1. Miyatele Ramen Live
Through November 4
A ramen festival over on the laid-back east side of Sendai Station. The festival will be held in Tsutsujigaoka Park, best known for its cherry blossoms but pleasant any time of year. A total of 10 ramen shops from all over Japan will gather here, giving visitors the chance to compare ramen flavors from distant parts of the country in a way that's just not possible outside of a festival.
2. Ryozen Autumn Leaves Festival
Through November 4
Mt. Ryozen is a locally famous holy mountain popular hikers, rock climbers and leaf peepers. The main trail is a loop around the flat part of the mountaintop, appropriate for hikers of all ages and ability levels. Those looking for a thrill can climb out onto the rocky outcroppings pictured in the photo above! During peak fall color season, a small cluster of food and local product stalls are set up near the trailhead, selling souvenirs and light meals to hungry hikers.
Dates: October 26–November 4
Hours: Festival 9:00–15:00
Location: Mt. Ryozen trailhead (霊山登山口). Map here.
Access: 43 minutes from Fukushima Station by bus, followed by a 15-minute walk. At Fukushima Station (福島駅), board Fukushima Kotsu (福島交通) bus bound for Soma (相馬). Alight at Ryozen Kodomo no Mura (霊山こごもの村) bus stop. Timetable here. (NOTE: Damage from Typhoon Hagibis may have affected bus operation along this line. Please confirm operation status with Fukushima Kotsu directly.)
3. Rairaikyo Gorge Momiji Path Light Up
Through November 10
Akiu area, Sendai
Photo by Roger Smith
The fall foliage lining the scenic 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.
Dates: October 26–November 10
Location: Rairaikyo Gorge (磊々峡). Map here.
Access: About 50 minutes by bus from Sendai Station, followed by a short walk. From Sendai Station Ekimae Bus Stop #8 (仙台駅前8番のりば), board bus bound for Akiu Onsen (秋保温泉). Alight at Akiu Sato Center (秋保・里センター).
4. Sendai Cooking Meetup
November 1 & 15
5. Akiu Night Museum
Through November 17
Akiu area, Sendai
Photo by Roger Smith
The spacious Tenshukaku Gardens offer lovely natural fall colors by day and an interactive, psychadelic light-up at night. In fact, the gardens won a Darc lighting design award for this creative illumination! There's also an on-site footbath where you can gaze out at the view while you warm up.
Dates: October 22–November 17
Admission: Adults ¥500, ¥200 children ages junior high to 4,
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.
6. Entsuin Light-up
Through November 17
Photo by Roger Smith
The beauty of the gardens at Entsuin Temple rival those of Kyoto, especially in autumn. During peak fall color season, the gardens here are lit up nightly to the accompaniment of relaxing live music, like koto and acoustic guitar. It can get pretty chilly there on autumn nights, so Matsushima Onsen has set up a limited-time footbath a short ways down the street from the temple. The footbath area is surrounded by food and drink stalls, a perfect combination to ward off that autumn-evening chill.
7. Nihonmatsu Chrysanthemum Doll Festival
Through November 17
One of the biggest and best chrysanthemum doll and flower exhibitions in our region! Contemplate the natural beauty of carefully cultivated mums, then enjoy the quirky charm of mannequins dressed in "clothes" made from these same flowers—a Japanese tradition, believe it or not! The theme for the doll displays this year is The Tale of Genji.
The event takes place at Nihonmatsu Castle, a popular sightseeing spot in its own right and designated a National Historic Site. To top it off, the mum festival takes place during peak fall color season there; stroll the park around the castle grounds to see beautiful seasonal foliage.
8. Hand-drawn maps exhibition
Through December 1
An exhibition of hand-drawn historical maps, hosted by Sendai City Museum. The highlights of the exhibition are the maps of the Sendai Domain dating back to the Edo period. Presented in chronological order, visitors can enjoy artistic yet factual visualizations of the evolution of the city throughout history. The exhibit also features antique maps of castles, samurai residences, and the world.
9. Sendai Straw Art Exhibition
Through December 7
Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai
A fun and eco-friendly art show. Straw left over from the rice harvest in the area is used to shape large sculptures. Better yet, the theme this year is dinosaurs! The event takes place at the agricultural and horticultural center Midori no Mori, where you can purchase locally-grown produce and potted plants.
Dates: September 15–December 7
Hours: 9:00–17:00 (closed Mondays)
Official event page: sendai-nogyo-engei-center.jp
Location: Sendai Nogyo Engei Center Midori no Mori (仙台農業園芸センターみどりの森). 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.
10. The Africa You Don't Know
The African continent is phenomenally rich in nature and culture, but how much do you really know about it? Is most of it based on what TV newscasters or some wildlife documentary voiceover have told you? Come learn about Africa from people actually from there at this fun and educational (and English-friendly) event hosted by the African Association of Miyagi. Listen as AFAM members tell you what their home continent is really like, then enjoy African games, dance, and food together!
11. Zao Highlands Daikon Picking & Cheese Fair
Good cheese is hard to come by in Japan. Lucky for us, we've got the Zao Dairy Center nearby! Come feast on their cheeses at this annual festival. A daikon-picking event is going on in the area at the same time. For ¥1000, you can pick as many daikon as you can fit in the large vinyl bag.
Hours (Cheese Fair): 10:00–16:00
Hours (daikon picking): 9:00–16:00 (November 2) 9:00–15:00 (November 3)
Admission: Free, daikon picking ¥1,000 per bag
Location (Cheese Fair): Zao Dairy Center (蔵王酪農センダー). Map here.
Location (daikon picking): fields in the Togatta Onsen Nanokahara area (蔵王町遠刈田温泉七日原). Map here.
Access (Cheese Fair): About 60 minutes by bus from Sendai Station, followed by a 30-minute walk. Board bus bound for Active Resorts Miyagi Zao (アクティブリゾーツ宮城蔵王), alight at Togatta Onsen (遠刈田温泉) bus stop. Timetable here. NOTE: Southern Miyagi was hit hard by Typhoon Hagibis and some roads are still blocked, which may affect bus service to the area. Please confirm the current status with the bus operator directly.
A large festival celebrating and showcasing the accomplishments of Tohoku University students. Features lots of food stalls, a wide range of musical performances, janken and bingo tournaments, and more!
13. Mangattan Culture Festival
What better way to celebrate Manga Day (of course you knew November 3 was a Manga Day) than to travel to the spaceship-shaped Ishinomori Manga Museum for their Manga Culture Festival? Pop-culture highlights of the festival include limited-edition 009-themed parfaits and manga-themed games, like bingo. The event also offers attractions for lovers of traditional Japanese culture, such as kokeshi painting and wagashi sweets.
Admission: Adults ¥800, high school & junior high students ¥500, children ages elementary & younger ¥200
Location: Ishinomori Manga Museum (石ノ森萬画館). Map here.
Access: 15-minute walk from Ishinomaki Station
14. Yakushi Matsuri
A festival celebrating the power of Yakushi, the Healing Buddha. Hundreds of years ago, a member of the Fujiwara clan with an incurable illness prayed at a temple here to be healed and the prayer was answered! The highlight of the festival is a samurai parade reenacting the Fujiwara's journey and prayer here.
Access: About 15 minutes by bus from Kurikoma Kogen Station (くりこま高原駅), or 45 minutes by bus from Ishikoshi Station (石越駅). From either station, board a Wakayanagi Line (若柳線) bus, alight at Tsukidate Sogoshisho-mae (築館総合支所前) bus stop. Timetables here.
15. Auto Test Challenge in Rifu
オートテストチャレンジ in 利府
Anyone (20 or older) with even just a regular driver's license is invited to come try motor-sport driving at this new local event! No matter what the type, bring your car down to this fun, beginner-friendly course and try racing!
Participation fee: ¥3,500 at the door (watching is free)
Reservations: Recommended but not required. Day-of registration is possible as long as there are still spaces available.
Official event page: ohshu-vcic.com
Location: Aeon Mall Rifu parking lot (イオンモール利府駐車場). Map here.
Access: 17-minute walk from Rifu Station
16. Taimatsu Akashi
One of the Three Great Fire Festivals of Japan. "Akashi" means "light offered to the gods." At this 400+ year old festival, 22 ten-meter high towers of straw and wood are burned to the ground as an offering to the gods.
17. Shiroishi Agriculture Festival
Come celebrate the Shiroishi area's agricultural industry at at the city harvest festival! There will be lots of delicious prepared food, and even more delicious fresh produce, available for purchase. In addition to local goods, specialty products from sister cities Ebina, Kanagawa and Noboribetsu, Hokkaido will be available. Adding the the festive atmosphere will be games and stage performances.
Even though Shiroishi was hit hard by Typhoon Hagibis this year, the city has confirmed they will still host this event as planned (details here). Come support the area's recovery by buying local products!
Hours: 9:00–16:00 (November 9), 9:00–15:00 (November 10)
Official event page: city.shiroishi.miyagi.jp
Location: White Cube (ホワイトキューブ). Map here.
Access: 7-minute walk from Shiroishi-Zao Station or 19-minute walk from Shiroishi Station. A free shuttle bus is available from Shiroishi Station.
18. Autumn Mountain Song National Competition
Yama uta are traditional mountain songs of Japan. Originally sung by farmers working the fields, they later also became used as a way to pray to the gods for a bountiful harvest. At this event, people of all ages from all over Japan gather to see who can perform these traditional songs the best.
19. Gamo — over there : A Doyoung exhibition
どよん展 蒲生ーover there
Come see what post-tsunami Sendai looked like through the eyes of an artist. In June of 2011, just three months after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, photographer Doyoung began commuting from Seoul to Sendai. During his travels, he began heading out to Sendai's coastal areas with aid groups. He became particularly fascinated by Gamo, the neighborhood at the mouth of the Nanakita River. This exhibition is a restrospective of his photography in that area from 2011 to 2019.
Visitors are invited to linger over a cup of house-roasted coffee offered by the gallery as they peruse the exhibition.
20. Rias Oyster Festival Karakuwa
A local festival celebrating the area's delicious oysters. Ultra-fresh oysters will be available in a variety of preparations, with stage performances by local artists to enjoy while you eat. Other kinds of local food and specialty products will be available as well.
Location: Schoolyard of Karakuwa Elementary (気仙沼市立唐桑小学校校庭). Map here.
Access: A 15-minute walk from Kesennuma Station, followed by a 25-minute bus ride, followed by a 5-minute walk. From Kesennuma Station, walk to Kesennuma City Hall (気仙沼市役所). The Kesennuma Shiyakusho-mae (気仙沼市役所前) bus stop is just outside. From the Shiyakusho-mae bus stop, board Osaki Line (御崎線) bus bound for Osaki (御崎). Alight at Isagozawa (砂子沢) bus stop. Timetable here.
21. Wondering Travel Tour Vol. 5
ワンダリング トラベル ツアー Vol. 5
November 15 in Kawanishi, Yamagata
November 17 in Central Sendai
November 18 in Ishinomaki, Miyagi
A series of intimate concerts by a talented trio of local muscians: Hiroshi Suzuki on saxophone, Yosuke Tanaka on guitar and banjo, and Takefumi Kobayashi on percussion. Special guest performers will accompany the trio at the Nishikawa and Sendai concerts. For the Kawanishi show, it's Taketestu Taro, vocalist and leader of the hip local act Bakurocho Band. For the Sendai show, it's Fumiko Sengoku, a soprano vocalist and graduate of Miyagi Gakuin Women's University.
Kawanishi show (November 15)
Hours: Doors open 18:00, show starts 18:30
Tickets: ¥4,000 at the door, includes one drink
Location: Live Space Jam (ライブスペースJam). Map here.
Sendai show (November 17)
Hours: Doors open 12:45, show starts 13:30
Tickets: ¥4,000 at the door, includes free matcha
Location: Eru Park Sendai (エル・パーク仙台). Map here.
Access: Next to Kotodaikoen Station
Ishinomaki show (November 18)
Doors open 19:00, show starts 19:30
Tickets: ¥4,000 at the door
Location: La Strada (ラ・ストラーダ). Map here.
Access: 6-minute walk from Ishinomaki Station
22. Zuihoden Fall Colors Light-up
November 15–17 & 22–24
23. Southern Hokkaido・Northern Tohoku Shokutabi Fest
Eat your way around Tohoku and Hokkaido from the comfort of central Sendai at this gastro-tourism event. Details haven't been released yet for this year's event, but last year's featured about 30 food stalls selling branded local fare like Hakodate shio ramen, Imabetsu beef, Shibuta mushrooms, and a variety of local sweets. If this year's event is anything like last year's there will also be stage events, PR mascot meet 'n' greets, and prize giveaways.
24. Sendai Comiket #255
Miyagino Ward, Sendai
The final Sendai Comiket for 2019. Event organizers have dubbed this November gathering Dojinshi Day—a must-see event for true dojinshi fans! For more English-language info, check out our Sendai Comiket Report here.
25. Shiogama・Katsurashima・Oyster Festival
Come indulge in the local oyster and anago (conger eel) catch by enjoying them in a variety of preparations: curry, tempura, rice dishes, and more! Free grilled oysters and oyster soup will be given away to the first 200 visitors.
26. Reiwa Nabe Gassen
Which nabe will reign supreme? Help decide at this nabe festival! Visitors are invited to sample various nabe, then vote for their favorite.
Admission: Free entry, nabe fee separate
Official website: nabegassen.com
Location: Across the street from the Yamagata Sogoundo Park (山形県総合運動公園). Map here.
Access: 20-minute walk from Tendominami Station
27. Osaki Balloon Festival
The historical Iwadeyama area of Osaki City is also home to a hot-air balloon festival! About 30 hot air balloons from all over Japan will gather here for this very photogenic event. One of the biggest draws for visitors are the hot air balloon rides offered. Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first served basis, so arrive early and queue up if you want to go for a ride!
Hours: 6:30–15:00 (November 22 & 23), 6:30–12:00 (November 24)
Location: Attaka Park (大崎市岩出山江合川あったか河川公園). Map here.
Access: 10-minute walk from Iwadeyama Station.
28. Matsushima Big Catch Oyster Festival in Isojima
An oyster festival hosted by the fishermen themselves! Sample fresh oyster cuisine and buy oysters direct. There will also be a grilling area set up where visitors can grill purchases themselves. Entertainment-wise, various stage performances will be offered . . . and even hot-air balloon rides!
29. Ishinomaki Oyster Festival
Did you know November 23 is Oyster Day (牡蠣の日)? Come out and celebrate it at a local festival! This Ishinomaki one is all about the oysters: from raw oysters to teppanyaki-grilled ones, you can get your fill here. Stage performances, like taiko drumming, provide visitors entertainment while they eat.
30. Juunen Harvest Festival
Juunen is a kind of yamaimo tuber that grows well in the southern Miyagi area. "Juunen" means "ten years" in Japanese. The tuber is nicknamed that because it's so healthy that eating it is said to add ten years to one's life. The festival will feature juunen cuisine, a mini-imonikai and, of course, market stalls selling juunen and other local products.
Even though Marumori Town was hit hard by Typhoon Hagibis and suffered quite a bit of damage, they've confirmed this event is still on! Come and support their recovery by buying local products.