At a Glance
Minamisanriku (or MSM as some ALTs refer to it), is the name of a town formed in 2006 by the amalgamation of the towns Utatsu and Shizugawa. Both still maintain their separate identities despite being combined together. The area was one of the heavily affected areas of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, but much like the proverbial phoenix, Minamisanriku has risen from the ashes.
Shizugawa is a spread out fishing town, comprised of 3 areas and famous for its octopus. The population is around 15,000. It has a man-made beach, a campsite, a scuba-diving school, a huge hotel with fantastic outdoor baths overlooking the bay and many small bars and
restaurants. On the edge of town, the Bayside Arena offers tennis courts, volleyball, badminton, table tennis and a gym. Also, visit the Sun Sun Shopping Village for a variety of food stalls and restaurants.
The Bayside marathon is run though town every November. In the evenings, classes in Japanese, Judo, archery and some strange form of dancing can all be yours. For some great views, follow the 398 towards Ishinomaki, where you will come across the local tourist spot Kamiwarizaki, a corridor between the rocks.
If you are looking for the beating thriving heart of Miyagi, look no further. Maps unfortunately favor such places as “Sendai” or “Kesennuma”, but the real action is hidden away here. Utatsu offers excellent recreational facilities, and if you want to take your new buff body out of the gym, there is always the challenge of Mt. Tatsugane. Mt. Tatsugane offers hiking, camping and mountain bike trails, plus a beautiful view of the ocean. Can “Sendai” offer you that? If you think you are ready for the altering experience of Minamisanriku/Utatsu, follow the signs on Route 45. It’s waiting for you.
Places to Eat
Places to Visit
Things to Do
Isshin - 味の郷 一心
A family owned restaurant that is known for their very cheap, yet delicous teishoku sets. A popular lunch spot near SunSun Shopping Village.
Hashimoto - 創菜旬魚はしもと
A seafood donburi restaurant located in Sun Sun Shopping Village towards the end near the pedestrian bridge.
Tsuki to Subaru
Located in the Sunsun Shopping Village. Tsuki to Subaru has strange hours- they don't always open the whole restaurant every day, so sometimes when you go during the day the dining room isn't open. Some notable items on the menu are the coffee and curry, curry pizza, seaweed pizza, oven-baked curry, Cremia ice cream, also bubble tea.
Kyogoku - そば処京極
A very nice soba restaurant inside a nice residential area.
Near the border of Minami Sanriku and Motoyoshi there is a nice secluded Thai restaurant connected to the owner's house. It's on top of a hill and has a small parking lot. The patio overlooks a small forested hill. The owner likes to speak English and his recommendations are always the best. If you like spicy Thai food this is the place.
Lunch and Cafe Ritchie - ランチ＆カフェ・リッチー
A nice diner that serves teishoku, ice cream, and seasonal drinks. Their most popular menu item is their octopus curry for being super fresh and tasty! They also serve fried octopus.
Coffee Jinja - 珈琲神社
A small cafe overlooking the Minamisanriku bay area. Has a really nice pizza margarita. A nice place to have a drink and let time pass by.
Chokotto - ちょこっと
Small cafe on the outskirts of Minamisanriku. Has fresh fish dishes along with delectable pastries.
Commons - コミュニティーカフェ・こもんず
A friendly cafe with massive portions on their foodstuffs. Even if you're just passing through and need a place to stop, it's worth it!
Miyagi Lapras Pokelid - Octillery
Did you know that Miyagi's Ambassador Pokemon is Lapras? There are 35 decorative Lapras Manhole Covers all over Miyagi! You can see this manhole at Hanmare, the shopping village right by the coast! Minami Sanriku is known for their delicious octopus and known for their tako karage, fried octopus!
Moai Statue - モアイ像
Outside of SunSun Shopping Village there is a Moai statue that was gifted from Chile after the 1960 earthquake; the 9.6 magnitude earthquake had its epicenter in Chile andcaused a devastating tsunamis that hit Minami Sanriku as well as most of the Pacific Asian Islands. The Moais are located all over Minamisanriku town − how many can you find?
Minamisanriku Disaster Recovery Anniversary Park - 南三陸町震災復興祈念公園
A park built after the 3.11 Disaster. There is a monument where people put flowers to commemorate those who have passed. The surrounding area is still under construction but is scheduled to be completed soon.
Areshima Shrine - 荒嶋神社
(unattended but cool) Located on Ara Island off of Arashima Beach. There is a cool bridge you can walk on to get to the shrine. The original torii gates were destroyed in the 3.11 Disaster but they replaced them with new ones. You can see the original stones where the original torii stood.
Kami no Yama Hachimangu - 上山八幡宮
A bigger shrine across from SunSun Shopping Village.
Cape Kamiwarizaki - 神割崎
For some great views, follow the 398 towards Ishinomaki, where you will come across the local tourist spot Kamiwarizaki, a corridor between the rocks. Said to be the place where the gods cleaved a hill in two in order to settle a dispute between two villages. It’s a nice little place, albeit a bit out of the way.
Tsubakishima - 椿島
The largest island in the bay, Tsubakishima is considered a National Natural Monument. As its name implies, it is known for it's camellia trees and even though the island is uninhabited there is an ancient shrine in the center. Unless you know someone, this shrine is difficult to go to so please admire it from afar.
Humare Utatsu - 南三陸ハマーレ歌津
A shopping village that ranges from cafes to clothing stores in Utatsu. Humare also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year. This shopping center was actually only supposed to be a temporary shopping area but the community felt that replacing the tents with actual buildings would allow people to come together and heal. There is a shrine at the end of Humare that has many monk statuettes which are to represent the monks from all over Japan who helped Minami Sanriku rebuild over the years.
Sun Sun Shopping Village - 南三陸さんさん商店街
Visit the Sun Sun Shopping Village for a variety of food stalls and restaurants. Started as a small shopping area after the 3.11 Disaster, Sun Sun has evolved into an official shopping district that locals and tourists can enjoy.
Minamisanriku Winery - 南三陸ワイナリー
A recently (circa 2020) winery in Minamisanriku. The wines are mostly made from Miyagi grapes, and are aged in the sea surrounding the town.
Mt. Tatsugane - 田束山
It lies on the border of Minami Sanriku and Motoyoshi. Mt. Tatsugane offers hiking, camping and mountain bike trails, plus a beautiful view of the ocean. It's not the biggest mountain but the view is the best. It has Keisenasaoshima Shrine and Tatsuganesansekizo Park which are known for its azaleas in the spring.
Bayside Arena - ベイサイドアリーナ
A popular gym in Shizugawa that's only 300 yen per entry to the training room. It also hosts the many of the city's sports events and competitions. There is Bayside Marathon that is usually in November.
Heisei no Mori - 平成の森
A popular gym in Utatsu and sports center. It is a mere 200-yen for admission into the gym and in return you get a pure athletic experience. The Heisei no Mori Sports complex comes with a soccer field, baseball field, tennis courts and a gym.
Hotel Kanyo - 南三陸ホテル観洋
AKA: THE Kanyo. Set on Shizugawa Bay, this laid-back hot spring hotel is 4 km from Areshima Shrine and 3 km from the Minami Sanriku Sun Sun Shopping Village. Parking is free. There's also an outdoor pool and a sauna, as well as indoor and open-air, gender-segregated bathhouses with hot spring water.