In Tokyo on a short trip, for business, a wedding, reunion, or another event? Take advantage of Tokyo’s major bullet train hub and turn your trip into a vacation with these quick and easy add-on getaways.
Going off the beaten track is easier than ever with the Tohoku Shinkansen line which connects the capital with the mountainous Tohoku. This remote northeast region, known for its harsh climate, offers travelers charming countryside, snowy mountains, hot springs, pristine lakes, rural traditions, and bountiful harvests from land and sea.
This four-day getaway introduces you to the Miyagi prefecture where you will taste oysters straight from the sea, cruise across the scenic Matsushima Bay, unwind at a hot spring village, and stroll along a dramatic gorge.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Depart Tokyo this morning by Tohoku Shinkansen high-speed train and arrive in Miyagi’s capital city, Sendai. Begin with a history lesson at Zuihoden, the mausoleum of Date Masamune, one of the most powerful feudal lords of the Edo Period. Masamune was the first in a long line of lords to rule over Sendai and an integral part of the city’s history. Then, head to downtown for lunch and pleasant strolling through its broad avenues lined with trees. Although it is the largest city in Tohoku, Sendai maintains its countryside charm by balancing buildings and bustle with an abundance of greenery, earning the nickname, “the city of trees.” After the sun sets, another side of Sendai awakens. Head to Kokubuncho, an evening entertainment district packed with thousands of restaurants and bars, for a taste of the city’s nightlife. It would be remiss to not try Sendai’s local specialty dish, gyutan - beef tongue. Sliced thinly and cooked over a charcoal grill, this delicacy has become so popular it can be found across the whole country.
A short 30-minute drive from Sendai takes you to Matsushima town and its famed bay. Matsushima Bay is dotted with over 260 pine tree-covered islands, a scene celebrated for centuries as one of Japan’s three most scenic views. Board a local fishing boat for a cruise across the waters. Take in the views as you head for Hojima, an island populated with oyster farms. A confluence of nutrient-rich warm and cold currents is the secret behind Matsushima’s prized oysters. Learn about the methods of this sustainable aquaculture, then get a taste of the oysters, plucked straight from the sea and paired with a glass of local sake. Back on land, head to a special all-you-can-eat oysters lunch at one of the many oyster shacks around the fishing pier. Walk off your lunch by exploring some of the islands that are connected by foot bridges to the mainland, which offer viewpoints, temples, and walking paths. Enroute back to Sendai, stop at the small town of Shiogama to visit its venerable shrine, dating from the 800s. The shrine grounds are particularly beautiful during spring and autumn. Visit a famous sake brewery for a tasting. This brewery is one of three nationally famous breweries that produce the sacred sake for Shiogama Shrine. If you wish, have a sushi dinner in Shiogama before returning to Sendai. As one of Japan’s foremost fishing harbors, Shiogama has the highest density of sushi restaurants in the whole country.
This morning, travel onward by train to Naruko Onsen. Before departing from Sendai Station, browse the next door morning market for souvenir foodstuffs, snacks, or breakfast to have on the train. After arriving, head to Naruko Gorge. There are numerous viewpoints and forested walking trails to take in the dramatic scenery. The gorge is particularly beautiful and most popular during autumn when the area is covered in brilliant orange, yellow, and red foliage. If you want, stop by a museum to see a collection of traditional wooden dolls, a local craft. You can even watch a craftsman make the doll and try painting one of your own. Return to your onsen guesthouse and unwind in the hot spring baths, a sublime end to your trip to Miyagi.
Enjoy an early morning walk and another hot bath before catching the train back to Tokyo. Alternatively, take the train to Sendai city and fly out from Sendai International Airport.
Set upon the top floors of the Sendai Trust Tower, the Westin Hotel Sendai occupies a central location with ready access to department stores, market places, restaurants, and travel links such as the subway. Classic Japanese hospitality, style, and service are hallmarks of this high-end property. The spacious suites and rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows affording panoramic city and mountain vistas, comfortable armchairs and ottomans, 40-inch flat screen TVs, walnut-dark wood furnishings, and calming palette tones of décor. Moreover, for those visitors not wanting to fall behind on their workout regime, there is the WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and for those looking to self-pamper, the flow spa is a minimalist haven staffed by therapists highly trained in age-old treatment methods with a distinctive modern twist.
Opened in October 2016, Naruko Onsen Yumoto Kissho offers a modern twist on the traditional Japanese ryokan inn. Located in one of the Tohoku region's most prominent hot springs, Naruko Onsen, the hotel provides sweeping vistas of the hot spring district while featuring several on-site baths of its own, including large communal baths, open-air baths, and 4 private baths that can be used for no extra charge. Each of the 59 guest rooms maintains the open, bright, timber and paper panel design of the rest of the inn and is fitted with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, and WiFi. The tatami mat rooms and décor represent a nod to the traditional aesthetics while also maintaining a sleek design and fresh perspective. Meals are served privately to guests in their rooms and consist of multi-course feasts prepared with local produce. For breakfast, visitors can enjoy a buffet. Situated only 7 minutes from Naruko Onsen Station and Naruko Sightseeing & Inn Information Center, the hotel is also the perfect haven of relaxation from which to easily explore the area’s many sites of beauty and interest, such as Naruko Gorge and Katanuma lake.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring as mentioned. Roundtrip high-speed Shinkansen train tickets to/from Tokyo in Green class is included. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
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