Winter is coming to Miyagi and with it some great year-end events including a few evening illuminations!
1. Michinoku Park Winter Illumination 2018 (Kawasaki)
When: 12/1, 2, 8, 9, 15-17, 19-24 from 16:30-21:00
The pure waters which flow from Zao will be lit up with 110,000 blue lights for a magical atmosphere!
Where: Michinoku Park
Admission: Adult 450 yen; Junior high school students and under are free. Car parking 310 yen
Details (JP): http://www.michinoku-park.info/wp/news/
2. Oyster Nabe Cruise (Matsushima)
When: Fri, Sat, Sunday 12/1-12/24
From Shiogama-Matsushima 11:30 to 12:20; from Matsushima-Shiogama 13:00-13:50
Marubun Matsushima offers a special oyster cruise in winter. Enjoy oyster nabe with Sendai miso, fried oysters with rice and sides while traveling between Matsushima and Shiogama!
Cost: 3400 yen (3260 yen if purchased online). Comes with free return ticket if desired!
Where: Matsushima Sightseeing Boat Pier or Marine Gate Shiogama
Access: 10-min. walk from JR Matsushimakaigan Sta.
Details (JP): https://www.marubun-kisen.com/wakuwaku/kakinabe.php
3. Kotatsu Boat (Marumori)
When: 12/1-3/31/19, 10, 11:30, 13:00 or 14:30 departures
Cruise down the Abukuma River on a cozy boat with kotatsu heated tables to keep you warm! Make it a meal and add a nabe stew (3+ people, advanced reservation required)
Cost: 1500 yen/adult. Nabe stews start at addl. 1000 yen/person.
Where: Abukuma Line Boat Pier (阿武隈ライン舟下り 乗船場)
Access: 20 min. walk from Marumori Station on Abukuma Express Line
Details (JP): http://www.miyagi-kankou.or.jp/kakikomi/detail.php?id=4413
4. Shibata Fantasy Illumination 2018
You've been to Shibata for its famous cherry blossom festival. Now come at night for a special festival where lights replace the flowers and make the trees come to life in winter. Mini concert on 12/22 from 18:00 (500 yen)
Where: Funaoka Castle Ruins Park and Funaoka Station
Access: 15-min. walk from JR Funaoka Station. Parking available.
5. Onagawa Stardust Pageant
When: 12/2-1/5/19, 16:30-22:00
The area around Onagawa Station will be illuminated with about 45,000 LED lights. Special holiday concert and events from 12/22 to 12/25 with winter fireworks on 12/24.
Where: Onagawa Sta.
Access: from Sendai, take Senseki-Tohoku Line to Ishinomaki Sta., then change to Ishinomaki Line until it ends at Onagawa Sta. (1.5 hr, 1140 yen)
Details (JP): http://www.miyagi-kankou.or.jp/kakikomi/detail.php?id=12726
6. Furisuku X-Mas Party
When: 12/8, 7-9PM
Get into the holiday spirit with our friends at the intercultural exchange group Furisuku Sendai with their upcoming holiday party!
Cost: 1000 yen
Where: Sendai Shimin Support Center, 6F
Access: 15-min. walk from Sendai Station
Details (EN, JP): https://www.facebook.com/142791212787386/posts/707822126284289/
7. Shaft 19th Anniversary Party, Resynthesis (Green) Release Party
When: 12/8 22:00-5:00
Club Shaft is at it again with an all-night party featuring dance/electronic DJ Grooveman Spot who is releasing his new album Resynthesis (Green).
Admission: 3000 yen at door, 2500 yen in advance plus 1 drink 600 yen
Where: Club Shaft
Access: 10 min. walk from Hirosedori Subway Station
Details (JP): https://www.facebook.com/events/364379220781298/
8. Sendai Pageant of Starlight
When: 12/14-12/31, 17:30-22:00 (23:00 on Fri, Sat, Holidays and 24:00 on the last day 12/31)
Spend the end of the year in Sendai and enjoy the romantic Pageant of Starlight. The 160 zelkova trees that give Sendai its green reputation may have shed their leaves but will gain 600,000 lightbulbs, making for a beautiful winter illumination.
Where: Along Jozenji-dori Street (City Hall to Nishi Park)
Access: Nearest station Kotodaikoen on Sendai Nanboku Line. 20 min. walk from Sendai Station. Loope Sendai Bus also runs nightly (200 yen)
Details (JP): http://www.sendaihikape.jp/
9. Kurashi no Ichi & Bread fair (Shiogama)
12/8 & 12/9, 10:00-15:00 (bread from 10:30-14:30)
Do you miss good bread? Shiogama's Sugimura Jun Museum of Art is having their Kurashi no Ichi market featuring food stands furnished by local stores, locally-grown vegetables, tableware, woodworks, antique goods, handmade goods, plants and more.
This time they will have craft bakers including Matsushima's Zizo bakery as well as bread and bagel makers coming from as far as Tokyo and Yamagata. La Maison Rose will have vegan baked sweets.
Check the schedule closely as each bakery will be there for a shift.
Where: Shiogama Sugimura Jun Museum of Art, Auditorium
Access: 10 min. walk from Hon-Shiogama Station on the JR Senseki Line
10. Miyagi Zao Snow Monster Tour
When: 12/15-3/17/19, 11:00-13:00 or 13:30-15:30
See the snow monsters on the Zao Miyagi side on a tour using a "Wild Monster" offroad vehicle. Ski packages also available.
Cost: 4800 yen (12/15-1/11) or 5800 yen (1/12-1/31)
Reserve by phone: 0224-85-3055
Access: Direct bus from Sendai Station departs 8:20AM, returns 18:15
Details (JP): http://www.zao-sumikawa.jp/winter/juhyo.html
11. "Joy of Life" paintings by Mikako Kanemaru (Shiogama)
When: 12/18-12/25, 11:30-17:30
See vividly colored paintings of flowers and mountains. The artist draws inspiration and energy from nature which she vividly reflects in her work.
Where: Birdo Flugas Gallery
Access: JR Senseki Line to Hon-Shiogama Sta., 5 min. walk
Details (JP): http://www.birdoflugas.com/schedule/2018.html
12. Sendai Cooking Meetup at Hostel Kiko
When: 12/21 19:00-21:00
Gather at Hostel KIKO for a fun cooking party! Using local ingredients, you will learn how to make delicious Japanese home cooking. Make friends and food!
Admission: 1500 yen, 1000 yen students (with ID), reserve by email
Where: Hostel Kiko
Access: 15. min walk from Sendai Station or 5 min. walk from Itsutsubashi Subway Station
Details (EN, JP): https://www.facebook.com/events/1380373738759289/
13. Zao Snow Monster Illumination (Yamagata Zao)
When: 12/22-3/3/19 17:00-21:00
See the frost covered snow monsters of Mount Zao lit up under multicolor lights. It's listed as a romantic "lover's sanctuary" spot but these towering shadows are also otherworldly.
Note: weather can be under -10C so dress warmly!
Admission: (round-trip ropeway fare): Adults 2800 yen, children 1400 yen
Access: Take the bus or Senzan Line from Sendai to Yamagata Station. From Yamagata take the Yamagata-Zao Onsen line. Total time 2.5 hrs
Details (JP): http://zaoropeway.co.jp/zao/winter/lightup.html
14. Make Christmas Japanese Desserts
When: 12/23 13:45-15:00
Make a decorative wagashi Japanese dessert with your own hands! As we are approaching the holiday season, this time the decorations will have a Christmas theme. After you make a dessert with guidance from instructor Chika Ogasawara, enjoy it with specially selected matcha tea.
Admission: 1590 yen (online ticket purchase required)
Where: AuSendai 2F Meeting Space
Access: 10 min. walk from Sendai Station
15. Sendai "Story of Santa's Forest" Santa Parade
When: 12/23, 17:30-19:45
Is there a Santa? Maybe you remember arguing about 1 Santa, but there is no way that 800 Santas could be imaginary. Enjoy two parades where many Santas will sing and dance their way down Jozenji-dori street.
Access: Nearest station Kotodaikoen on Sendai Nanboku Line. 20 min. walk from Sendai Station
16. Sendai City Museum: 150 Years Since the Boshin War
When: 10/26-12/9, 9-4:45PM (closed Mondays)
The last big fight of the samurai era pitted holdouts in northern Japan (including the Date family) against the forces of reformation. We know how the story ends- the end of the Shogunate and the new Meiji government, but have you ever seen artifacts from this period including rifles and paintings?
Admission: 1000 yen
Where: Sendai City Museum
Access: Tozai Subway Line to International Center Station and walk 8 min.
17. Migratory Birds in Izunuma (Tome)
When: Winter 2018/19
At dusk and dawn the lakes and wetlands are filled with thousands of swans, geese and ducks who make their winters here. These wetlands are important ecosystems known for their biodiversity and are protected under the Ramsar Convention.
Where: Lakes Izunuma, Uchinuma and wetlands in Kurihara/Tome
Access: Car recommended. Lake Izunuma 5-min. walk from Nitta Station, JR Tohoku Line