The Tohoku Region is one of the snowiest regions in Japan. The climate may be on the cold side, but it makes for magnificent winter sceneries. In this article, we’ll be sharing our recommended itinerary for you to plan a perfect winter trip to enjoy the magnificent winter scenery in Tohoku Region!
Day 1: Visit Sendai Morning Market and Go See the Sendai Pageant of Starlight – Sendai City
The Sendai Morning Market, just a 5-minute walk from Sendai Station, has about 70 stores offering seasonal seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and more. Popular for its wide selection of affordable fresh food, the market’s many visitors even call it “Sendai’s Kitchen” as a term of endearment. In winter, seasonal offerings include flounder, oyster, and Sendai water dropwort. We also recommend trying a fresh seafood rice bowl (kaisendon).
The Sendai Pageant of Starlight, first held in 1986, is a winter illumination event where the rows of zelkova trees on Jozenji-dori Avenue in central Sendai City are lit up at night. The event has become a winter tradition in Sendai City that tourists from both Japan and abroad look forward to. The lights twinkling in the snowy landscape makes for an atmospheric scene that can only be seen in winter. Enjoy this fantastic tunnel of light that seems to emanate warmth and ease the cold.
For accommodation, we recommend the Sendai Royal Park Hotel surrounded by lush greenery. The hotel offers elegant European-style rooms and various amenities. Inside the hotel facility you can do yoga or dine in glamping facilities in the beautiful garden. Rent a bicycle and explore the area, or get a massage in the comforts of your own room and relax. In winter, the garden is illuminated at night with 400 warm lanterns and a whopping 65,000 little light bulbs. It’s also only in winter that the glamping facilities are equipped with kotatsu tables (low tables with heating). It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a meal while surrounded by the beautiful lights.
Wouldn’t you agree that shopping is an essential part of traveling? Just a minute’s walk away from Sendai Royal Park Hotel, the SENDAI-IZUMI PREMIUM OUTLETS® house 80 outlet stores and beautiful facilities designed with the cityscapes of the northeastern US in mind. Enjoy shopping at this lovely location.
Day 2: Try Morning Ramen and Go See the Aizu Painted Candle Festival – Fukushima Prefecture
Kitakata Ramen is one of the Three Great Ramen of Japan. When you visit Kitakata City, it’s recommended to try Morning Ramen, a dish that’s slowly spreading across Japan. The suggestion of having ramen first thing in the morning may shock some people, but it’s a custom in Kitakata City, which is known for ramen shops that open early in the morning. The soy sauce-based broth is light and refreshing and matches the freshness of the morning. Try this local custom and enjoy some ramen in the morning!
The Aizu painted candle is one of the traditional crafts in Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture. Every candle is hand-painted one by one with seasonal flowers like chrysanthemums, peonies, and wisterias in vivid colors. The Aizu Painted Candle Festival is a local winter tradition held every year in early February for two days, where Aizu-Wakamatsu City is beautifully illuminated at night by the hand-painted candles. The festival is mainly held at Tsurugajo Castle and Oyakuen Garden. At Tsurugajo Castle, you can even go up the castle keep during the event for a breathtaking view! Aside from the two main event venues, other locations in Aizu-Wakamatsu City are also illuminated with the candles. Enjoy the distinct atmosphere at every location.
For accommodation, we recommend Japanese inn called Ookawaso in Ashinomaki Onsen, Aizu-Wakamatsu City. Ashinomaki Onsen is a hot spring town that is said to have opened for business 1,200 years ago. The famous open-air bath found here, called Shikibutai Tanada, boasts a superb view. At the Ookawaso, you can enjoy a wide variety of hot spring baths, each with a unique atmosphere. Enjoy the great location of the inn, where all of the rooms are located along the valley facing the large river nearby. The inn’s atrium from the first basement to the first floor is also said to resemble a place in the popular anime Demon Slayer!
Day 3: Visit Ouchi-juku – Fukushima Prefecture
Ouchi-juku is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Fukushima Prefecture. Situated in a remote area in the mountains in southern Fukushima Prefecture, Ouchi-juku is a village consisting of more than 30 thatched-roof houses that retain their appearance from about 400 years ago. As a nationally designated Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings, the village will take you back in time!