Akiu, Sendai: Traditional Crafts and Beautiful Landscapes in Northeastern Japan

1 Days

Akiu is located in the mountains east of urban Sendai, the largest city of Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, and offers numerous delights to the nature-lover and those interested in Japanese handicrafts.

Start your day by marvelling at the skilled craftsmanship involved in making kokeshi dolls and other works of art at the Akiu Traditional Crafts Village. Next, take a walk through beautiful Rairaikyo Gorge and breathe in the mountain air. Relax your muscles in the famous waters of Akiu Onsen, and after a leisure soak wake up with a cup of java at Kinoie. Finally, no trip to Akiu would be complete without seeing Akiu Otaki Falls, a 180-foot waterfall that is sure to please.

Access From Narita

  1. Day 1

      1. Sendai Station→ [30 minutes by Car] → Akiu Traditional Crafts Village

      1Akiu Traditional Crafts Village

      This Sendai area is rich in traditional crafts, and nine skilled artisans have their workshops right here in the Akiu Traditional Crafts Village, making this a highly recommended destination for visitors interested in Japanese indigo dyeing, lacquerware, kokeshi dolls, traditional spinning tops (koma), bog-wood art, and other Japanese crafts. Many of the artisans offer hands-on workshops, so you can learn directly from a master and also have a unique souvenir to bring home. Kokeshi doll painting and other hands-on workshops require advance reservations.

      1. Akiu Traditional Crafts Village→ [5 minutes by Car] → Rairaikyo Gorge

      2Rairaikyo Gorge

      Rairaikyo Gorge is a natural masterpiece carved by the Natori River, offering beautiful immersive scenery in each of Japan’s four seasons. Walking along the 800m path through the gorge, listening to the sound of the river flowing beneath the strangely shaped rock monoliths, one can feel transported to another time.

      1. Rairaikyo Gorge→ [5 minutes by Car] → Akiu Onsen Hot Springs

      3Akiu Onsen Hot Springs

      Called one of Japan’s three “royal hot springs,” Akiu Onsen was discovered close to 1500 years ago and has been long been known as a kind of health spa. There are even records of Date Masamune, the founder of Sendai, visiting Akiu Onsen to regain his strength. Today many facilities offer both overnight guests and daytrippers the chance to soak in the rejuvenating water.

      1. Akiu Onsen Hot Springs→ [5 minutes by Car] → Kinoie


      This lodge-style building among the trees features an open-air terrace overlooking the Natori River, and is a wonderful place to enjoy a cup of coffee while taking a respite from the stresses of city living. The adjacent Akiu Teshigoto-kan has seasonal exhibitions showcasing the works of local Akiu artists.

      1. Kinoie→ [20 minutes by Car] → Akiu Otaki Falls

      5Akiu Otaki Falls

      Selected as one of Japan’s best 100 waterfalls, 55m high Akiu Otaki Falls is beautiful in all seasons, but is especially scenic in the fall, when brilliant foliage frames the roaring white water. Walk down to the bottom of the falls along the river, bathe in the negative ion energy, and take a moment to appreciate this gem of a waterfall.