Attractions

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Yamadera

Risshaku-ji

The 'Temple of Standing Stones', more commonly known as Yamadera, rests atop a rock-hewn staircase weathered over the centuries by unrelenting elements. At the foot of the mountain, guarded by a small lantern, is th…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Shimokita Peninsula

Osorezan-bodaiji

This holy shrine at Osore-zan's summit is a moving, mesmerisingly atmospheric and beautiful place honouring Jizō Bosatsu, protector of children and a much-loved deity in Japanese mythology. It's also said to be loca…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Haguro-san

The 2446 stone steps through ancient cedars to Haguro-san's summit (419m) have been smoothed by centuries of pilgrims. The climb, taking up to two hours, passes Gojū-no-tō (五重塔), a beautiful wooden five-storey pagod…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Gas-san

Accessible from July to September, Gas-san (1984m) is the highest of Dewa Sanzan's sacred mountains. From Hachigōme (八合目; eighth station), the route passes through an alpine plateau to Kyūgōme (九合目; ninth station) i…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Yudono-san

Accessible from May to October, Yudono-san (1504m) is the spiritual culmination of the Dewa Sanzan trek. Coming from Gas-san, it's a short walk from the stream bed at the end of the descent to Yudono-san-jinja.
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Hiraizumi

Chūson-ji

Established in AD 850 by the priest Ennin, this complex was expanded by the Ōshu Fujiwara family in the 12th century. A total of 300 buildings with 40 temples were constructed. Ironically, the family's grand scheme …
Top Choice Archaeological Site in Aomori

Sannai Maruyama Site

Excavation of this site turned up an astonishing number of intact artefacts from Japan's Jōmon era (10,000 to 2000 years ago), which are on display at the museum here. Clay figures, jade beads and large chestnut pil…
Top Choice Museum in Minami-Sanriku & Kesennuma

RIAS Ark Art Gallery

High in the hills above Kesennuma, this local art museum houses the largest collection of photographs and artefacts in existence relating to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. A comprehensive booklet …
Top Choice Historic Building in Sendai

Zuihō-den Mausoleum

The mausoleum of Date Masamune sits majestically atop the summit of a tree-covered hill by the Hirose-gawa. Built in 1637 but destroyed by Allied bombing during WWII, the current building, completed in 1979, is an e…
Lake in Tazawa-ko

Tazawa-ko

The under-visited beach at Shirahama (白浜) is a real find for open-water swimmers and beach bums due to its clear-blue water, shallow entry and breathtaking mountain backdrop, but is only recommended during summer mo…