HOME Tohoku Miyagi Sendai And Matsushima 10 Beautiful Places in Miyagi to See the Cherry Blossoms
10 Beautiful Places in Miyagi to See the Cherry Blossoms

10 Beautiful Places in Miyagi to See the Cherry Blossoms

Date published: 17 March 2024

Did you know that just over 1% of overseas travelers visiting Japan each year will make the trip up to explore Japan’s northeastern Tohoku Region? With Sendai as a regional hub for business, transportation, and culture, Miyagi Prefecture makes the perfect spring getaway from the crowds gathered in major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka as the cherry blossoms appear. Come explore something special, come explore Miyagi!

(Main image: PIXTA)

Table of Contents
  1. Getting to Miyagi
  2. When is Cherry Blossom Season in Miyagi?
  3. The best places in Miyagi to see cherry blossoms
  4. Why come to Miyagi for Cherry Blossoms?

Getting to Miyagi

The 575.7-kilometer-long JR Tohoku Line passes along a portion of the Hitome Senbonzakura, between JR Ogawara and JR Funaoka Stations (Image: PIXTA)
The 575.7-kilometer-long JR Tohoku Line passes along a portion of the Hitome Senbonzakura, between JR Ogawara and JR Funaoka Stations (Image: PIXTA)

By rail: Sendai Station is a regional transit hub that will take you not just all over Sendai but all over the prefecture. From Tokyo, you can ride the Hayabusa Shinkansen, the fastest in Japan, and reach Sendai Station in just around 90 minutes. (See here for directions.) Likewise, if you are coming from the north down, Hachinohe to Sendai is also just under 90 minutes one way. From Tokyo, Miyagi Prefecture is covered by the JR Pass and the JR East Tohoku Area Pass.

By air: Sendai International Airport has a number of direct flights to and from a variety of overseas and domestic destinations. If you are coming from Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, or Dalien, you can fly directly into Sendai. However, if you are flying domestically, due to the convenience of the Shinkansen, Sendai is one of the rare airports that does not connect directly to Tokyo.

Getting Around Miyagi

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Sendai has a great local network of subways and busses that make traversing the city of Sendai incredibly easy to navigate. The Loople Bus goes all around Sendai city, stopping at major tourist attractions, and a one-day pass is just 620 yen for adults and will give you a discount on ticket prices at must-visit places such as Sendai Aoba Castle Museum, Sendai Aoba Castle Museum, Sendai City Museum, and The Miyagi Museum of Art just to name a few.

Another great way to see Miyagi is with the Marugoto Pass—a convenient ticket offering unlimited train and bus travel for two days! Priced at 2,720 yen, this pass allows you to explore Sendai and its famous nearby attractions like Akiu Onsen, Matsushima, and nearby Yamadera Temple in Yamagata Prefecture without worrying about extra fares.

You can purchase the pass at any JR station's "Midori no Madoguchi" ticket office, JR Sendai Station's reserved seat ticket vending machines, or Sendai Airport Station's ticket vending machine.

While the rural and mountainous areas of Miyagi have fewer public transportation options in general, overall trains and busses will run at least hourly and so as long as you keep an eye on the time and plan accordingly, exploring Miyagi should be a breeze!

However, to really make the most out of your Miyagi trip, it is recommended to rent a car to cut down on transit time and freely explore Miyagi at your own pace.

When is Cherry Blossom Season in Miyagi?

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

As the cherry blossoms bloom from south to north, Miyagi sees a later sakura season than either Kyoto or Tokyo. While dates change year-to-year and can be highly dependent on weather directly leading up to the spring, in 2024, cherry blossoms are predicted to start blooming on April 2nd and reach full bloom around April 8th. The cherry blossom season lasts roughly two weeks, however, cooler areas, such as the mountains, may still be in bloom into late April in case you do not make it in time.

The best places in Miyagi to see cherry blossoms

When it comes to the best places to see cherry blossoms in Miyagi, you’re in tough competition to narrow it down to just a list of ten. Miyagi is known for its stunning landscapes that encompass the serenity of the ocean with the dynamic juxtaposition of the mountains; all joined together in perfect harmony to create natural scenes of art that feel as if they belong in a museum. That being said, these are some of the best places to see the Sakura in Miyagi that you won’t want to miss!

1. Hitome Senbonzakura (Ogawara)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Flowing through the heart of Ogawara, the Shiroishi River boasts an enchanting display of cherry blossoms, extending over approximately 5 miles (8 km) downstream to Shibata-machi. Known as "Hitome Senbonzakura" (First Glance of Thousands of Cherry Trees), this mesmerizing sight features a continuous row of 1,200 cherry trees.

Revered as one of the finest cherry blossom attractions in the country, this stunning panorama attracts visitors from far and wide, and the beauty is such to the extent that local trains run at a slower speed so that passengers can enjoy the beauty.

The inception of "Hitome Senbonzakura" dates back to 1922 when Kajiro Takayama, a prominent businessman from Ogawara Town, generously donated and planted these cherry trees over the course of five years. Recognized for its unparalleled beauty and cultural significance, the "Hitome Senbonzakura" became officially designated as one of the 100 most beautiful cherry blossoms in 1990 and has continued to immerse us in the splendor of fully bloomed cherry blossoms set against the majestic backdrop of the snow-capped Zao mountain range.

  • Hitome Senbonzakura
    • Address Aza Suehiro District, Oya, Ogawara-cho, Shibata-gun, Miyagi 989-1606

2. Funaoka Castle Ruins Park (Shibata)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Funaoka Castle Ruins Park holds a rich historical legacy dating back to the year 1200, where it was originally constructed by the powerful Shibata Clan. Throughout the turbulent Sengoku Period, the Shibata clan wielded influence under the banner of the Date clan and, hence, proudly looked over the castle until the Edo Period. After changing hands a few times, the castle shifted to the hands of the esteemed Harada clan, with Harada Munesuke assuming stewardship until he became embroiled in the Date Disturbance in 1671.

As punishment for his betrayal, Harada Munesuke and every male member of the Harada Clan were sentenced to execution, and the castle was eventually demolished during the Meiji Restoration.

Today, the remains of this hilltop fortress now serve as a lovely public park recognized as one of the 100 most beautiful cherry blossom spots in Japan. Visitors can ride a slope car (500 yen for adults, 300 yen for children) all the way to the top of the hill and take in the beautiful scenery from above. A 24-meter statue of the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Kannon, stands proudly on top of the hill as well, ensuring that this once war-torn battleground will continue to see peace and prosperity for years to come.

  • Funaoka Castle Ruins Park
    • Address Funaoka Tateyama, Shibata-cho, Shibata-gun, Miyagi 989-1606

3. Tsutsujigaoka Park (Sendai)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

The Date Clan is easily recognized as one of the most influential clans in Miyagi throughout history, but other than politics and business, they also contributed greatly to the environmental betterment of the region. Approximately three centuries ago, during the era of feudal lord Date Tsunamura, the fourth leader of the Date family planted around 1000 sakura cherry blossom trees, which are what today are Tsutsujigaoka Park. Taking great care to ensure that future generations would be able to enjoy the natural beauty, he even created the graceful Shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree) of cherry blossoms from Kyoto to create something truly unique.

As time elapsed, the sakura cherry tree population gradually dwindled, succumbing to the natural aging process and the ravages of World War II. However, a collective desire to rejuvenate this cherished place as a haven for sakura blossoms emerged, prompting enthusiastic efforts to replant sakura trees so the baton can be passed on to the next generation, just as Date Tsunamura foresaw.

Today, the park has regained its renown for the resplendent beauty of its sakura cherry blossoms. During the spring season, throngs of visitors congregate to partake in the tradition of picnicking beneath the enchanting canopy of cherry blossoms. With over 360 sakura trees, including the iconic Yoshino cherry, double-flowered varieties, the delicate Higan Cherry, and the Ukonsaukra with its unique pale golden blossoms, visitors can revel in a prolonged spectacle of floral splendor.

  • Tsutsujigaoka Park
    • Address 1, Gorin, Miyagino Ward, Sendai, Miyagi 983-0842

4. Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park (Matsushima)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

For centuries, only the most intrepid travelers made it out to the remote Tohoku Region. Among them, Saigyo Hoshi, a revered monk and poet of the twelfth century, made his mark in the books of history as he traveled across Japan’s northern frontier, translating his travels into works of literary art, particularly regarding his encounter in Matsushima.

Tradition holds that fatigued from his travels, Saigyo sought respite beneath a majestic pine tree atop a hill. There, he found himself engaged in a profound exchange with a young boy who took it upon himself to stump the monk with Buddhist riddles. Unable to provide satisfactory answers, Saigyo realized that his journey had come to an end and set back towards his home, leaving the pine tree the name “Saigyo Modoshi No Matsu,” or "the pine tree that sent Saigyo home."

Renowned for its breathtaking vistas of Matsushima Bay, this park offers an unrivaled panoramic spectacle, particularly enchanting at sunrise. In spring, the landscape is transformed as 260 cherry trees burst into bloom, adorning the scene with a delicate pink tapestry of blossoms.

  • Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park
    • Address Matsushima Inuda, Matsushima-cho, Miyagi-gun, Miyagi 981-0213

5. Sendai West Park (Sendai)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Sendai is known as the “City of Trees,” as nearly ⅓ of the city is forested. Nishi Park, inaugurated in 1898 as Sakuragaoka Park, stands as the oldest urban green space in the city and provides a valuable greenspace for citizens to walk around, exercise, and hold events. Each spring, this greenspace becomes a “pink space” when the resplendent cherry blossoms come to life.

Among its cherished features lies the "Garyubai" tree, associated with Date Masamune, with its trunk resting horizontally about three meters above the ground. Despite enduring the ravages of the Sendai air raids during the war, a resilient plum tree miraculously sprouted anew the following spring, giving it an extra layer of meaning.

Beyond its natural allure, Nishi Park boasts an array of amenities, including an observatory, baseball field, and swimming pool, drawing crowds with its diverse event offerings. Recent additions of sculptural installations underscore its evolving identity as a bastion of artistic expression.

  • Sendai West Park
    • Address Sakuragaokakoen, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi 980-0823

6. Shiroyama Park / Wakuya Castle Ruins (Wakuya)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Flowing through the Sendai Plain, the Eai River has been an integral part of the development of this region, gracefully curving southward, tracing a picturesque path along the hillside. Perched atop this scenic locale are the remains of Wakuya Castle, a casual reminder that in Japan, history lives alongside all of us.

Initially held by the Wakuya clan, steadfast allies of the Osaki clan, Wakuya Castle changed hands with the shifting tides of history following Toyotomi Hideyoshi's unification of Japan. Transitioning through the Kimura clan, it eventually became the bulwark of the Watari clan, sworn vassals of the Date clan.

For many years, the castle thrived. However, internal strife over succession between heirs resulted in the Date Disturbance, led to its downfall, and, like many other castles, was eventually dismantled during the Meiji Restitution.

Today, the once-mighty Wakuya Castle has evolved into Shiroyama Park, a beloved destination renowned for its breathtaking cherry blossoms in spring, with its name literally meaning “Castle Mountain Park.” Within its serene grounds stands a solitary corner turret—a poignant reminder of the castle's former glory and the only surviving structure of its kind in Miyagi.

  • Shiroyama Park (Wakuya Castle Ruins)
    • Address Shimocho-3-2 Wakuya, Toda District, Miyagi 987-0121

7. Shiroishi Castle (Shiroishi)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Shiroishi Castle, also known as Masuoka Castle, was strategically positioned on a flatland-mountain terrain—a hallmark of castle construction—and stands as a testament to the strength and influence of the Date Clan.

Those loyal to the Date were generously rewarded, and none were more loyal than the Katakura clan. As vassals of the Date, the Katakura were awarded domain over the castle for over two centuries, overseeing its protection and the advancement of the Date Clan’s political interests.

All good things come to an end, however, as the castle was dismantled during the winds of change that swept through the land during the Meiji Restoration. Yet, when one door closes, another opens, and post-war, the castle tower and the revered Oteichinomon and Oteninomon gates were faithfully restored and stand as proud testaments to the valor and accomplishments of the celebrated trusted confidants of the Date.

  • Shiroishi Castle
    • Address 1-16 Masuokacho, Shiroishi, Miyagi 989-0251

8. Mikamine Park (Sendai)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

While there is no shortage of amazing places to see the cherry blossoms in Sendai, Mikamine Park has the most cherry trees of all the parks in the city and is especially good for a family outing. While there are no ancient castle ruins or boisterous street food stands set up in the park, locals jest that Mikamine is the premier venue for throwing hanami parties, as the sprawling lawns are perfect for picnics and large gatherings.

You’ll often see children running and playing happily, and friends, coworkers, and families lounge under the shade of the cherry blossom trees. The pine forest near the entrance to the plaza creates a gentle glow of greenery amongst the pink, and contrasting variants of sakura are visually stimulating, to say the least.

  • Mikamine Park
    • Address 1 Mikamine, Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi 982-0826

9. Hiyoriyama Park (Ishinomaki)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Mount Hiyoriyama stands proudly as a landmark of Ishinomaki City, with Hiyoriyama Park at the peak offering an unrivaled view of the cherry blossoms paired to the ocean.

In the wake of the devastating 2011 tsunami, over five hundred lives were lost in the surrounding residential areas as Ishinomaki was one of the cities hardest struck hit by the disaster. Today, the park serves as a solemn memorial, offering visitors a poignant glimpse into the past through a series of viewpoints adorned with photographs capturing the pre-disaster landscape. The stark contrast between these images and the present-day vistas serves as a powerful testament to the enduring spirit of Ishinomaki's reconstruction efforts.

For those drawn to the stories of resilience and renewal, Hiyoriyama Park is an essential destination. Here, amidst the tranquil surroundings, lies Kashimamiko Shrine—a sacred sanctuary where generations of fishermen have sought solace and safe passage. Though the shrine awaits full restoration, its presence serves as a beacon of hope and remembrance, embodying the unwavering spirit of a community united in the face of adversity.

  • Hiyoriyama Park
    • Address 2-2 Hiyorigaoka, Ishinomaki, Miyagi 986-0833

10. Shichikashuku Park (Shichikashuku)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Quite off the beaten path for the average traveler, Shichikashuku Park is a hidden gem that even flies below the radar of locals.

Properly called Shichikashuku Dam Natural Recreation Park in full, this wonder of nature encompasses 28 hectares of land, all coiled around a lake. This lake is actually the result of a dam and is the water resource for 77.5% of Miyagi Prefecture's residents, so heightened measures are taken to ensure that the water here is top quality.

Exploring the area, 7,777 trees of 77 different species are found in the park area, and both a ground golf course and a 36-hole golf course are enjoyed best with the panorama of Mt. Fubo and cherry blossoms in the background.

  • Shichikashuku Park
    • Address Shichikashuku-cho, Katta-gun, Miyagi 989-0537

Why come to Miyagi for Cherry Blossoms?

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

From the northern mountains of Hokkaido to the southernmost seas of Okinawa, just about everywhere you go in Japan will boast their own cherry blossoms to be the best. So, what makes Miyagi so special? The sakura of Miyagi that we enjoy today carries the wishes for peace and prosperity of generations past and will transcend time to deliver that same happiness to generations future. In Miyagi, with each petal of a cherry blossom, a story is told, and with each flower, a chronicle.

Written by:

Alexander Litz

Alexander Litz

Alexander Litz moved to rural Yamagata at age 15, and even after completing his studies across Seoul, Tokyo, and Taipei, he returned to Yamagata to share his love of northern Japan with the world as a freelance writer and translator. Having explored all 47 prefectures, Alexander transitioned to a career in tourism and now is the Director of Inbound Tourism at Expedition Japan, where beyond planning and leading unique trips in rural Japan, he does inbound consulting for local and regional governments as well as travel media to help show the world the charms of a Japan less traveled. He is a Nationally Licensed Tour Conductor, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Asian Studies from Temple University Japan, and is a Boren Scholar at National Taiwan University. Website: www.expedition-japan.com. Instagram: @goldfisho.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Limited time offer: 10% discount coupons available now!