Tōhoku, Japan - In the Summertime (Part I)

This past week I was fortunate enough to visit Japan for the first time, thanks to Japan National Tourism Organisation. We spent most of our time in the North-Eastern region of Japan, Tōhoku, where we explored far and wide to capture the beauty of summer.

The Tōhoku region consists of 6 prefectures on the largest island of Japan, Honshu. These prefectures include: Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata - half of which we managed to visit. Believe me when I say - you need to spend a good month exploring all of what Japan has to offer. And by month, I potentially mean 'year'.

Japan is one of those places that truly experience all 4 seasons. From the snow covered forests and mountains in Winter and the vibrant reds and oranges of Autumn, to the beautiful explosion of cherry blossoms in Spring, Japan really is an amazing place all year round. And Summer in Tōhoku is certainly no exception! I don't think I've ever experienced such lush and deep greens as I have this past week!

Zuiganji Temple and the Entsuin Gardens - Matsushima, Miyagi

Just half an hour outside of Sendai, you'll find yourself surrounded by some seriously authentic looking Japanese scenery. Whether that's the natural aesthetics of Matsushima Bay, the mind blowing colours of the Entsuin Gardens, or the architectural beauty of the Zuiganji Temple.

When we first arrived at Matsushima, via local train, we were immediately drawn to Matsushima Bay. Unfortunately, the weather didn't play on our side, and whilst it still looked beautiful, it was difficult to capture anything that did it justice. So rather than waiting for the weather to improve, we headed to Zuiganji Temple and the adjacent Entsuin Gardens. The soft light from the heavy cloud made the colours in these gardens really pop. We could have easily spent the entire afternoon exploring these gardens. I think next time I visit, I'll dedicate a whole day to explore this little area of Matsushima!

The Zuiganji Temple was originally constructed in the early 9th century but was rebuilt in the 17th century after numerous alterations. The main temple is currently being renovated and is closed to the public, however, alternate buildings that usually remain closed and unseen to the public are now open for viewing!

The City of Sendai, Miyagi

The city of Sendai, also known as 'the city of trees', is the capital city of the Miyagi prefecture and also the largest city in all of the Tōhoku region.

The image above was captured from Mount Aoba where the Aoba Castle once stood many years ago. The grounds and remains of the castle now act as a lookout to the city of Sendai below, and a good lookout at that! With views practically spanning 180 degrees, you can even see the coastline and ocean that lies on the West side of Japan (North Pacific Ocean).

The image below was captured from the 31st floor of the AER building, the tallest building in Sendai offering the best views from within the city!

Genbikei Gorge, Iwate

Genbikei Gorge is one of those places I know I'll come back to again. In fact, next time I visit Japan, I'll be making my way straight to Ichinoseki.

This gorge spans a whopping 2 kilometres from start to finish, filled with multiple rapids and falls along the way. There are numerous bridges and lookouts that line and cross the gorge, but I found the best images were up close and personal to the action!

Something that makes this gorge stand out a little more than your typical gorge is that situated on one side of the gorge is a dumpling shop that takes orders from customers on the opposite side. Simply place your order, along with cash, into the basket and the staff will pull the basket across the gorge and return it with dumplings of your choosing. Pretty rad, right?

Ok, so it turns out I've just got too many images to share in one post, so stay tuned for my next post on the Tōhoku region of Japan (uploaded early next week), where I'll share images from one of the best sunsets I've ever witnessed!

Don't forget to head over to the Japan National Tourism Organisation website to learn more about some of the amazing places you can visit in not only Tōhoku, but the rest of Japan, too!

Thanks as always for reading and please feel free to leave a comment or question about Japan below!