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Event Roundup: October 2021

Brighten your autumn with fall foliage and cultural events galore

· Events,Autumn

1. Sendai Independants

せんだいアンデパンダン展

Through October 10

Central Sendai

An art exhibition inspired by the radical 1884 exhibition in Paris, Le salon des indépendants, which had neither a selection jury nor awards. Ten Sendai art galleries collaborate on this similarly democratic and free-spirited annual art show.

Hours: Varies by venue

Closed days: Mondays (all venues)

Admission: Free

Official website: sendai21-independants.com

Locations: 10 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. Autumn Tomiya Sweets Fair

秋のとみやスイーツフェア

Through October 10

Tomiya, Miyagi

Tomiya, Miyagi's newest city, has been making a name for itself with its delicious sweets. They host multiple sweets festivals every year, 2021 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.

Hours: Varies by shop. See link for list.

Admission: Free

Details: tomiya-city.miyagi.jp

Location: Various bakeries and pastry shops across Tomiya. Map here.

Access: By bus from Izumi-Chuo Station. Exact route varies by shop.

3. Fall Colors on Mt. Kurikoma

栗駒山の紅葉

Through October 10

Kurihara, Miyagi

Mount Kurikoma considered the best day hike in Miyagi, and the views are at their most stunning during fall color season. Enjoy bright autumn foliage and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Hours: Always open

Details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Mount Kurikoma (栗駒山). Map here.

Access by Kurikomayama Koyogo Bus: 70 minutes from Kurikoma-Kogen Station (くりこま高原駅), or 90 minutes from Ishikoshi Station (石越駅). At either Station, board a Kurikomayama Koyogo (栗駒山 紅葉号) bus bound for Iwakagamidaira (いわかがみ平). Alight at Iwakagamidaira, the final stop. The Koyogo Bus runs weekends and holidays during fall color season, no reservations necessary. Operation dates and timetable details here (English).

Access by Sukawa Onsen Line bus: 90 minutes from Ichinoseki Station. At the bus stop in front of Ichinoseki Station (一関駅前), board a Sukawa Onsen Line (須川温泉線) bus bound for Sukawa Onsen (須川温泉). Alight at Sukawa Onsen, the final stop. The Sukawa Line bus runs late April–late October for 2021. Due to heavy snow, there is no bus service in winter. Operation dates and timetable here.

4. Hijiori Lantern Festival

肘折の灯

Through October 10

Hijiori Onsen, Yamagata

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 lend a romantic ambiance to the streets of this charming onsen village, the perfect place for a stroll on an autumn evening.

Hours: 18:00–20:30

Admission: Free

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 by the 48 Liner highway bus. For 48 Liner info, see here.

5. Tom & Jerry Cartoon Carnival

トムとジェリーカートゥーンカーニバル

Through October 17

Central Sendai

A celebration of the classic cat-and-mouse cartoon Tom and Jerry. Highlights include trick art photo ops, limited-edition Tom and Jerry merch, and original Tom and Jerry–inspired art made by Japanese artists.

Hours: 11:00–19:00 (last entry 18:30)

Closed days: None

Admission: ¥900 adults, ¥600 children ages high school & younger, children ages 3 & younger free

Official website: warnerbros.co.jp

Location: Sendai Forus (仙台フォーラス). Map here.

Access: A 1-minute walk from Hirose-dori Station, a 4-minute walk from Aoba-dori Ichibancho Station, or a 15-minute walk from Sendai Station

6. Festival Fukushima! 2021: The Will to Cross Borders

フェスティバルFukushima 2021 :越境する意志

Through October 17

Fukushima City, Fukushima

Festival Fukushima! and its past incarnations were begun in 2013, two years after the notorious partial nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. Back then, its mission was to create something positive to associate with "Fukushima" to help combat the shadow cast on the prefecture by the TEPCO disaster. Its mission continues in that same vein, this year with the added intention of giving everyone something which can be enjoyed in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. The festival features works of contemporary art at the spacious and touristic Village of Four Seasons park.  

Hours: Weekends & holidays 12:00–17:00

Closed days: Weekdays

Admission: ¥1,000 adults, Children ages elementary school & younger free

Details: pj-fukushima.jp

Location: Village of Four Seasons Ikoi no Yakata (四季の里 / 憩いの館). Map here.

Access: 30–40 minutes from Fukushima Station, followed by a short walk. At Fukushima Station East Exit (福島駅東口), board bus bound for Tsuchiyu Onsen (土湯温泉). Alight at Shiki no Sato Iriguchi (四季の里入口) or Shiki no Sato (四季の里) bus stop. The Shiki no Sato Iriguchi bus stop takes 30 minutes to reach by bus; venue is a 7-minute walk from the bus stop. The Shiki no Sato bus stop takes 40 minutes to reach by bus; venue is a 1-minute walk from the stop.

7. Fairytale Village Light-Up

童話村の森ライトアップ

Through October 17

Hanamaki, Iwate

A colorful illumination event at the Miyazawa Kenji Fairytale Village. Kenji Miyazawa was a writer born in Hanamaki who lived during the late Taisho–early Showa period. Though a (posthumously) celebrated poet and novelist, it is his children's literature that has become the most famous—his best known work being Night on the Galactic Railroad. This museum, located in his hometown, celebrates his contributions to children's literature in particular. This light up event, taking place in the gardens that surround the Fairytale Village museum, imparts a fantasy-like atmosphere that will transport visitors to another world, much like Miyazawa's books.

Hanamaki is encouraging visitors to take advantage of the city's public transportation by offering a fantastic bargain: ride a Tsuchizawa Line bus and receive a ticket good for free admission to 5 museums and sightseeing facilities in Hanamaki, including Fairytale Village! See bus timetable link for details.

Hours: Weekends sundown–21:00

Closed days: Closed weekdays. If a public holiday falls on a weekday, it will be open.

Admission: Free

Details: kanko-hanamaki.ne.jp

Location: Miyazawa Kenji Fairytale Village (宮沢賢治童話村). Map here.

Access on foot: 29-minute walk from Shin-Hanamaki Station

Access by bus: 2 minutes by bus from Shin-Hanamaki Station or 17-minutes by bus from Hanamaki Station, followed by a 5-minute walk. Board a Tsuchizawa Line (土沢線) bus, alight at Kenji Kinenkan-guchi (賢治記念館口) bus stop. Timetables here (click "土沢時刻表" link near bottom of page).

8. Fall colors on Mt. Zao & along the Zao Echo Line

蔵王山と蔵王エコーラインの紅葉

Through late October

Zao-machi, Miyagi

The Zao Echo Line is a scenic two-lane highway through the Mount Zao area connecting Miyagi and Yamagata, a route at it's most scenic during autumn. It makes an excellent route for cycling, or for a leisurely drive. Autumn also makes a great time of year to hike the mountain itself, as the foliage is colorful and the temperature neither too hot nor too cold.

Hours: 24/7 through late October. After that date, the Echo Line and High Line may be closed from 17:00–20:00 due to the potential hazard of icy roads.

Fee: Free, except for the Zao High Line (ハイライン), the short but steep road leading from the Echo Line to Okama Crater. The High Line toll is ¥550 for regular vehicles, ¥390 for two-wheeled vehicles (bicycles prohibited on the High Line).

Fall color status: zao-machi.com

Mt. Zao details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Zao Echo Line details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Mount Zao (蔵王山) & Zao Echo Line (蔵王エコーライン). Map here.

Access from Shiroishi & Shiroishizao Stations: 90 minutes by bus to the Mount Zao summit parking lot. The bus ride there is along the Zao Echo Line. If you aren't interested in going all the way to the summit, alight at one of the vista point bus stops along the way and catch a later bus to head back down. At Shiroishizao Station (白石蔵王駅) or Shiroishi Station (白石駅), board Zao High Line (蔵王ハイライン) bus bound for Zao Togatta Sancho (蔵王遠刈田山頂). Timetable here (English).

Access from Yamagata Station: About 100 minutes by bus to the Mount Zao summit parking lot.

From Bus Platform 1 in front of Yamagata Station (山形駅前1番), board bus bound for Zao Onsen・Togatta Sancho (蔵王温泉・遠刈田山頂). Alight at Zao Togatta Sancho (遠刈田山頂), the final stop. There is only one bus a day that goes all the way to the summit, so please be mindful of the schedule. Timetables here.

Access from Kaminoyamaonsen Station: About 60 minutes by free shuttle bus. The bus stop is located across the plaza from the station, in front of the Kaminoyama Onsen Sightseeing Information Center (かみのやま温泉観光案内所). From there, board a Green Echo Go bus (グリーンエコー号) bus bound for Togatta Chushajo (遠刈田駐車場). Alight at Togatta Chushajo, the final stop. Timetable here. Timetables in English are available at the Kaminoyama Onsen Sightseeing Information Center.

9. Special Opening of the Fukushima Geihinkan

福島県迎賓館特別公開

Through November 7

Inawashiro, Fukushima

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. Includes admission to both facilities, and tea service at Tenkyokaku.

Reservation: Required at least 2 days in advance

Special opening details: 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.

10. Miyagi Arts Festival

宮城県芸術祭

Through November 12

Central Sendai

The Miyagi Arts Festival is an assortment of fine and performing arts events rolled into one umbrella "festival." Events include live music and dance performances, plus visual arts exhibitions. The arts on display includes traditional Japanese arts like shodo calligraphy and kado flower arranging; other arts include carving and photography. The events are varied and take place at several different venues located across central Sendai. If you're not sure exactly where to start, or would like more info, head to the main event venue: sendai mediatheque.

Hours: Varies by venue and event

Admission: Varies by venue and event. Admission to the main venue is ¥500 adults, children ages high school & younger free.

Reservations: None needed for exhibitions, but may be required for some performances and concerts.

Event details: miyagiart.com

Sendai mediatheque details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Various venues throughout Central Sendai. The main venue is sendai mediatheque (せんだいメディアテーク). Map here.

Access: 6-minute walk from Kotodai-koen Station

11. Sendai Wara Art 

せんだいわらアート

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.

Hours: 9:00–17:00

Admisson: Free

Details: sendai-nogyo-engei-center.jp

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.

12. Ishinomaki Hitohako Secondhand Book Market

石巻一箱古本市

October 2

Ishinomaki, Miyagi

A laid-back secondhand book market full of indie book-lover spirit! Book-loving shop owners in Ishinomaki round up books they feel it's come time to part with, and set them in cardboard boxes outside storefronts in the downtown shopping district. Rummaging around in the boxes has all the fun of a treasure hunt, and the chance of finding some true hidden gems!

Hours: 11:00–15:00

Admission: Free

Details: bookishinomaki.com

Location: Along the Ishininomaki Chuo Shotengai (石巻中央商店街) street. Map here (Irori Ishinomaki, a shop/cafe along the street, is pinned).

Access: 10-minute walk from Ishinomaki Station

13. Takahata Illumination

星と光が灯す古の夜

October 2–3

Takahata, Yamagata

Have the Matsushima and Akiu autumn illuminations gotten too mainstream for you? Then check out this new, still-under-the-radar illumination in Takahata. The trees, shrine, and pagoda will all be colorfully illuminated, making for a memorable sights and distinctive photos. In addition to the light up, there will also be live music, crafting experiences, and food trucks.

Hours: 17:00–21:00 October 2, 17:00–20:00 October 3

Admission: Free

Details: town.takahata.yamagata.jp

Location: Mahoroba Inishie no Sato Historical Park (まほろば古の里歴史公園). Map here.

14. Zuihoden Mausoleum Special Opening 

秋の瑞鳳殿特別御開帳

Central Sendai

October 2–17

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

Location: Zuihoden (瑞鳳殿). Map here.
Access by subway: 20-minute walk from Omachi Nishi-Koen Station
Access by bus: 15 minutes from Sendai Station. At Sendai Station, board Sendai Loople Bus. Alight at bus stop #4 Zuihoden Mausoleum. Loople bus details here (English).

15. Choo Choo Choose: A Kazumi Ohta Solo Exhibition

太田和美個展「choo choo choose」

October 2–17

Shiogama, Miyagi

Kazumi Ohta is a Miyagi-based performance and contemporary artist who has exhibited extensively in her home prefecture, but also at Tokyo venues like 8/ Shibuya Hikarie. The focus of the exhibition will be her Hoyapai, performance and visual art inspired by Butoh dance and the shape of sea squirts, called hoya in Japanese—hence the name "Hoyapai."

Hours: 10:00–17:00 (last entry 16:30)

Closed days: Mondays. In the event Monday is a public holiday, the museum will be open Monday and closed the following day.

Admission: ¥200 adults, ¥100 high school students, children ages junior high & younger free

Languages: English OK. If the work you are interested in has no English signage, English speaking volunteers will be on hand to introduce the works.

Exhibition details: sugimurajun.shiomo.jp

Venue details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Shiogama Sugimura Jun Museum of Art (塩竃市杉村惇美術館). Map here.

Access: 10-minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station

16. Rainbow Road Light Up & Evening Prayer at Mt. Haguro

国宝『羽黒山五重塔』ライトアップによる夜間参拝

October 2–17

Haguro, Yamagata

The Dewa Sanzan is a sacred area that belongs in a league of its own. It is neither Shinto nor Buddhist, but the home of the syncretic religion Shugendo. Religious taxonomy aside, the holy atmosphere of the area is evident even to the most casual of visitors. The Dewa Sanzan consists of three holy mountains, with Mount Haguro being the easiest to access. Rainbow Road is an extra-colorful version of the temple's standard summer light up. Visitors can walk the pilgrims' path at night, through the forest to the Mount Haguro Pagoda, a National Treasure and the focal point of the illumination. Though this event was originally scheduled to end October 3, it's been extended through October 17.

Hours: 17:30–20:30 (last entry 20:00)

Fee: The temple requests that adults make a donation of at least ¥500

Details: mokkedano.net

Location: Mount Haguro Five-Storied Pagoda (羽黒山 五重塔). Map here.

Access: 40 minutes by bus from Tsuruoka Station. At bus platform #1 in front of Tsuruoka Station (鶴岡駅前1のりば), board bus bound for Haguro Sancho (羽黒山頂). Alight at Haguro Center (羽黒センター). Timetables here, English bus info here. NOTE: Though the instructions say to get off at "Haguro Center," that stop isn't actually listed on the timetable. Play it safe by confirming which stop to alight at with the sightseeing information desk at Tsuruoka Station or the bus driver before departing. If you go by bus, you'll need to spend the night near the temple. Fortunately, there are numerous charming accommodations nearby; we recommend one of the pilgrims lodgings at the base of the temple approach.

17. Dorohedoro  Exhibition: The World of Q Hayashida

ドロヘドロ原画展~林田球の世界~

October 2–January 10
Ishinomaki, Miyagi

Dorohedoro is a dark fantasy/sci fi manga series by Q Hayashida, recently turned into an anime. The main protagonist is a Caiman, a reptilian-headed amnesiac struggling to survive in a strange and violent world while trying to recover his memories. This exhibition is the first large-scale exhibition of paintings by the artist.

Hours: 9:00–18:00 (~17:00 December–February)

Closed days (for October): October 19

Admission: ¥840 adults, ¥520 junior high school students, ¥210 elementary school students, children ages preschool & younger free

Details: mangattan.jp

Location: Ishinomaki Mangattan Museum (石森萬画館). Map here.

Access: 15-minute walk from Ishinomaki Station

18. National Pottery Fair in Miyagi

全国やきものフェアinみやぎ

October 7–11

Miyagino Ward, Sendai

97 kilns from across Japan are gathering for this year's National Pottery Fair in Miyagi! Potters from near and far, famous and obscure, will represent at this year's fair. Pottery newbies will enjoy feasting their eyes on pieces from some of Japan's most renowned ceramics districts like Arita and Bizen, while pottery aficionados will enjoy discovering lesser known kilns from across the country, like Shisuigama from Shimane and Miyagi's own Emishi Kobo. In addition to pottery, 24 other artisans will also represent, working in a wide range of mediums from metal to paulownia wood to amber.

Hours: 10:00–17:00

Admission: ¥500 at the door

Official website: yakimono.miyagi.jp

Location: Yume Messe Miyagi (夢メッセみやぎ). Map here.

Access: 23-minute walk from Nakanosakae Station

19. Kanahebisui Shrine Fall Festival

金蛇水神社秋まつり

October 10

Iwanuma, Miyagi

Kanahebisui Shrine is one of Miyagi's liveliest shrines. Despite its out-of-the-way location, go on a weekend and you'll find it bustling with sightseers, locals basking in the shrine's gentle nature, and worshippers who have come in supplication—praying to the gods for blessings of wealth, luck, healing, and more. At the shrine's annual fall festival, you can watch mikomai (shrine maiden's ceremonial dance), a beautiful yet rarely witnessed part of Shinto culture.

Hours: 10:00–14:00. Shrine maiden dances start at 10:30 and 13:30.

Admission: Free

Shrine details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Event details: kanahebi.cdx.jp

Location: Kanahebisui Shrine (金蛇水神社). Map here.

Access on foot: 40-minute walk from Iwanuma Station

Access by bus: 15 minutes from Iwanuma Station, followed by a 10-minute walk. At the Iwanuma Station West Exit bus stop (駅西口), board a Daishi Line (大師線) bound for Daishi (大師), or a Tozai Junkan Line Omawari Course (東西循環線大回コース) loop bus. Alight at Hanatopia-mae (ハナトピア前) bus stop. Bus maps and timetables here (Daishi Line) and here (Tozai Junkan Line).

20. Ebisu Festival 

恵比須祭

October 10

Kinkasan Island, Miyagi

A shrine festival dedicated to Ebisu, god of fishermen and good luck. Shrine maidens will perform a cermonial 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.

Time: 12:00–12:40

Admission: Free

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, some Saturdays, and on island festival days. 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).

21. Naruko Gorge fall colors

鳴子峡の紅葉

Mid-October to early November

Osaki, Miyagi

Naruko Gorge is probably the most famous autumn color destination in Miyagi, with the image of Obukasawa Bridge breaking through a sea of red and gold widely recognized even overseas. Though the iconic view of the bridge can be viewed from the convenience of the viewing platform, you'd be remiss not to also explore the nature trail inside the gorge and have a look at the foliage from below—reds, golds, and jagged spurs of rock stretched out overhead.

Hours: The observation deck is always open. The walking trail is open 9:00–16:00.

Admission: Free

Details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Naruko Gorge (鳴子峡). Map here.

Access from Nakayamadairaonsen Station: A 25-minute walk, or 5 minutes by bus. Board a Koyo Go (紅葉号) bus bound for Naruko-Onsen Station (鳴子温泉駅). Alight at Naruko-kyo Nakayamadairaguchi (鳴子峡中山平口) bus stop. Timetable here (English).

Access from Naruko-Onsen Station: 13 minutes by bus. At Naruko-Onsen Station (鳴子温泉駅), board a Koyo-Go (紅葉号) bus bound for Nakayamadaira-Onsen Station (中山平温泉駅), alight at Naruko-kyo Nakayamadairaguchi (鳴子峡中山平口) bus stop. Timetable here (English).

22. Kochia Fall Colors at Michinoku Park

みちのく公園のコキア紅葉

Mid-October to early November

Kawasaki, Miyagi

Kochia are adorable green shrubs that turn magenta in autumn, looking like something you'd see in a Dr. Seuss book. Pictures of the ones at the Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki often go viral online, but 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.

Hours: 9:30–17:00

Admission: ¥450 adults ages 15 & up, seniors ages 65 & up, children free

Details: michinoku-park.info

Park details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Michinoku Park (みちのく公園). Map here.

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). Timetable here.

23. Home Movie Day: Nostalgic Sendai 8mm Film Screening

ホームムービーの日「なつかし仙台8ミリフィルム上映会」

October 16

Central Sendai

Photo by Noom Peerapong on Unsplash

Step back to simpler times at the Sendai City Museum of History and Folklore's 8mm home video day. The films being screened are all real home videos recorded by residents of Sendai. For local Japanese families, these videos will deliver a hefty does of nostalgia. For those of us who have moved to the city only recently, these films offer a glimpse into the everyday Sendai of bygone eras.

Hours: 10:00–11:30 & 13:30–15:00

Fee: Event is free with purchase of museum admission. Museum admission is 240 adults, 180 high school students, 120 junior high & elementary students.

Details: sendai-c.ed.jp

Location: Sendai City Museum of History & Folklore (仙台市歴史民俗資料館). Map here.

Access: 7-minute walk from Tsutsujigaoka Station, or 17-minute walk from Sendai Station.

24. Discover Taiwan in Sendai

Discover Taiwan in 仙台

October 16–17

Central Sendai

A festival celebrating Taiwanese culture, and the friendship between Sendai and Tainan, one of Sendai's two Exchange Promotion Cities. Participate in Taiwanese cultural experiences like Taiwanese tea ceremony, a mini Taiwanese language lesson and getting a Taiwanese caricature of yourself drawn. In addition to the experiences and photo ops, there will also be market stalls selling Taiwanese specialties like sweets, seasonings, handicrafts, and CIY (cook-it-yourself) Taiwanese meal kits.

Hours: 11:00–18:00

Admission: Free

Official website: discover-taiwan.jp

Location: Sunmall Ichibancho Shotengai. Map here.

Access: 2-minute walk from Aoba-dori Ichibancho Station, or 9-minute walk from Sendai Station

25. Oroshimachi Fureai Market

卸町ふれあい市

October 16–17

Central Sendai

As its name implies, Oroshimachi is the wholesale district of Sendai. In contrast to the retail shopping areas near Sendai Station, Oroshimachi is home to factories and wholesalers, many of which offer direct sales to individuals from their Oroshimachi storefronts. With its festive atmosphere and event-only specials, the Fureai Market is an especially good time to get to know Oroshimachi.

Hours: 9:00–16:30 Saturday, 9:00–15:00 Sunday

Admission: Free

Official website: oc.sendai.ne.jp/fureai

Location: Participating shops in the Oroshimachi area. Map here.

Access: 7-minute walk from Oroshimachi Station

26. Carving Exhibition at Sairi Yashiki

カービング展

October 19–November 7

Marumori, Miyagi

An exhibition of all sorts of carving, from stone to fruit. In addition to viewing these works of art, visitors will also be able to try their hand at making a carving of their own (medium TBA)! The exhibition takes place at the historical and beautiful Sairi Yashiki property, home to the former residence and storehouses of a wealthy Taisho-era merchant family.

Hours: 9:30–16:00

Closed days: Mondays

Admission: Free with Sairi Yashiki admission. Sairi Yashiki admission is ¥620 adults, ¥310 children.

Event details: miyagi-kankou.or.jp

Sairi Yashiki details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Sairi Yashiki (齋理屋敷). Map here.

Access: 2.5 kilometers from Marumori Station, on foot or by rental cycle

27. Art or Treat

October 23

Shiogama, Miyagi

The Sugimura Jun Museum of Art's fabulous art-themed Halloween event is back for 2021! Called Art or Treat, their unique Halloween even combines the best of cosplay, machiaruki, and local gourmet to create an all-ages trick-or-treating event (Children are welcome, but those under age 9 must be accompanied by an adult). Join locals wearing larger-than-life costumes inspired by beloved local artists as well as famous ones—Jun Sugimura, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, and others—for a stroll in downtown Shiogama, collecting handmade sweets from local shops along the way.

Hours: 10:00–12:00 & 13:00–15:00

Fee: ¥500

Reservations: Required, can book online in English.

Languages: English OK

Details (English): sugimurajun.shiomo.jp

Meeting point: Shiogama Sugimura Jun Museum of Art (塩竃市杉村惇美術館). Map here.

Access: 10-minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station

28. Akiu Lumina

アキウルミナ

October 23–November 21

Akiu Onsen, Sendai

Akiu Lumina the new umbrella name for all of the light-ups and other autumn events in Akiu area. It encompasses the award-winning Akiu Night Museum (see #29 for details), the longstanding Rairaikyo Gorge light up, and assorted smaller illuminations at attractions throughout the Akiu Onsen area, including Akiu Winery and Akiusha Restaurant. In addition to the open-air illuminations, galleries and workshops in the area will be offering special exhibitions, the most notable being the exhibition and projection installation at the Sasaki Art & Doll Museum. In conjunction with Akiu Lumina, cafes and restaurants and in the area will be offering extended evening hours.

Hours: 17:00–21:00 for main venues, others vary. See website for operating hours of individual venues.

Admission: Free, except for the Akiu Night Museum and Sasaki Art & Doll Museum admission. A joint admission ticket to both venues is ¥1,600.

Event details: akiulumina.jp

Location: Throughout the Akiu Onsen area. Map here (sightseeing & transportation hub Akiu Sato Center is pinned.)

Access by city bus: About 50 minutes from Sendai Station. 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). Exact bus stop to alight at varies by desired destination, but the Akiu Sato Center (秋保・里センター) bus stop is a good one for accessing the central Akiu Onsen town area and Rairaikyo Gorge. Details here.

Access by Seibu Liner bus: About 40 minutes from Sendai Station. 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.

29. Akiu Night Museum 

天守閣自然公園もみじライトアップ2020秋保ナイトミュージアム

October 23–November 23

Akiu Onsen, Sendai

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 ages high school & up ¥800, Children ages 4 to junior high ¥200

Tenshukaku Gardens details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Akiu Night Museum 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.

30. Taisho Koto Exhibition

大正琴展

October 26–November 7

Marumori, Miyagi

The koto is the national instrument of Japan. Come view antique koto—and even get to try playing one(!)—at this special exhibition. The venue is the historical and beautiful Sairi Yashiki, the former residence and storehouses of a prosperous Taisho-era merchant family.

Hours: 9:30–16:00

Closed days: Mondays

Admission: Free with purchase of Sairi Yashiki admission. Sairi Yashiki admission is ¥620 adults, ¥310 children.

Event details: miyagi-kankou.or.jp

Sairi Yashiki details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Sairi Yashiki (齋理屋敷). Map here.

Access: 2.5 kilometers from Marumori Station, on foot or by rental cycle

31. Art Meets Cookie

アートミーツクッキー

October 30

Fukushima City, Fukushima

Contemporary art in good taste! At this unusual event, visitors will have the chance to collaborate with a professional artist on their own work of art. The medium? Delicious cookies! Naturally, visitors will be able to take their creation home with them.

Hours: 9:30–14:30

Admission: Special exhibition ¥100. Permanent exhibition 380 adults & college students, 100 children ages high school & younger. All admission fees include a souvenir postcard.

Reservation: None needed

Official website: friday-screen.com/amc

Location: Fukushima Museum of Art (福島県立美術館). Map here.

Access: 2-minute walk from Bijutsutoshokan-mae Station, or 21-minute walk from Fukushima Station

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