Green powdered tea and sweets are served.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (21): Drink in the view at a lord's tea house
Elevated above Matsushima Bay, Kanrantei offers an excellent view of the ocean. Once a tea-ceremony house that belonged to the feudal lord Date Masamune, it is now offers...
Kanrantei/ Matsushima Museum

56 Matsushima Chonai, Matsushima, Miyagi county, Miyagi Prefecture

Sushi prepared with freshly caught fish is superb.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (18): Tuna town serves up freshest sushi
Shiogama, located north of Sendai, is said to have the highest number of sushi restaurants per square kilometer in Japan.

6-12 Shintomicho, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-362-2055

Closed Tuesdays


4-2 Nishimachi, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-362-0236

Closed Wednesdays; open when Wednesday is a holiday


1-7-12 Shinhamacho, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-366-2721

Closed Tuesdays


2-10 Kaigandori, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-364-2221

Closed Tuesdays; open when Tuesday is a holiday


2-1 Asahicho, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-364-6938

Closed Thursdays


2-22 Kaigandori, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-362-3261

Closed Thursdays


3-16 Sauracho, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-364-3245

Closed Wednesdays

Uosaku (Closed for business)

2-20 Nishimachi, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-362-8998

Sushi no Shiogama

2-1-15 Minatomachi, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-367-2885

Closed Mondays and third Sunday (Open during high season)

Sushiya no Yamako Shiogama outlet

Marine Gate Shiogama 2F, 1-4-1 Minatomachi, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-367-9343

Closed Wednesdays


3-9-33 Kitahama, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-367-6396

Closed Thursdays


3-3-2 Fujikura, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-362-8383

Closed Mondays


3-10 Kaigandori, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-366-7526

Irregular holidays


11-16 Ojimacho, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-362-3637

Closed Tuesdays; open when Tuesday is a holiday

The rocky surface of Rairai-kyo gorge is breathtaking.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (12): Akiu Sato Center, Rairai-kyo gorge, Kitchen toto
“Onsen” inns dot the Akiu Hot Spring area about an hour’s bus ride from Sendai Station. But the area in the heart of nature also offers an even “deeper” experience...
Akiu Sato Center

40-7 Teradahara, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-304-9151

Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Open every day except for two days when maintenance work is carried out.

Bicycle rental:

Free service available from April through November, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Requests received until 4 p.m.) Closed in case of rain.

Foot bath “Juemon-no-yu”

Open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from April through November, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free of charge. Closed in case of rain.

Akiu Hot Springs Information Office (at Akiu Sato Center)

Tel: +81-(0)22-398-2323

Open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Kitchen toto

6-4 Yakushi, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-398-2908

Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Wednesdays.

Shufu no mise Saichi

27 Yakushi, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Open 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Closed on second and fourth Wednesdays.

(Open on holidays, although schedule may change in August and December.)

Tel: +81-(0)22-398-2101

Sendai’s specialty dish is “gyutan” or grilled sliced beef tongue.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (6): The home of Japanese 'gyutan' (beef tongue)
“Gyutan,” a hybrid of the Japanese word “gyu,” which means cow, and the English word “tongue,” is famous throughout Japan as Sendai’s specialty dish.
Date no Gyutan Honpo Aobajo outlet

1 Kawauchi, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-223-4715

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (last call 2:30 p.m.)

Open every day

Three generations of ama: Sanae, Sumiko and Shizuka
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (9): Stay at a Japanese-style inn and taste the catch of the ama
For generations “ama” have plunged below the ocean waves, without any diving equipment, to harvest shellfish and seaweed from the sea floor.
Japanese style inn “Nakagawa”

480 Osatsu, Toba, Mie Prefecture

Phone: +81-(0)559-33-6868 (Japanese only)

Access: 40 minutes by car from Toba Station

Call for shuttle service

Matsusaka beef and vegetables for the sukiyaki at Matsusaka Maruyoshi Kamada Honten
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (7): Taste the renowned marbled Matsusaka beef at the source
Matsusaka is world renowned for making beef an art form. The bright pink meat with fine “sashi,” or marbling, is comparable to a fine piece of woven fabric.
Matsusaka Maruyoshi Kamada Honten

239-2 Kamada-cho, Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture

Tel. +81-(0)598-51-2240 (Japanese only)

Open 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. except Wednesdays

10-minute walk from Matsusaka Station

Kameya restaurant

508 Kyo-machi, Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture

Tel. +81-(0)598-21-0109

Open daily 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

1-minute walk from Matsusaka Station

Oharai-machi street is filled with visitors to the shrine.
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (4): Ise Jingu Shrine--Slip back in time to the Edo Period on Oharai-machi street
The old pilgrimage road where those visiting Ise Jingu Shrine have walked for ages is called Oharai-machi street. Long-established shops targeting the worshippers line the...

It is a street that stretches 800 meters from just before the Uji Bridge found in the Inner Shrine of the Ise Grand Shrine.

For details, contact the tourism planning section of Ise City Office at +81-(0)596-21-5565.

Akafuku main store

26 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise, Mie Prefecture (Oharai-machi)

Tel. +81-(0)596-22-7000

Open daily 5 a.m.-5 p.m.

Himono-juku Ise main store

35 Ujiimazaike-cho, Ise, Mie Prefecture (Oharai-machi)

Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Guests staying in the executive room of the Shodoshima International Hotel can enjoy a dip in the bath while taking in the view of the Seto Inland Sea and its islands. (Atsushi Yamanishi)
SETOUCHI: Enjoying the ocean breeze from an outdoor bath
On Shodoshima island, I stayed at the Shodoshima International Hotel, which is a five-minute drive from Tonosho district, where the ferry station is located. All rooms have a...

Ginpaura, Tonosho-cho, Shodoshima, Kagawa Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)879-62-2111


The executive room with an outdoor bath is normally priced at 24,000 yen ($245) per person a night. The hotel is a five-minute ride on its courtesy bus from the Tonosho Ferry Terminal, where ferries from Kobe and Takamatsu arrive. Rental cars on the island are available from 2,250 yen a day. The hotel operates a daily shuttle bus service to and from each port on the island during the Setouchi Triennale.

The two main products of Yamaroku are Kikubishio, right, and Tsurubishio. The two may be used in different dishes that suit their flavors. (Atsushi Yamanishi)
SETOUCHI: Traditional barrel method creates the soy sauce of Yamaroku Shoyu
Shodoshima island, the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea, is Japan’s leading producer of shoyu, or soy sauce, with 22 firms currently in operation.

1607 Yasuda-ko, Shodoshima-cho, Kagawa Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)879-82-0666

Visitors are allowed inside the storehouse. Reservations are not necessary.

Puddings and ice cream containing soy sauce are served at the cafe. (Japanese only)

Ayakiku Shuzo’s leading sake Ayakiku and Kunishige, which is named after the brewery’s top toji sake brewer. (Atsushi Yamanishi)
SETOUCHI: Pure water, great rice, Ayakiku brews the essence of Setouchi
For more than 200 years, Ayakiku Shuzo (Ayakiku Sake Brewing Co.) in the suburbs of Takamatsu has been brewing sake with pristine water drawn from the subterranean stream of...

(Ayakiku Sake Brewing Co.)

3393-1, Yamadashimo, Ayagawacho, Kagawa Prefecture

The brewery offers Kunishige and other lines including Ayakiku.

When the first sake of the new brewing season comes around, the brewery puts out some special limited edition sake such as “muroka nama genshu,” unfiltered, unpasteurized, undiluted sake. It is sake strictly for sake aficionados. Ayakiku also produces shochu and various fruit liqueurs, including umeshu plum liqueur. (Japanese only)

"Kaki no ha zushi"
NARA: Neighborhood offers pretty streets and stylish shops
Nara's Naramachi district is worth a visit. It has narrow, labyrinthine streets lined with traditional "machiya" townhouses.
Hiraso Nara Store

Imamikadocho 30-1, Nara

Tel: +81-742-22-0866

Fax: +81-742-22-2719


Minamiichicho 23-1, Nara

Tel: +81-742-20-1210

Fax: +81-742-20-1215

Yamato beef, produced in Nara, is grilled on an earthenware dish.
NARA: A taste of Nara's Japanese delicacies
While in Nara, I stayed at Hotel Nikko Nara, which is connected to the JR Nara Station. Just like New Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, it is a modern hotel conveniently located for...

Sanjohonmachi 8-1, Nara

Tel: +81-742-35-8831

Fax: +81-742-35-6868


Sanjosoegawacho 1-5, Nara

Tel & Fax: +81-742-93-3191

Closed Wednesdays

The entrance to Hiiragiya Bekkan
KYOTO: Stay in Kyoto the traditional way
If you want to experience lodgings with a flavor of Japan's old capital, try staying at a historical wooden townhouse known as a "machiya." Kyoto-style wooden townhouses are...

431 Yamamoto-cho, Gokomachi Nijo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Tel: +81-75-231-0151

Fax: +81-75-231-0153

The New Miyako Hotel
KYOTO: City-center hotel is convenient and foreigner friendly
For my first night in Kyoto, I stayed at the New Miyako Hotel, which is conveniently located in front of the Hachijo-guchi exit of Kyoto railway station. The traveler can step...

17, Nishikujo-Inmachi Minami-ku, Kyoto 601-8412, Japan

Tel: +81-75-661-7111

Fax: +81-75-661-7135

A tsukidashi starter dish
KYOTO: Authentic sukiyaki, Kyoto-style
When you get a hankering for really good sukiyaki or shabu-shabu beef dishes, it's always best to go right to the source. And you can't get much closer than Moritaya Shijo...
Moritaya Shijo Inokuma Honten

Nishiki Inokuma-cho, Inokuma-dori Shijo-agaru, Kyoto

Tel: +81-75-842-0298

There are Moritaya outlets in Kiyamachi and inside the JR Kyoto Isetan department store.

Junsei restaurant
KYOTO: Junsei serves up heavenly yudofu
As I sat aboard a Shinkansen gazing out the window and watching the scenery whiz by, an old memory came back to me--my first family trip to Kyoto aboard a bullet train.

60 Nanzenji-Kusagawa-cho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto

Tel: +81-75-761-2311

Fax: +81-75-751-8812

HOKKAIDO: Fine dining in a farm restaurant with a topping of ice cream
The New Chitose Airport that serves the Sapporo metropolitan area is located in the eastern part of Chitose, a city that is in the heart of farm country. Along the National...
HOKKAIDO: Ainu Museum--My first lesson in Ainu culture
On my fourth morning in Hokkaido, I headed for the Ainu Museum in the town of Shiraoi, not far from the city of Noboribetsu to the southwest of Sapporo. As I approached the...
Ideas for souvenirs

Mukkuri is a jaw harp of the Ainu, made from bamboo. The small instrument is held firmly against the mouth. The stings are pulled and plucked using the fingers to make a resonating note inside the mouth, making sounds like a stringed instrument. 500 yen ($6).

Ainu Museum:

HOKKAIDO: First a good soak, and then a relaxing dinner
After my visit to Usu-zan (Mount Usu), I was ready for the Noboribetsu Onsen hot springs, where I would be spending my third night in Hokkaido.
HOKKAIDO: Historical Village, Historical Museum of Hokkaido+Sapporo Curb Market
I checked out of the Cross Hotel on the morning of the third day of my trip to Hokkaido and headed for the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in Sapporo.
Recommended souvenir

Seafood delivery is available for domestic destinations. Red king crabs and horsehair crabs are sold at going rates, but an order for two or three people was available for between 10,000 yen and 15,000 yen.

Sapporo Central Wholesale Market:


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