Miyagi Prefecture, belongs to Tohoku region, is a famous tourist destination, thanks to the beautiful landscape of Sendai, its largest city; and Matsushima, one of the Three Views of Japan.
Besides Sendai’s popular beef tongue ‘gyutan’, Matsushima and other areas of Miyagi Prefecture have lots of delicacies that you must try and bring some back home as the souvenirs! Below is the best 11 choices for presents to buy when in Miyagi.
1. Kokeshi dolls
Kokeshi doll is a type of Japanese traditional doll (along with Daruma, etc), originated in Tohoku region. It is made from a small trunk of wood, and its body has no arms or legs. The doll gets thinner forward its neck, and top with an enlarged head. Traditional kokeshi doll’s body is painted with floral patterns in black, red, green or yellow color, and covered with a layer of wax.
Kokeshi dolls can be easily found elsewhere when you are traveling in Miyagi Prefecture, but if you want to observe this petite beauty, then you can visit Japan Kokeshi Museum for a tour and for the original souvenirs!
2. Gyutan goods
Gyutan – beef tongue, was first introduced to Japanese by a chef named Keishiro Sano, at his own gyutan restaurant called Sendai Gyutan, since then, Sendai, Miyagi started to be well-known for its gyutan.
You can see that the dish doesn’t look like a beef tongue at all, it’s just like any other grilled slice of meat (yakiniku), but with chewy and juicy flavor. Nowadays, you can bring this unique taste home, because they sell many kinds of packaged gyutan products, from the salted ones, or the frozen version to enjoy its fresh taste right at home!
Besides souvenir shops in Stations at Sendai or other Miyagi areas, you can also enjoy the fresh gyutan dish in ‘Gyutan sushi Street‘ at Sendai Station.
3. Kikufuku daifuku
You’ve probably known Daifuku is another kind of Wagashi (Japanese sweets), and in Sendai, they have the special wagashi called ‘Kikufuku daifuku’. It has the round shape like any other wagashi, with light-textured cream and solid sweet bean paste inside.
The flavors inside this soft rice cake are getting more various, from green tea, hojicha, especially the Prefecture’s famous ‘Zunda’ (lightly sweetened soybeans) and other seasonal flavors.
The famous traditional Japanese sweets company ‘Ocha no Igeta’ specializes in such sweets, and you can check their online store as well as other information of their flagship store.
Ocha no Igeta (Japanese Only)
4. Zunda mochi
As mentioned above, Zunda is Miyagi’ special flavor of lightly sweetened soybeans. In the combination with mochi – Japanese rice cake, we have Zunda mochi. It has the delicious green-colored looks, which is the mochi covered in sweet soybean paste.
If you had the chance to enjoy these delicacies in any souvenir shop in Miyagi, and buy some beautiful green boxes of zunda mochi back home, but crave for more, they have an online store which sells various products related to zunda flavors and zunda mochi at zundamochi.jp (Japanese Only).
5. Gotto cakes
A little familiar with Nagasaki’s castella, a piece of Gotto cake has layers of sponge cake, then coated with chocolate. Nowadays, besides traditional chocolate flavors, there are also green tea, hojicha, or even coffee, and seasonal flavors such as strawberry and Sakura.
Since Gotto cakes are handmade and not available at every souvenirs shop in Miyagi, so you can buy this deliciously soft and amazing cakes online (Japanese Only), and one of the stores listed here, or the department store called “FUJISAKI” near Sendai station. On the B1 floor of the main building of FUJISAKI in Sendai, you will be able to find Gotto cakes.
6. Kodama no Dorayaki
You love Japan, you know about Doraemon, then you must know about its favorites snack: Dorayaki, which its shape like two pieces of pancakes combine, with red bean paste filling in the middle. Kodak no Dorayaki contains a bonus of a slice of mochi inside!
Kodama no Dorayaki actually is the name of the company that produces dorayaki, originated in Miyagi Prefecture. If you visit their website, you not only have the chance to read about their stories, various kind of dorayaki with many flavors, but also can shopping online, or looking for their outlets’ addresses!
7. Shimobashira ‘frost pillar’
Shimobashira is considered as one of the most excellent kinds of Japanese wagashi because it’s totally handmade by candy experts. Shimobashira also translated as ‘frost pillar’, thanks to its appearance, thin stripes of candy covered in Rakugan powder (rice starch flour), which looks like frost pillars in the middle of snow.
This is a seasonal product, therefore, you can only buy it between October to April. However, you can prepare beforehand by checking out the website of the company that produces the candy! (Japanese Only).
Hasekurayaki is the perfect combination of traditional Japanese and Western sweets. It’s made from the richness of butter and egg into a smooth dough, fill in sweet white bean paste and crushed walnuts. After baked, it has the beautiful soft yellow color and mild sweetness.
Check out the website (Japanese Only) of the company produce Hasekurayaki for their origins, manufacturing process, and especially to order online!
9. Zunda roll cakes
Just has the appearance like any other roll cakes, but Zunda flavor roll cake is special thanks to the typical green color of the cake, then the filling inside is rich whip cream. Especially Zunda Saryo, one of the biggest Zunda related confectionery, produces delicious Zunda Roll cake for a souvenir. You can find the store in Sendai Station and Sendai Airport.
10. Kashosanzen ‘Hagi no tsuki’
The most classic and traditional Sendai souvenirs also a wagashi. Tsuki in Japanese means ‘moon’ in English, as the shape of the cake, round shape like a moon, and light yellow from the high-quality made sponge cake, filled inside with rich and original custard cream. The softness of the cream and spongy feeling from the cake brings you very unique and classic experience!
Sanzen is a company specializes in Sendai traditional sweets, so in here, you not only find your favorite Hagi no tsuki cakes but also many other Miyagi sweets, of course, an online order is available along with outlet shopping!
11. Sendai yubeshi
Yubeshi cake taste way more delicious than its mysterious appearance! It’s just sweet rice cake mixed with walnuts, but also with some soy sauce, which is the main reason giving it the dark color. Despite the crispy looks, yubeshi taste chewy, with the rich flavor of sesame powder!
Check out its original website for the origins and shop some online!
Where can we buy the souvenirs?
You can buy most of the souvenirs on the list above at Sendai souvenir Museum S-pal Sendai, Sendai Station, and Sendai Airport.
Miyagi Prefecture, Aoba-ku, Sendai center 1-1-1
www.s-pal.jp/sendai/b1f/ (Japanese Only)
Visit the Access page for its business hours and how to get there!