the Zao volcano is accessible by bus, by car, and on foot. Okama wows from any angle, but approaching it on foot is a rare opportunity to experience the radical transformations caused by a volcanic eruption.
While Sendai isn’t known for very much beyond its Tanabata festival and grave site of Date Masamune, the city is making competition to be the food capital of the country. Other cities might be a kitchen, but Sendai chooses to be a science lab. Those with an adventurous stomach will enjoy every mouthful.
After living in Ishinomaki for 5 months, I finally got up early enough to catch the 9:00am ferry to Tashirojima, aka Cat Island. This is not to be confused with the Aoshima Cat Island.
At the Ishinomori Manga Museum, visitors can see a special exhibit featuring one hundred of Sanrio’s iconic characters. There is everything from cute displays of illustrations, company history, vintage character goods and merchandise, and advertisements for Sanrio’s most recent mobile dating sim, manga, and anime titled Sanrio Danshi: Never Without My Favorite Friend.
Tucked away on the coast of Miyagi Prefecture is Matsushima, whose picturesque bay is one of the so-called Three Views of Japan. Matsushima is also home to a significant number of Buddhist temples with deep connections to Japanese history. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most important.
The Noh performances are basically unchanged since they began over 650 years ago. When you watch, or are lucky enough to actually participate, there is an unavoidable connection to the past. The movements and music are hauntingly beautiful and the whole experience was one I will never forget.
While most visitors to Naruko will spend the majority of their time taking in the therapeutic waters of the local hot springs, there are other sites nearby the Naruko onsen town where you can enjoy the man-made wonders and natural splendors of Tohoku.