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!
Cherry blossom season is here again, and I’m gearing up for my annual pilgrimage to Yuza, a small town on the Sea of Japan at the base of Mount Chokai. The pink flowers, the gentle curve of the river, the hanging koi fish decorations blowing in the wind, the blue sky – all of it makes for an idyllic scene.
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.
Since ancient times, Japan has relied heavily on commerce by the seas to link the chain of islands. Today there are many ways the country can be crossed, from bullet trains to planes, but boats are still important to the identity of Japan. Docked in Aomori Bay is a ferry ship that played an important role in the identity of northern Japan, the Hakkoda-Maru.
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.
Goshiki-numa is a cluster of 5 small volcanic lakes that emerged after the eruption of Mount Bandai in 1888 and attracts tourists for its incredible beauty nowadays. Goshiki-numa is located In Fukushima prefecture, and it is a very good reason why you should consider visiting this prefecture someday.
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.