Ishinomaki is a port city located in Miyagi Prefecture. Best known for being the birthplace and hometown of prominent manga artist Ishinomori Shotaro, the city has plenty of attractions related to manga of course. Despite being badly affected by the 2011 tsunami, it has since been doing plenty of cleanup, and is currently more or less fully functional. If you head over to Hiyoriyama Park, it’s possible to see the areas left barren on the waterfront. Nevertheless, come to Ishinomaki to experience the diversity of culture and activities it offers, from an island of cats to a manga road.
Famed across the internet, Tashirojima is so famous for its hundreds of felines that inhabit the island. There are only a few aged humans that live here, feeding the cats, but the island draws in plenty of visitors daily. All you have to do is take an hour long ferry ride from Ishinomaki to get to this fascinating island. Look out for several cat shaped cottages as well to take some photos at!
Address: Tashirohama, Ishinomaki 986-0023, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Directly translated, Kamiwarizaki means ‘broken by god’ and refers to the rock that was amazingly split in two by a peal of lightning over a dispute that two villages couldn’t agree over, according to local legend. Kamiwarizaki is located right in the middle of a nature park and is the perfect place to do a night of camping. Why? There’s an amazing view of the sunrise to be had as it peeks through the rock formation, shedding an orange glow as you awaken to its smile.
Address: Kitakamicho Jusanhama, Ishinomaki 986-0201, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Website: Kamiwarizaki (in Japanese)
3. Ishinomori Manga Museum
Named after famous mangaka Ishinomori Shotaro, who created influential manga such as Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009, the Ishinomori Manga Museum is dedicated to the comic arts and displays a number of exhibitions of Ishinomori’s works. Even the museum’s architecture is a marvel to look at, the egg shaped building truly unique and iconic.
Ishinomori Manga Museum
Website: Ishinomori Manga Museum
4. Ishinomaki Manga Road
From the JR Ishinomaki Station, there’s an amazing road that leads to the aforementioned Ishinomaki Manga Museum known as the ‘Manga Road’. It is so named because the entire road is lined with images of characters from Ishinomori Shotaro’s famous mangas. Besides his work though, there are also characters from Robocon, Akaranger, Kikaider, and Sarutobi Ecchan, totaling about 19 monuments, as well as benches and lampposts bearing manga characters. Keep your eyes peeled and see if you can spot them all!
Ishinomaki Manga Road
Address: 2-7 Nakaze, Ishinomaki 986-0823, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Website: Ishinomaki Manga Road
5. Hiyoriyama Park
Hiyoriyama Park is located right in the city centre atop a hill and offers stunning, far reaching views of the city and its surrounding area. This is the place you want to be if you want an amazing panorama of Ishinomaki, and if you’re here in spring, it is also a prime location to watch cherry blossom petals fall. Don’t forget your camera!
Address: 2 Hiyorigaoka, Ishinomaki 986-0833, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Website: Hiyoriyama Park (in Japanese)
6. Santjuan Museum
The Santjuan Museum is a replica of the Santjuan, a Japanese made Spanish style galleon from the early Edo period commissioned by a feudal lord from Sendai. The ship embarked on journeys across the Pacific Ocean on diplomatic missions to Mexico, prior to Japan’s 200 years of isolation. Witness this amazing ship/museum on the water, and learn about the roles of the sailors, merchants and samurai that lived on board the ship. Do note that due to the deteriorated state of the ship’s hull, it is currently not possible for museum visitors to enter the ship and dock until further notice.
Address: 30-2 Watanoha Omori, Ishinomaki 986-2135, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Website: Santjuan Museum (in Japanese)
7. Kinkasan Island Koganeyama Shrine
Take a ferry out to Kinkasan Island to check out the 8th-century Koganeyama Shrine, believed as beholden to a god of money, production and commerce. Take note that there is no public transport on the island, so the journey around the island must be made on foot. Nonetheless, if you’re up for it, the walk is absolutely worth it in good weather, as you take in the green sights and sea.
Address: 5 Ayukawahama Kinkasan, Ishinomaki 986-2523, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Website: Kinkasan Island (in Japanese)
8. Kashima Miko Shrine
Located in Hiyoriyama Park, the Kashima Miko Shrine was a site of remembrance after the tsunami to pay respects to the thousands that were lost or presumed dead from the disaster, as people joined hands and prayed for an early recovery. Nowadays, it functions as a regular shrine, and remains a landmark in Ishinomaki, continuing to celebrate during festivities and organizing their own shrine events. A good place to stop by while admiring the cherry blossoms in the park.
Kashima Miko Shrine
Address: 2-1-10 Hiyorigaoka, Ishinomaki 986-0833, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Website: Kashima Miko Shrine (in Japanese)
A beautiful destination making its way back up
Despite having been hit hard by the 2011 tsunami, Ishinomaki is a fascinating port city with easy access to some truly beautiful nature sites around it. If you’re a manga lover, then you’ll appreciate the manga museum thoroughly, or if you’re a cat lover, Tashirojima is a must-visit. Overall, you’ll probably appreciate the strange calm that the city exudes, still strong, even as it builds itself back up again.
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