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Event Roundup: September 2020

Fall flowers, anime exhibitions, and more!

· Events,Autumn

1. Creepy Animal Exhibition

キモだめし展

Through September 5

Central Sendai

Summer is Japan's favorite time of year for giving each other the creeps, tradition holding that the "chill down your spine" you get from being spooked is literal, that it can help cool you off in the heat of summer. At the Kimo Dameshiten, get your dose of the creepy crawlies by looking at, well, creepy crawlies: tarantulas, geckos, giant insects, and more! Knowing those animals are really alive, separated from you by only a thin plate of glass, will either send that chill down your spine or give you a major dose of moe, depending on where you draw the line as to which animals are cute and which aren't.

Hours: 11:00–19:00 (last entry 30 minutes prior to closing)

Admission: ¥800 adults & children ages middle school & up, ¥600 children ages 4 to elementary school, children ages 3 & under free

Details: kimodameshiten.jp

Location: EBeanS (イービーンズ). Map here.

Access: Across the street from Sendai Station

2. The Aoyama Family and the Rise and Fall of the Herring Fisheries in Hokkaido

青山家と鯡

Through September 27

Yuza, Yamagata

Though better known as a herring baron of Hokkaido, Tomekichi Aoyama was actually born into a poor family in Yuza, Yamagata. It was later in life that he managed to turn his family's fortunes around by achieving great wealth through herring fishing in southwestern Hokkaido. Using the fortune he amassed through the herring trade, he built his family back in Yuza a proper residence befitting of a wealthy family of the Meiji era. This impressive residence has been well-preserved and is designated a National Cultural Property. During this special exhibition, the residence will also feature displays introducing the history of the Aoyama family specifically related to how Tomekichi Aoyama built his herring empire.

Hours: 9:30–16:30 (last entry 16:00)

Closed days: Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, the residence will be open Monday and closed the next non-holiday day.)

Language: Limited English

Admission: ¥400 adults, ¥300 college & high school students, ¥200 elementary & junior high students

Details: town.yuza.yamagata.jp

Location: The Former Aoyama Residence (旧青山邸). Map here.

Access: 7 kilometers from Yuza Station by taxi or free rent-a-cycle. Bicycle rental details here.

3. Abukuma Riverboat Imoni Cruise

阿武隈ライン舟下り「いも煮舟」

Marumori, Miyagi

Through September 29

Imonikai are a beloved autumn tradition in Miyagi and Yamagata, where friends and family gather along riverbanks to cook and eat imoni (a traditional potato-and-taro stew). The Abukuma Riverboat cruises give visitors a taste of this tradition by serving imoni right on the boat, for passengers to enjoy as they gaze out at the passing scenery—an imonikai on the water.

If you can't be bothered to make a reservation or are concerned about coronavirus, food-free cruises are also available year-round with no reservations required. The boats are open-air (except in winter), allowing passengers to enjoy the gentle river valley breeze and keeping the viral load in the air to a minimum.

Hours (imoni cruises): Depart at 11:30 & 13:00

Hours (regular cruises): Departures at 10:00, 11:30, 13:00, 14:30 weekdays; 9:00, 10:00, 11:30, 13:00, 14:30, 15:30 weekends & holidays

Fee: ¥2,200 adults, ¥1,600 children (includes cruise ticket, imoni stew, and a rice ball)

Reservations: Required for imoni cruises. must be for 3 or more people, made at least 3 days in advance.

Official website: marumori.jp

Abukuma riverboat cruise details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Abukuma Riverboat Cruise Pier (阿武隈舟下り乗船場). Map here.

Access: 20-minute walk or about 2 kilometers by free rental cycle from Marumori Station. Cycle rental details here (English).

4. Rice Paddy Art Along the Nairiku Line

内陸線田んぼアート

Through September 30

Between Kakunodate & Kitaakita, Akita

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.

The Nairiku Line is a great tanbo art destination because you get to see more than just one artwork—several rice paddies along the Nairiku Line serve as canvases. You don't even need to leave the train to get a good view of the art, so it's super convenient for those who are mobility-challenged or don't have car.

Hours: Tanbo artworks are always open. Check the Nairiku Line timetables if you want to ride the train to view them. Timetables here.

Closed days: None

Admission: Viewing the tanbo art is free. Riding the train costs the standard fare. Riding the entire length of the Nairiku Line so you can see all the artworks costs ¥1,700.

Details: akita-nairiku.com

Location: Rice paddies along the Nairiku Line (内陸線) between Kakunodate Station (角館駅) and Takanosu Station (鷹巣駅). Maps here and here.

Access: Along the Nairiku Line

5. Pear Picking in Rifu

利府の梨狩り

September 1–October 31

Rifu, Miyagi

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.

Hours: 9:00–16:00

Reservations: Required only for groups of 10 or more

Admission: ¥500, includes two pears you get to pick from the trees yourself. You can pick more pears for an additional fee.

Details: rifukankoukyoukai.com

Location: Akama Ryoichi Sightseeing Pear Farm (赤間良一観光園). Map here.

Access: 50-minute walk from Rifu Station

6. Omoshiroyama Cosmos-berg 

面白山コスモスベルグ

Early–late September

Yamagata City, Yamagata

Cosmos-berg is a seven-hectare field located in the Omoshiroyama Highlands that straddle the border between Miyagi and Yamagata. It is seeded with over one million cosmos, a wildflower that blooms in early autumn. This place rarely draws big crowds, making it a great spot to simply spread out and relax in a peaceful seasonal setting.

Omoshiroyama Momijigawa Gorge, home to a gorgeous riverside hiking trail, is located just a few minutes' walk from Cosmos-berg. If you're a fan of nature walks, combining a visit to the two makes for a great day out!

Hours: 8:00–17:00

Admission: Free

Location: Omoshiroyama Cosmos-berg (面白山コスモスベルグ). Map here.

Access: 10-minute walk from Omoshiroyama-Kogen Station

7. Rice Paddy Art in Miharu

三春の田んぼアート

Through early October

Miharu, Fukushima

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.

This year, some of the closest tanbo art to Sendai is in Miharu, Fukushima. Farm Park Iwae has the most well-known canvas, but most years there are a few other canvases dotted around town too. Details about the other canvases are available at the Farm Park Iwae tanbo art observation deck. To find the observation deck, just follow the flags saying "田んぼアート."

Hours: Always open

Admission: Free

Details: miharukoma.com

Location: Farm Park Iwae (ファームパークいわえ). Map here.

Access: A 21-minute walk from Mogi Station

8. A Prayer to Amabie Rice Paddy Art

アマビエの祈り 田んぼアートinならは

Through October 23

Naraha, Fukushima

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.

Hours: Always open

Admission: Free

Details: Fukushima Tanbo Art Project Facebook Page

Location: Fukushima Tanbo Art Project in Naraha-machi (福島田んぼアートプロジェクトin楢葉町). Map here.

Access: 15-minute walk from Kido Station

9. Kesennuma Bay Cruise

気仙沼ベイクルーズ遊覧船

Weekends & holidays through October 31

Kesennuma, Miyagi

Kesennuma Bay Cruises offer not only beautiful views of the bay's nature, but also the pop culture appeal of Pokemon! Last year, Lapras was named a "tourism ambassador" of Miyagi. As part of that promotional campaign, the Kesennuma Bay sightseeing boat has been decked out in a Lapras motif.

Hours: Cruises depart at 10:00, 11:10, 13:20, & 14:30

Fee: ¥1,500 adults and children ages junior high & up, ¥750 children ages elementary school & younger

Details: oshimakisen.com

Location: Kesennuma S-Port Sightseeing Boat Terminal (気仙沼エースポート発着所). Map here.

Access: 6 minutes by bus from Kesennuma Station, followed by a 4-minute walk. At the bus stop in front of Kesennuma Station (気仙沼駅前), board City Loop Line (市内循環) bus, alight at Minami-machi (南町) bus stop. See timetable here.

10. Spring Valley Zipline Mountain Tour

空飛ぶターザンアトラクション「ジップライン」マウンテンツアー

July 18–November 3

Izumi Ward, Sendai

Spring Valley, best known for its ski resort, offers naturebound thrills during green season too. One such adventure is its zipline course, which boasts seven different zipline runs. The Lite Tour, offered through July 12, covers three of the tamer runs. The Mountain Course, which opened July 18, covers the wilder rides.

Hours (weekends & holidays): Tours start at 10:00, 11:00, 13:00 14:00, & 15:00

Hours (weekdays): Tours start at 10:00, 12:00, & 14:00

Fee: Lite Tour ¥2,500, Mountain Tour ¥3,700

Language: English OK

Reservations: Required, can book online

Details & booking (English): sendai-experience.com

Location: Spring Valley Izumi Kogen (スプリングバレー泉高原). Map here.

Access (weekends & holidays): 50 minutes by bus from Izumi-Chuo Station (泉中央駅). Board city bus 10 bound for Izumi Kogen Spring Valley (泉高原スプリングバレー). Alight at Izumi Kogen Spring Valley, the final stop. Bus map here, timetables here.

Access (weekdays): 50 minutes by bus from Izumi-Chuo Station (泉中央駅), followed by a 50-minute walk. Board city bus 10 bound for Izumidake Shizen Fureaikan (泉岳自然ふれあい館) at Izumi-Chuo Station. Alight at Izumidake Shizen Fureaikan, the final stop. Bus map here, timetables here.

11. Kurihara Motteke Market

くりはらもってけ市

September 4

Central Sendai

Even though Kurihara is located in Miyagi, it can sometimes feel a very long way from Sendai. A sprawling, sparsely populated city in northern Miyagi with relatively little public transportation, Kurihara doesn't receive many tourists. Which is a shame, because the city has some beautiful natural landscapes and delicious food.

It may be impossible to bring the landscapes of Kurihara to Sendai, but its gourmet offerings are coming en masse to this special market taking place at Kotodai Park in central Sendai! This is an open-air takeout event, making it easy to manage your coronavirus risk.

Hours: 10:00–15:00

Admission: Free

Details: miyagi-kankou.or.jp

Location: Kotodai Park Citizen's Plaza (勾当台公園市民広場). Map here.

Access: Above Kotodaikoen Station.

12. Long Autumn Evenings: A Kominka Concert in Okura

秋の夜長の古民家コンサートin大倉

September 5

Okura area, Sendai

A small outdoor concert in the rural Okura area of western Sendai. Enjoy a relaxing evening of music in the yard of an old-fashioned kominka house, now home to the Okura Furusato Center. The Furusato Center is located across the street from the Okura Dam area, so if you come early you can enjoy the natural and manmade sights there too.

Time: 18:00–20:00 (doors open 17:30)

Fee: Free

Reservations: Required. Book by telephone (391・0260)

Details: greenlife.or.jp

Location: Okura Furusato Center (大倉ふるさとセンター). Map here.

13. Hello, One Piece

September 5–October 4

Yokote, Akita

This peripatetic exhibition has traveled the world and has finally arrived back in Japan, this time at at the Masuda Manga Museum in southern Akita Prefecture. The exhibition features original sketches used to produce the manga and anime, a recreation of One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda's desk, and blown-up versions of some of the most memorable scenes from the series. In addition to the exhibition, there will also be a One Piece-themed stamp rally, limited-edition Once Piece goods, and fun One Piece-themed dishes and drinks sold in the museum cafe.

Hours: 10:00–18:00 (last entry 17:30)

Admission: ¥1,000 adults, ¥700 high school students, ¥500 junior high students, ¥300 elementary school students

Official exhibition website (English): hello.one-piece.com

Location: Yokote City Masuda Manga Museum (横手市増田まんが美術館). Map here.

Access: 5 minutes by bus from Jumonji Station or about 30 minutes by bus from Yokote Station, followed by an 8-minute walk. At Jumonji Station (十文字駅) or Yokote Station (横手駅), board a Yokote・Oyasu Line (横手・小安線) bus bound for Fumoto (梺), or an Iwaigawa Line (岩井川線) bus bound for Kusa no Dai (草の台). Alight at Masuda Kura no Eki (増田蔵の駅). Timetables here.
Yokote access from Sendai: Yokote is accessible via direct highway bus Green Liner (グリーンライナー号). Details here.

14. Miyagi Zao Pear Festival

みやぎ蔵王梨まつり

September 5–6

Zao Town, Miyagi

Zao Town is the biggest grower of pears in Miyagi Prefecture. Come celebrate the start of the 2020 pear harvest with all-you-can-pack pear sales and fresh-squeezed pear juice (Watch them juice it right then and there!). Pear picking experiences are also available at participating farms throughout town.

Hours: 8:30–16:00 September 5, 8:30–15:00 September 6

Admission: Free

Details: miyagi-kankou.jp

Location: A special event venue will be set up at Gozain Hall (ございんホール), but pear sales, juicing, and picking experiences will also be available pear farms across Zao Town. Map here.

Access: About 60 minutes by bus from Sendai Station. At the Sendai Ekimae bus stop in front of Sendai Station (仙台駅前), board bus bound for Murata・Zao-machi・Togatta (村田・蔵王町・遠刈田). Alight at Zao-machi Yakuba-mae (蔵王町役場前). Timetable here.

15. Karakuwa Clean Olle volunteer event

唐桑・クリーンオルレ

September 6 (& 11/1, 12/6)

Kesennuma, Miyagi

The Karakuwa Peninsula is home to one of Miyagi's four Olle hiking trails, healthy and accessible leisure destinations even in the age of coronavirus. At this volunteer event, you can come help maintain the trail, keeping it clean and safe for you and other hikers to enjoy. Most of the "clean-up" consists of picking up litter, so all are welcome to come out and help out—no special skills or fitness required!

Hours: 9:00–11:00

Fee: Free

Reservations: None needed

Event details: kesennuma-kanko.jp

Kesennuma-Karakuwa Olle Trail details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Meeting spot: Ogama Hanzou Parking Lot (半造駐車場). Map here.

Access: 25 minutes from Shishiori Karakuwa Station, followed by a short walk. At Shishiori Karakuwa Station (鹿折唐桑駅), board Osaki Line (御崎線) bus bound for Osaki (御崎). Alight at Ogama Hanzo Iriguchi (巨釜半造入口). Timetables here.

16. Hijiori Lantern Festival

肘折の灯

September 12–October 11

Hijiori Onsen, Yamagata

Paper lanterns decorated 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 a summer's eve.

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.

17. Cat Art Exhibition: The World of Shu Yamamoto

Cat Art展~シュー・ヤマモトの世界~

September 12–November 29

Ishinomaki, Miyagi

Shu Yamamoto is a Japanese artist who moved to North America shortly after graduating from college, where he's resided ever since. His signature gimmick is replacing people with cats to create amusing renditions of famous paintings. If you're a big-time cat fan, time your visit to coincide with the Cat Fest taking place on September 19 and 20 (see below), for an entire day full of cat-themed fun!

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

18. Shibata Red Spiderlily Festival

しばた曼珠沙華まつり

Mid- through late September

Shibata, Miyagi

Funaoka Castle Site Park, best known its cherry blossoms, is also home to a colony of thirteen-thousand red spider lilies that bloom every September. Come celebrate the beginning of autumn and blossoming of this archetypal fall flower with a stroll through this scenic park. The red spider lily is known by over a thousand names in Japan. The one used above, manjushage (曼殊沙華), is the one used in Buddhist scriptures. In such texts, the manjushage is described as "a heavenly flower which does not exist on Earth."

Hours: Always open

Admission: Free

Details: tohokukanko.jp

Location: Funaoka Castle Site Park (船岡城址公園). Map here.

Access: 15-minute walk from Funaoka Station

19. Hagurosan Spider Lily Festival

羽黒山 彼岸花

September 15–30

Osaki, Miyagi

Said to be the best spot in northern Miyagi for red spiderlily viewing. The red spiderlily goes by over a thousand names in Japan. The name used above, higanbana (彼岸花) is perhaps the most common; manjushage (曼殊沙華) is another. "花" (pronounced "bana" here) means "flower," and "Higan" is a Japanese Buddhist holiday that takes place during the spring and autumnal equinoxes. Because the red spider lily blooms during the autumn Higan holiday, it is known as "higanbana."

Hours: Always open

Admission: Free

Details: miyagi-kankou.or.jp

Location: Hagurosan Park (羽黒山公園). Map here.

20. Motsuji Temple Hagi Matsuri

毛越寺萩まつり

September 15–30

Hiraizumi, Iwate

A celebration of one of Japan's lesser known traditional flowers, hagi (bush clover). Dainty and modest yet beautifully colored, hagi is counted among Japan's Seven Flowers of Autumn. This hagi festival takes place at Motsuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its elegant Pure Land garden. On select days during the festival, there will also be live music played on traditional Japanese instruments.

Hours: 8:30–17:00

Closed days: None

Languages: Temple has English signage, plus audio guides available in English, Chinese, Korean, French, German, & Spanish

Temple admission: ¥500 adults, ¥300 high school students, ¥100 children ages elementary to junior high. Festival is free with admission to the temple.

Event details: iwatetabi.jp

Motsuji official website (English): motsuji.or.jp

Location: Motsuji Temple (毛越寺). Map here.

Access: 9-minute walk from Hiraizumi Station

21. Autumn Sounds Out of Sync

秋のおとズレ

September 16–26

Central Sendai

Hirota Nakazato is a sound artist who has created installations for art events as prestigious as the Nakanojo Biennale. This solo exhibition will feature several of his works, plus musical collab music events on select dates.

Hours: 11:00–19:30 most dates. ~17:00 September 20 & 25, ~15:00 September 26

Admission: Exhibition is free, music events range from free to ¥1,000.

Details: turn-around.jp

Location: Gallery Turnaround. Map here.

Access: 5-minute walk from Omachi Nishi-Koen Station

22. Ishinomaki Cat Fest

いしのまきねこふぇす

September 19–20

Ishinomaki, Miyagi

Ishinomaki City, home of the famous Cat Island a short ferry ride off the coast, is doubling down on the neko power with their Ishinomaki Cat Fest. Highlights of the festival include a cat photo and art exhibition, flea market, and cat-themed town treasure hunt. If you successfully complete the treasure hunt, you get a free Ishinomaki Cat Fest pin! The Flea market takes place in the parking lot of Yahataya, restaurant that's been in business since 1913 and serves delicious traditional Japanese food.

Hours: 10:00–15:00

Admission: Free

Official event website: nekofesishinomaki.wixsite.com

Location: Ishinomaki Kawamachi Koryu Center (石巻かわまち交流センター) and the parking lot of Yahataya (割烹八幡家の駐車場). Maps here and here.

Access: Both locations are about a 12-minute walk from Ishinomaki Station.

23. Sappa Boat Powerful Operation

サッパ船パワフル運航

September 19–22

Tanohata, Iwate

Sappa are small fishing boats that are gaining popularity among tourists, as their small size and maneuverability mean the driver can bring visitors close to dramatic rock formations, into sea caves, and through tight areas inaccessible by large sightseeing boats. The sappa boat tours in Tanohata provide visitors the unique opportunity to explore ruggedly beautiful ria coast of the Fukko National Park by sea.

Usually the sappa boat tours here require advance reservations, but during this special event walk-ons are welcome (provided there are still seats available, of course). In addition to the sappa boat rides, salt-making and seashell crafting experiences will also be available reservation-free!

Times: Sappa boat tours depart at 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:30 (additional departures may be offered). The tour lasts about an hour.

Details: tanohata-taiken.jp

Sappa boat ride fee: ¥3,800 per person, children ages elementary school & younger free (limit 1 free child per adult)

Activity fee: ¥500 each

Reservations: Recommended for boat rides but not required

Location: Sappa boats depart from Raga Port (羅賀漁港). Boat ride registration and activities are at Shiosai Koryuu Center (しおさい交流センター) next to Hotel Ragaso (ホテル羅賀荘). Map here.

Access: 18-minute walk from Tanohata Station

24. Hagi Matsuri

萩まつり

September 19–October 1

Taihaku Ward, Sendai

A celebration of one of Japan's lesser known traditional flowers, hagi (bush clover). Dainty and modest yet beautifully colored, hagi is counted among Japan's Seven Flowers of Autumn. The floral highlight of the festival the hagi tunnel (pictured above). On select days, visitors can also enjoy live koto and shakuhachi concerts.

Hours: 9:00–16:45 (last entry 16:00)

Admission: Adults ¥240, ¥60 children ages elementary to junior high, children ages preschool & younger free

Details: miyagi-kankou.or.jp

Location: Sendai Yasoen Gardens (仙台市野草園). Map here.

Access by rail: 20-minute walk from Atagobashi Station

Access by bus: From Sendai Station Bus Pool Stop 11, board bus bound for Sendai Yasoen (仙台野草園). Alight at Yasoen-mae (野草園前), the final stop. Timetables here.

25. Rensai Kanketsu Haikyu~!! Exhibition

連載完結記念ハイキュー!!展

September 19–October 25

Central Sendai

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

26. Higashiyama Kaii: The Mural Paintings in the Miei-do at Toshodaiji

東山魁夷 唐招提寺御影堂障壁画展

September 19–November 1

Central Sendai

The Miyagi Prefecture of Art is the authority on this exhibition, so we'll let their English description take it from here:

"The elders of Toshodaiji Temple in Nara decided to construct the Miei-Do Hall to enshrine the Statue of Ganjin Wajo (national treasure) and entrusted the creation of the hall’s murals and zushi-e (miniature shrine paintings) to HIGASHIYAMA Kaii (1908-1999). After receiving the request, HIGASHIYAMA accepted with the intention of dedicating his entire life to the project.

HIGASHIYAMA Kaii was an artist that greatly influenced the world of post-war Japanese painting with his numerous landscape paintings that are filled with clarity and lyricism. For this project, HIGASHIYAMA personally visited various locations in China and Japan to gather inspiration for his murals. The project eventually became a monumental work of art spanning five rooms that features depictions of sceneries from his travels – the creation of which took the longest amount of time to complete over the course of his life.

In this exhibition, all 68 of these murals, which are usually only exhibited for a few days in a year, will be displayed. These will be displayed together with sketches and drafts that reveal a creation process of over 10 years."

—The Miyagi Museum of Art

Hours: 9:30–17:00 (last entry 16:30)

Closed days: Mondays (except September 21. The museum will be closed September 23 instead.)

Admission: ¥1,400 adults, ¥1,200 college students, ¥700 children ages elementary to high school

Details (English): pref.miyagi.jp

Location: The Miyagi Museum of Art (宮城県美術館). Map here.

Access: 7-minute walk from International Center Station

27. Kitokito & Tsukutsuku Marche

September 20 (& the third Sunday of every month through November)

Shinjo, Yamagata

The eco-friendly Kitokito Marche and Tsutsuku Marche have teamed up to give you even more motivation to head up to Shinjo for one of their monthly events. As always, highlights include a flea market, art, live music, dancing, and even workshop events. Food stalls serving fresh takeout (curry, sweets, meat, and more) will also be set up. To keep the event as eco-friendly as possible, visitors are encouraged to bring their own shopping bags, plates, eating utensils, tupperware, etc.

Hours: 10:00–evening (Most months the markets run only until 15:00, but the September one is special in that it goes on through the evening)

Admission: Free

Official Facebook Page: facebook.com/kitokitomarche

Location: The parking lot of Mayu no Sato (まゆの郷) & Cafe Aomushi. Map here.

Access by rental cycle: 3 kilometers from Shinjo Station by rental cycle. Rental cycles are available for ¥300/day at the information center inside Yumeria (ゆめりあ) next to Shinjo Station. Details here.

Access by bus: 10 minutes by bus from Shinjo Station, followed by an 8-minute walk. At the bus stop in front of Shinjo Station (新庄駅前), board a Shinjo-Kaneyama Line (新庄~金山線) bus bound for Kaneyama (金山). Alight at the Hokushin Shogakko-mae (北辰小学校前) bus stop. Timetable here.

28. Uda Village Shrine Kagura

相馬宇多郷神楽舞

September 22

Soma, Fukushima

The Soma Nakamura clan is one of the few feudal clans that managed to hold onto their territories for over 700 years, nearly the entire length of Japan's feudal era. Lords of the domain encouraged their peasant subjects to pray at their local shrines for abundant rain and bountiful harvests by performing kagura (traditional dances performed as entertainment for the gods). That kagura tradition lives on in the former Uda District (now part of Soma City), where locals still perform these traditional dances on auspicious days every year.

Time: Ceremony starts at 8:00, kagura starts at 8:30

Admission: Free

Event details: tif.ne.jp

Location: Tsubota・Dairai Shrine (坪田・大雷神社). Map here.

Access: 35-minute walk from Nittaki Station

29. New Rice Festival & Rice Bowl Show

新米まつり&ごはん茶碗展

September 26–27

Murata, Miyagi

Freshly harvested rice, known as "shinmai" in Japanese, is considered rice at its very best. This small festival celebrates Murata-grown Hitomebore shinmai. Here, you can try free samples of the local shinmai and buy large bags of it, which can be hard to come by and tends to sell out quickly in grocery stores. Rice purchases are accompanied by free gifts as part of the celebration.

To help you bring your freshly purchased shinmai to culinary perfection, a rice bowl pottery show is taking place at the same venue. A range of artistic rice bowls, from standard meshiwan to large donburi bowls, all fired at the local Shitadakama Kiln (思太田窯), will be on display and also for sale.

Hours: 9:00~

Admission: Free

Details: muratamachi.info

Location: Michi no Eki Murata (道の駅村田). Map here.

Access: About 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station, followed by an 8-minute walk. From Sendai Station bus stop #33, board bus bound for Murata・Zao-machi・Togatta (村田・蔵王町・遠刈田). Alight at Murata-cho Yakuba-mae (村田町役場前) or Satellite Miyagi (サテライト宮城) bus stop. Timetable here.

30. Doma Workshop

土間打ちワークショップ

September 27

Kurihara, Miyagi

Do you love rural life? How about traditional thatched-roof buildings? Come help learn how to maintain one by helping the Kaze no Sawa Art Museum make a new doma dirt floor for theirs! You don't need to know anything in particular about dirt-floor making as you'll be under the guidance of an experienced doma maker, but you should come prepared to work as this is a volunteering event. You'll probably also need to have at least a little Japanese listening and speaking ability, enough to understand instructions related to manual labor.

Hours: 9:00–16:00

Fee: Free

Reservations: Required

Event details & booking: facebook.com/events

Museum details (English): visitmiyagi.com

Location: Kaze no Sawa Museum (風の沢ミュージアム). Map here.

Access: 30 minutes by bus from Kurikoma-Kogen Station (くりこま高原駅), followed by a 40-minute walk. Board Iwagasaki Line (岩ヶ崎線) bus bound for Kurikoma Byoin-mae (栗駒病院前), alight at Arigasawa (有賀沢) bus stop. Iwagasaki Line bus timetable here (weekdays), and here (weekends & holidays). 

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