1. Sendai Independants
Through October 11
An art exhibition inspired by the radical 1884 exhibition in Paris Le salon des indépendants, which had neither a selection jury nor awards. Eight Sendai art galleries collaborate on this similarly democratic and free-spirited annual art show.
Hours: Varies by venue
Closed days: Mondays (all venues)
Official website: sendai21-independants.com
Locations: 8 art galleries and event spaces in central Sendai, including Gallery Turnaround and SARP. Map here.
Access: Varies by location, but all are within walking distance of subway and/or train stations in central Sendai.
2. Hijiori Lantern Festival
Through October 11
Hijiori Onsen, Yamagata
The autumn edition of Hijiori Onsen's annual lantern festival. Paper lanterns decorated with intricate designs by professional artists are hung throughout Hijiori Onsen Village and illuminated at night. The lanterns are usually hung both inside and out, but due to concern over coronavirus this year they will be hung outside only. The glow of the lanterns lends a romantic ambiance to the streets of this charming onsen village, the perfect place for a stroll on an early autumn evening.
Official website: hijiorinohi.com
Location: Hijiori Onsen (肘折温泉). Map here.
Access: 50 minutes by bus from Shinjo Station. At Shinjo Station (新庄駅) board bus bound for Hijiori Onsen (肘折温泉). Timetable here.
Access to Shinjo Station from Sendai: Accessible via train, or 140 minutes via the 48 Liner highway bus. For 48 Liner info, see here.
3. Zuihoden Mausoleum Special Opening
Through October 18
Zuihoden, the opulent mausoleum complex housing the remains of first three leaders of Date clan, offers a special opening every October. Mausoleum doors are unbolted, revealing a glimpse beyond.
Hours: 9:00–16:50 (last entry 16:30)
Admission: Free with paid entry to Zuihoden. Zuihoden entrance fee ¥550 adults, ¥400 high school students, ¥200 children
Event details: zuihoden.com
Zuihoden details (English): visitmiyagi.com
4. Lotus: An Emi Ichinoseki Exhibition
一関恵美 墨画展 蓮
This particular exhibition of Emi's work will be hosted at the Sugimura Jun Museum, a public art and cultural center that's so welcoming you'll feel a part of the community there immediately. The museum is staffed by English speakers nearly every day, who look forward to showing you around their museum.
5. A Prayer to Amabie Rice Paddy Art
Through October 23
Tanbo (lit. "rice paddy") art is an eco-friendly art trend in Japan popularized by the tanbo art masterpieces in Inakadate, Aomori that have drawn tourists from all over the world. Though the biggest tanbo art canvases were left blank this year due to concern over coronavirus, smaller local ones were still done. By planting different varieties of heirloom rice, tanbo artists are able to create colorful, three-dimensional artworks made purely from rice plants.
Naraha has really outdone themselves with their tanbo art this year thanks to their very 2020 choice of motif, Amabie. Amabie (thought to be a kind of amabiko) is a mythical Japanese creature said to emerge from the sea to prophesize abundant harvests and/or epidemics. Legend has it that displaying an image of an amabiko will protect one against sickness and death. Naraha's tanbo-art image of Amabie claims to be Japan's largest, attracting the attention of Japanese media outlets . . . and maybe even Amabie themself.
6. Rensai Kanketsu Haikyu~!! Exhibition
Through October 25
Haikyuu!! is a manga (and anime) about a boy determined to become a top volleyball player despite his small stature. It was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from February 2012 to July 2020. This exhibition to honor the end of the series is being held in Sendai because the fictional Karasuno High School depicted in the series is "located" in Miyagi. The exhibition will feature original artwork used to create the series and large, Instagenic displays about each main character and the series' greatest story arcs. In addition to the exhibits, there will also be a large selection of limited-edition goods for sale.
Hours: 10:00–17:00 weekdays, 10:00–19:00 weekends & holidays (last entry 30 minutes prior to closing
Closed days: None during exhibition period
Tickets: ¥1,500 adults, ¥1,000 junior high & high school students, ¥500 elementary school students
Official event website: haykyu-ten.com
Location: TFU Gallery Mini Mori (TFUギャラリーミニモリ). Map here.
Access: 3-minute walk from Sendai Station
7. Mesquita Exhibition
Through October 25
Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita is a little-known Jewish graphic artist active in the Netherlands in the years prior to WWII. The sharp lines and contrast of dark and light characteristic of his work make it appears bold and contemporary, even by today's standards. You can see his influence in the work of M. C. Escher, who was Mesquita's pupil.
This is the first-ever full-scale exhibition of Mesquita's work in Japan, featuring about 230 pieces on loan from a private Dutch collection. It opened last autumn in Tokyo in honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Mesquita's death, and is now making its way to other regions of Japan, including Kansai and Tohoku.
8. Pear Picking in Rifu
Through October 31
Rifu grows some of the most delicious pears in Miyagi. A couple of different orchards in Rifu offer pear picking experiences, but the Akama Ryoichi Sightseeing Pear Park is one of the most convenient, as they don't require reservations for anyone but large groups. In addition to picking pears there, you can also just stroll the orchard to enjoy the sights and scents, then simply buy some pears from their farmstand. The details below are for Akama Ryoichi farm specifically. For info on other pear orchards in Rifu, see the Details link below.
Reservations: Required only for groups of 10+
Admission: ¥500, includes two pears you get to pick from the trees yourself. You can pick more pears for an additional fee.
Location: Akama Ryoichi Sightseeing Pear Farm (赤間良一観光園). Map here.
Access: 50-minute walk from Rifu Station
9. Wara & Seikatsu Exhibition
Through November 3
Wara (straw) played a huge role in the daily life of Japanese people right up through the Showa era, with many household items being made out of it, such as containers, toys, and even clothing. Nowadays this folk craft has virtually disappeared, replaced with items manufactured from plastic. As climate change becomes of increasing concern in societies around the world, what better time to rediscover this economical and environmentally-friendly way of making daily items? This exhibition teaches visitors about the diverse ways in which straw was used in daily life. On select dates, the museum will also offer workshops where visitors can try their hand at making their own straw craft.
Hours: 9:00–16:45 (last entry 16:15)
Languages: Permanent exhibits have signage in English & Chinese
Closed days: Mondays (except national holidays), the day following a national holiday, the 4th Thursday of every month
Admission: ¥240 adults, ¥180 high school students, ¥120 children ages elementary to junior high
Official website: sendai-c.ed.jp
Museum details (English): sendaimotions.com
Location: Sendai City Museum of History & Folklore (仙台市歴史民俗資料館). Map here.
Access: 8-minute walk from Tsutsujigaoka Station
10. Aizu Art Project
Through November 3
The Aizu Art Project is a festival that aims to communicate the history and culture of the Aizu region through art, using the castle town Aizu-Wakamatsu as its stage. The festival consists of two elements: the Aizu Urushi Art Festival, showcasing exquisite contemporary and traditional works of Aizu lacquerware, and the Machinaka Pinoteca, an art show with works dotted throughout downtown Aizu-Wakamatsu, turning the area into a city-wide art museum.
Hours: Varies by venue
Closed days: Varies by venue
Reservations: None needed, but you do need to fill out an info card to receive a "passport" to view the artworks. This is intended as a coronavirus-management measure. On the off chance someone who visits the event tests positive for coronavirus, everyone who visited the same venue will be notified so they can self-quarrantine/go get tested themselves.
How to get an Aizu Art Project passport: The info cards are on the back of the Aizu Art Project Guidebook, which you can download for free from their website. Print out the guidebook, fill out the info card, and hand it to the event staff at the first Art Project venue you visit. They will issue you a passport good for all the other venues. As a bonus, you'll be entered in a raffle to win one of 15 Aizu lacquerware bowls!
Official website (bilingual): aizu-artpj.com
Location: Various venues across central Aizu-Wakamatsu. Maps here.
Access: Most venues are either a short walk from Aizu-Wakamatsu or Nanukamachi Stations, or a short walk from a Haikara-san or Akabe Town Bus stop. Bus info here (English).
11. Special Opening of the Fukushima Geihinkan
Through November 8
The Fukushima Geihinkan, an imperial villa built in the style of a traditional Japanese residence, is a National Cultural Property. Normally only the gardens are open to the public, but for a limited time this autumn tours of the interior are being made available as well.
The meeting point for the tour, Tenkyokaku, is also a National Cultural Property and a sightseeing destination in its own right. Prince Yoshihito built it to serve as his vacation villa. In contrast to the Geihinkan, Tenkyokaku is a Western-style residence. Tour both of these villas to witness the contrasting architectural styles appreciated by the imperial family.
Time: Meet at 9:45, tour starts at 10:00
Fee: ¥1,070 adults, ¥870 high school students, ¥720 children ages elementary to junior high
Reservation: Required at least 2 days in advance
Special opening details (English): awia.jp
Special opening details (Japanese): tif.ne.jp
Geihinkan details (English): tif.ne.jp
Location: Meet at Tenkyokaku (天鏡閣). Map here.
Access by rental cycle: About 8 kilometers from Inawashiro Station. You can rent chari and electric-assist bicycles from the sightseeing center next door to the station. Cycle rental details here.
Access by bus: About 10 minutes by bus from Inawashiro Station, followed by a 5-minute walk. At Inawashiro Station (猪苗代駅), board a Bandai Toto (磐梯東都) bus bound for Noguchi Hideyo Kinenkan・Kin no Hashi (野口英記念館・金の橋). Alight at Nagahama (長浜) bus stop. Route map here. Timetables here.
12. Katana・Katana・Katana: An Exhibition of Iwaki Swords
Through November 17
During the Edo period, several swordsmiths were active in the region now known as Iwaki City. Works of these local swordsmiths will be displayed, as well as an Akabane sword and an unsigned tachi sword by the Ichimonji School that has been designated an Important Cultural Property by Fukushima Prefecture.
13. Cat Art Exhibition: The World of Shu Yamamoto
Through November 29
Shu Yamamoto is a Japanese expat living in North America who specializes in cat-themed renditions of famous paintings. This exhibition is hosted by the Ishinomori Manga Museum which, which will also be serving fun cat-themed dishes in their cafe and selling limited-edition Shu Yamamoto cat art goods in the gift shop.
Hours: 9:00–18:00 (last entry 17:30)
Admission: ¥840 adults, ¥520 children ages junior high to high school, ¥210 elementary school students, children ages preschool & younger free
Event details: mangattan.jp
Shu Yamamoto official website (English): shucatart.com
Location: Ishinomori Manga Museum (石ノ森萬画館). Map here.
Access: 15-minute walk from Ishinomaki Station
14. Sendai Wara Art
Through December 5
Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai
A fun and eco-friendly art show. Wara (straw), a byproduct of the rice harvest, is used to shape large sculptures. The event takes place at the horticultural center Midori no Mori, home to seasonally changing gardens and a farmer's market where you can purchase locally-grown produce and potted plants.
Location: Sendai Nogyo Engei Center Midori no Mori (せんだい農業園芸センターみどりの杜). Map here.
Access: 10 minutes by bus or a 30-minute walk from Arai Station. From Arai Station, board a bus bound for Former Arahama Elementary School (旧荒浜小学校) via Nogyo Engei Center (農業園芸センター). Alight at Nogyo Engei Center bus stop. Timetable here.
15. Cycle Sports Center Grand Opening
The Natori Cycle Sports Center is a new leisure facility in southern Miyagi, part of the ongoing effort to help revive areas devastated by the 2011 tsunami. It features a cafe, playground, skate park, onsen with views of the ocean, and a range of cycling-themed attractions designed to appeal to the general public as well as more serious cyclists. A total of ninety bicycles are available for rental, ranging from serious sport cycles to novelty bikes, like tandem bicycles and car-shaped ones. Some are meant for use on the Center's cycling road; others are available for cycling and sightseeing around town and the local seaside.
Admission: ¥200 adults and children ages middle school & up, ¥100 elementary school students, children ages kindergarten & younger free
Official website: natori-cycle.com
Access: About 20 minutes by bus from Mitazono Station, followed by a 9-minute walk. At Mitazono Station (美田園駅), board a Tobu Yuriage Loop Line (東部閖上循環線) bus headed in the counter clockwise (左回り) direction. Alight at Shinsai Memorial Park (震災メモリアル公園) bus stop. Timetables available here as PDF downloads; click on Natorin-go Guidebook (なとりん号ガイドブック).
16. Sake & Nishi Park
Ohisashiburi, sake festivals! Originally planned for early summer, this festival was postponed due to concerns over coronavirus. After carefully considering the development of the pandemic, the event organizers feel that the festival can now be held safely. In addition to the standard coronavirus prevention measures that will naturally be in place, there are a couple of other things which make this sake festival more manageable in the current health climate than others: The first is that it's outdoors, making it easy so social-distance and proper ventilation a non-issue. Second, it's more of a sake tasting festival than a sake drinking one. Consuming alcohol in large quantities inhibits optimal immune system function. But since the pours at this festival are sized for sampling rather than chugging, it's a great opportunity to taste a range of sakes from brewers all over Honshu while still keeping your overall alcohol consumption low.
Hours: 10:00–20:00 October 3, 10:00–17:00 October 4
Official event page: facebook.com/kirakirasendai
Admission: Free, drink tickets ¥2,500 at the door for a set of 10 (drinks are tasting-sized, not full sized). Tickets can be purchased online in advance for ¥2,000 per 10 tickets. Drink ticket sales are limited to 2,000 total, so it's best to buy early.
Location: Nishi Park south side (西公園 南側). Map here.
Access: Just outside Omachi Nishi-Koen Station
17. Classic Yell Sendai
October 3 & 4
The annual Sendai Classical Music Festival was cancelled this year due to concern over coronavirus. Instead, this year we have the Classic Yell Sendai. Like the Classical Music Festival, Classic Yell offers short classical concerts in a range of styles, from Western string quartets to Japanese shamisen.
Time: Varies by concert. All are sometime between 10:30–21:00.
Fee: Varies by concert. 1,300–3,000 adults, 700–1,700 children ages 10 & under.
Reservations: Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Official website: sencla.com/yell
Concert venues: Hitachi Systems Hall Sendai (日立システムズホール仙台), Miyagino Ward Cultural Center Patna Hall (宮城野区文化センターパ トナホール), & Sendai City War Reconstruction Memorial Hall (戦災復興記念館 記念ホール). Maps here, here, & here.
Access (Hitachi Systems Hall): Across from Asahigaoka Station
Access (Miyagino Ward Cultural Center): Next to Rikuzen Haranomachi Station
Access (War Reconstruction Memorial Hall): 6-minute walk from Omachi Nishi-Koen Station
18. Holy Deer Antler Cutting Ritual
Kinkasan Island, Miyagi
Kinkasan is a holy island considered one of the three most sacred places in Tohoku. Much like Nara Park's famous deer, the deer of Kinkasan are considered messengers of the gods. In a ritual held every autumn, the deer's antlers are cut off (in order to make the male deer safer to be around). The antler cuttings are then turned into amulets, which can be purchased by visitors to the island.
Time: 11:00~, 13:30~ (2 rounds)
Event details: miyagi-kankou.com
Kinkasan deer details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Location: Kinkasan Koganeyama Shrine (金華山黄金山神社). Map here.
Access from Onagawa Sightseeing Pier (観光桟橋): 35 minutes by Ushio Planning boat (潮プラニング定期船). Boats typically run once a day on Sundays, but extra boats will be running October 4 in honor of the festival. See timetable here. The Onagawa Sightseeing Pier is a 10-minute walk from Onagawa Station.
Access from Ayukawa Port (鮎川港): 20 minutes by Dream Liner boat (ドリーム定期船) or Kaijo Taxi Kuroshio (海上タクシーくろしお). Dream Liner available Sundays only (timetable here). Ayukawa Port is 80 minutes by bus from Ishinomaki Station. Board Ayukawa Line (鮎川線) bus bound for Ayukawa Port. Alight at Ayukawa Port (the final stop). Bus timetable here (weekends & holidays).
19. Star Party in Minami Sanriku: Mars Approaches Jupiter & Saturn, Machitsuki
スターパーティーin南三陸 ～火星大接近 木星 土星 居待月
Come stargazing on the roof of Minamisanriku Hotel Kanyo, a seaside hotel known for its seafood and stunning open-air onsen baths. The hotel is located on the tranquil Shizugawa Bay, a Ramsar wetland with little light pollution. The stars will look of course look lovely to the naked eye, but the hotel will also have a telescope set up for closer viewing. Hotel Kanyo holds Star Parties about once a month, but this one is of special interest because of the planetary action in store this month: Mars will be approaching Jupiter and Saturn, an special sight you can observe through the hotel's telescope. These Star Parties are open to everyone, not just overnight guests. To see what one of their past Star Parties was like, check out their blog entry here.
20. Marumori Silk Festa in Sairi
October 6–November 1
Though nowadays a quaint small town, Marumori once flourished as a center of sericulture and the silk trade. Come learn about the area's historic craft and view beautiful works of silk art, including mayu (silk coccoon) crafts and fine silk kimono. The festival takes place at Sairi Yashiki, a complex of historic buildings once owned by the Saito family, wealthy merchants who lived in Marumori during its heyday.
Closed days: Mondays
Admission: Free with paid entry to Sairi Yashiki. Sairi Yashiki admission 620 adults, children 310.
Event details: miyagi-kankou.com
Sairi Yashiki details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Access: 30-minute walk or 2.5 kilometers by free rental cycle from Marumori Station. Rental cycle details here (English).
21. Sendai Oroshimachi Art Marche
Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai
Started in 2017, this art festival aims to make the Oroshimachi area of Sendai a hub of the local art scene. It features fun and free performance art and open-air artworks, plus workshops. In light of the coronavirus situation, this year the festival will also be offering a "Takeout" online program, so that the festival can be enjoyed even by those #stayinghomestayingsafe.
Time: Varies by program. All are between 10:30 and 22:00.
Fee: Varies by program, from free to ¥3,800
Reservations: Some of the paid performances required that tickets be purchased in advance.
Official website: oroche.me
Access (10-Box): 11-minute walk from Oroshimachi Station
Access (Noh-Box): 9-minute walk from Oroshimachi Station
22. Ranch Festival
A fun festival celebrating dairy and farm life at a small ranch in rural Fukushima. Highlights of the festival include a milk speed-drinking contest, cow-milking experiences, and butter making workshops. In addition to the festival events, the ranch features lots of cute and friendly farm mammals, a BBQ area, restaurant/market selling ranch-made products, and more.
Admission: Festival is free, admission to ranch is ¥300 adults & high school students, ¥150 children ages elementary to junior high.
Location: Koriyama Ishimushiro Fureai Ranch (郡山石筵ふれあい牧場). Map here.
Access: Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to the ranch at present. There used to be a public bus line that ran from Bandai-Atami Station to the ranch, but it was terminated last year. You can read more about it here.
23. Autumn Tomiya Sweets Fair
Tomiya, Miyagi's newest city, has been making a name for itself with its delicious sweets. They host multiple sweets festivals every year, 2020 being no exception. Their Autumn Sweets Fair is a takeout event, making it low-risk even in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The concept behind the event is simple: confectioners across Tomiya break out their best recipes incorporating autumn fruits (think fresh fig tarts, muscat parfaits, daifuku mochi filled with blueberry mousse . . . ), and have those sweets ready for walk-in purchases every day during the fair.
The fair also features a stamp rally, the prizes being gift cards in denominations of up to ¥10,000 good at any of the Autumn Sweets Fair shops.
24. Fukko Onagawa Sea Pal Event Train
To/From Misato & Onagwa, Miyagi
Fukko is an open-air event train that operates on scenic local lines in southern Tohoku on weekends and holidays. Fukko most often runs along the scenic Tadami Line in mountainous Aizu, but this year it will also run along the Ishinomaki Line through the from Misato to Onagawa, offering soothing views of farmland and sea.
Whether riding the Fukko or a regular train, Onagawa makes a great day-trip destination. Though 70% of the town was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami, it's done a great job of revitalizing itself into a charming fishing village and artisan hub, and even features an onsen bathouse right inside Onagawa Station!
Time: Departs 10:02 from Kogota Station, arrives in Onagawa at 11:42. Return trip departs Onagawa Station at 14:13, arrives at Kogota Station at 16:01.
Fee: The standard fare for the ride between your starting point and destination, plus ¥530 for the seat reservation. For example, the fee for riding Fukko the full distance from Kogota to Onagawa is ¥1,390 (¥860 train fare + ¥530 reserved seat fee).
Event train details: jr-sendai.com
Onagawa Town details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Location: Runs between Kogota & Onagawa Stations, making stops at Wakuya Station & Ishinomaki Station.
Access: From Kogota, Onagawa, Wakuya, Ishinomaki, or Onagawa Stations
25. Ebisu Festival
Kinkasan Island, Miyagi
A shrine festival dedicated to Ebisu, god of fishermen and good luck. Shrine maidens will perform a prayer dance in front of the Ebisu Sonzo at Koganeyama Shrine on Kinkasan, a holy island considered one of the three most sacred places in Tohoku.
Event details: miyagi-kankou.or.jp
Kinkasan Island details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Location: Kinkasan Koganeyama Shrine (金華山黄金山神社). Map here.
Access from Onagawa Sightseeing Pier (観光桟橋): 35 minutes by Ushio Planning boat (潮プラニング定期船). Available Sundays, holidays, & some Saturdays. See timetable here. The Onagawa Sightseeing Pier is a 10-minute walk from Onagawa Station.
Access from Ayukawa Port (鮎川港): 20 minutes by Dream Liner boat (ドリーム定期船) or Kaijo Taxi Kuroshio (海上タクシーくろしお). Dream Liner available Sundays only (timetable here). Ayukawa Port is 80 minutes by bus from Ishinomaki Station. Board Ayukawa Line (鮎川線) bus bound for Ayukawa Port. Alight at Ayukawa Port (the final stop). Bus timetable here (weekdays) and here (weekends & holidays).
26. Kochia Fall Colors at Michinoku Park
Kochia are adorable green shrubs that turn a Seuss-like magenta in autumn. Pictures of the ones at the Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki often go viral online. Miyagi's own Michinoku Park is home to a field of them too! Though not as famous as the one in Ibaraki, the advantage is that Miyagi's kochia field is much less crowded.
Admission: ¥450 adults ages 15 & up, seniors ages 65 & up, children free
Kochia status & updates: facebook.com/michinoku.park
Park details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Access: By Akiu・Kawasaki Sendai Seibu Liner bus (秋保・川崎 仙台西部ライナー): 80 minutes from Sendai Station. Board bus bound for Kawasaki-machi (かわさきまち) at Sendai Station Bus Stop #63. Alight at Michinoku Koenguchi (みちのく公園口). See timetable here.
27. Tsurugajo Castle Fall Colors Light-Up
October 16–November 15
With its unusual red tile roof, Tsurugajo is one of the most photogenic castles in Japan. At this evening event, enjoy the dramatic view of the castle illuminated, framed by fiery autumn leaves of the trees in the surrounding park.
Event details: aizukanko.com
Castle details (English): fukushima.travel
Location: Tsurugajo Castle (鶴ヶ城). Map here.
Access: By bus from Aizuwakamatsu Station, followed by a 5-minute walk. Alight at Tsuragajo Kitaguchi (鶴ヶ城北口) bus stop. Bus info here (English).
Access from Sendai: Aizu-Wakamatsu is about 150 minutes from Sendai by direct highway bus. No reservations needed. Timetable here.
28. Aota Premium Concert: Trancest
October 18 (online version November 22)
Atoa is a professional taiko drumming group known for their stunning traditional performances as well more avant-garde work. On October 18, they’ll be performing at the Tagajo Bunka Center Hall! This year’s Tagajo concert, called Trancest, will feature Atoa taiko accompanied by music, dance, and performing arts. The accompanying arts range from ancient Noh theater to contemporary singer-songwriters.
For those avoiding live events due to concern over coronavirus, Atoa is also offering an online version on November 22.
Time (live show): Doors open 16:00, concert starts 17:00 October 18
Time (online version): Video transmission begins 20:00 November 22
Tickets: ¥4,500, must be purchased in advance. Purchase through the Atoa Line Store, or by email at email@example.com
Location (live concert): Tagajo Bunka Center (多賀城文化センター). Map here.
Access: 6-minute walk from Tagajo Station
29. Miyagi Giant Chrysanthemum Show in Shibata
The cultivation of decorative giant chrysanthemums has a long history in Japan, and exhibiting them is a traditional autumn activity. Nowadays, most of these chrysanthemum shows feature two main sections: one showing off the most beautiful of these giant flowers in simple presentations, and the other sculptures, often human figures called "kiku ningyo," covered in chrysanthemum "clothes." The largest of these festivals were cancelled this year due to concern over coronavirus, but this smaller festival near Sendai is still on.
30. Akiu Night Museum
One of the most impressive autumn light-ups in Japan is right here in Sendai City! This artistic illumination won a DARC award in year, and features not only Instagenic views but also interactive aspects too, like a tree that makes noises if you hug it tree. The light-up takes place at Tenshukaku Gardens in Akiu Onsen, a nature leisure area featuring a traditional strolling garden, onsen baths, and a campground.
Hours: 17:00–21:00 (last entry 20:30)
Admission: Adults & children middle school and up ¥500, Children ages 4 to junior high ¥200
Event details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Tenshukaku Gardens details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Official website: akiu-sizen.co.jp
Location: Tenshukaku Gardens (天守閣自然公園). Map here.
Access: About 60 minutes by bus from Sendai Station, followed by a 15-minute walk. From Sendai Station West Exit Bus Pool Stop #8 (仙台駅西口バスプール８番), board bus bound for Akiu Onsen (秋保温泉). Alight at Akiu Onsen Yumoto (秋保温泉湯元) bus stop. Abridged timetable here.
31. Rairaikyo Gorge Momiji Path Light-Up
October 24–November 15
Akiu area, Sendai
The fall foliage lining the narrow and rocky Rairikyo Gorge in Akiu Onsen is illuminated, making for a mysterious and beautiful nighttime stroll. In addition to the light up, hot drinks and an onsen-water footbath will be offered.
Event details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Rairaikyo Gorge details (English): visitmiyagi.com
Event details (Japanese): sentabi.jp
Location: Rairaikyo Gorge (磊々峡). Map here.
Access from Sendai Station by city bus: About 50 minutes. At Sendai Station West Exit Bus Pool 8 (仙台駅西口バスプール８番のりば), board Akiu Line (秋保線) bus bound for Akiu Onsen (秋保温泉). Alight at Nozokibashi (のぞき橋) or Akiu Sato Center (秋保・里センター) bus stop. Rairaikyo Gorge is near the Nozokibashi bus stop. From the Akiu Sato Center bus stop, the gorge is a 3-minute walk. Abridged timetable here. (The Nozokibashi bus stop isn't listed on the abridged timetable, but it's one stop before Akiu Sato Center.)
Access from Sendai Station by Seibu Liner bus: About 40 minutes, followed by a 3-minute walk. From Sendai Station Bus Stop 63 (仙台駅63番のりば), board Akiu・Kawasaki Sendai Seibu Liner (秋保・川崎 仙台西部ライナー) bus bound for Kawasaki-machi (かわさきまち). Alight at Akiu Sato Center (秋保・里センター) bus stop. Timetable here.
Access from Ayashi Station: 15 minutes by bus. From Ayashi Station Bus Platform 2 (愛子駅２番乗り場), board a #83, 84, 85, 86, or 87 Akiu Homen Line (秋保方面線) bus bound for Uenohara (上ノ原), Nojiri (野尻町北) or Futakuchi (二口). Alight at Rairaikyo Iriguchi (磊々峡入口) bus stop. Bus map here, timetable here.
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