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  • - After leaving Yamadera,

  • we drove through the mountains straddling the Yamagata

  • and Miyagi prefectural border

  • to Mount Zao to visit the Okama Crater

  • that sits at an altitude of 1,841 meters.

  • (gentle music)

  • Yesterday we were in Yamagata, it was 25 degrees,

  • it was like late spring.

  • I had like my chest out, we were like styling (laughs).

  • Well look, there's still snow up here,

  • that's crazy to me.

  • You're not allowed to approach the crater,

  • and the roads are closed in the winter due to the snow.

  • But with the drop in temperature

  • and the volcanic rock all over the ground,

  • visiting this crater feels like you're on another planet,

  • and it's really surreal.

  • If you're nearby, it is worth the trip to check it out.

  • Okay, so we have traveled for hours.

  • We have left Yamagata Prefecture,

  • and we have entered Miyagi

  • We are now at Kamasaki Onsen, and right behind me

  • is this amazing massive Ryokan called Yunushi Ichijo,

  • and it's actually registered

  • as a protected cultural heritage site.

  • It's a massive Ryokan, and a massive property,

  • it's really fascinating to walk up towards it.

  • Our car could barely make it through

  • some of the lower parts of the overpass,

  • overheads, over things, things.

  • So let's take a little walk and explore.

  • Located in a quiet mountainside,

  • Yunushi Ichijo seems like a time capsule,

  • a (indistinct) Showa era luxury Ryokan

  • that survived the test of time.

  • And although the large property

  • boasts a lot of authentic Japanese style construction,

  • they've updated some of the rooms

  • to be even more luxurious than they were before.

  • (gentle music)

  • Look at how big this one is.

  • Oh my God, it's massive.

  • The double beds behind me are big enough

  • for at least four people, total,

  • like you could have two per bed.

  • Over here, we've got the living room.

  • Very beautiful, let's go start with the inside bath.

  • The inside bath is really cozy,

  • you've got a nice little old shaped bath here.

  • From the bath you open a door,

  • you come out into this gorgeous, private, open air bath.

  • My absolute favorite part of staying in this Ryokan,

  • however, was definitely the kaiseki dinner.

  • It's a perfect balance of fresh seafood

  • and the renowned beef.

  • And again, we were left with full stomachs.

  • This further confirms my theory that in northern Japan,

  • they really, really like to feed you.

  • (gentle music)

  • The next morning we stopped by the nearby Shiroishi Castle.

  • A castle that dates back to the 12th century,

  • but has since been rebuilt.

  • Here you can try some genuine samurai armor,

  • and get a real feel for how the samurai used to live.

  • Not only is this a great photo experience,

  • but it shows you just how heavy layers of armor can be.

  • I definitely learned I wouldn't make a good useful samurai.

  • One thing you need to know about this outfit

  • is that it is very heavy, it is 15 kilos,

  • over 30 pounds of clothes.

  • (laughs) So walking up and down the stairs,

  • you gotta be ready to sweat a bit, okay.

  • For a coffee break we headed to Watari City,

  • a city in Miyagi that was heavily impacted

  • by the tsunami in 2011.

  • Here a company called Watari uses upcycled kimono fabric

  • to make brand new items.

  • And at Nakamachi Cafe, you can join in

  • a key chain-making session

  • using the upcycled kimono fabric yourself.

  • All right, so we're going to make

  • our own original key chain

  • from reused upcycled kimono fabric,

  • which personally I'm very excited for

  • because I think this is a great way

  • to make a nice unique Japanese souvenir

  • where there's only one.

  • I made this one, I think it turned out really cool,

  • I love the vibrant blue color.

  • I feel like it looks cool, it's super cute.

  • I can't wait to put some keys on it,

  • and use it with everything else I own.

  • Then it was time for lunch,

  • and we made our way further to Natori City,

  • a region that was heavily devastated

  • by the earthquake in Tsunami.

  • At Kawamachi Terrace, the aim is to revitalize the region

  • by providing outlets for local restaurants,

  • produce, and wares to be purchased by visitors.

  • So this is a great place for a pit stop, a rest,

  • and a bit of souvenir shopping.

  • So one of the foods that Sendai is known for is beef tongue.

  • And if you haven't had beef tongue in Japan,

  • you should 'cause it's delicious.

  • Down South we also have beef tongue restaurants,

  • and they're all from Sendai (laughs).

  • So since we are here in Miyagi,

  • we're definitely gonna have beef tongue for lunch.

  • And what better place to try it

  • than Kawamachi Terrace in Natori.

  • Finally, after a bit more driving

  • we arrived at our final stop for the day, Sendai City.

  • With a population of over a million,

  • this city is vibrant and energetic,

  • and nothing like I imagined it at all.

  • This is my first time in Sendai, and I've never,

  • I don't know, I like I didn't know anything about it,

  • I didn't know what to expect.

  • But I love the greenery down here,

  • it's so beautiful, lots of nature.

  • Tonight we're gonna just go walking around the city

  • and maybe do a little bit of bar hopping.

  • And it sounds like a great way

  • to just get acquainted with the area

  • and the vibe of the culture here, so let's go.

  • (upbeat music)

  • We waited for it to get dark

  • before embarking on our night tour

  • with our tour guide Riske, who showed us around.

  • So we're on the hunt for Zunda,

  • which is the name of the edamame paste

  • that is used in Japanese sweets here.

  • We don't see it so much down south,

  • and I'm excited to give it a try at the the spot

  • because like, I don't know if the stuff

  • that we can get in (indistinct)

  • is like as fresh or authentic.

  • My first Zunda shake with mochi in,

  • it looks very interesting.

  • Mm, I don't know what I expected,

  • I thought it was gonna taste less green,

  • but it has bits of muchi in it, very chewy.

  • If you like bubble tea or like tapioca in your drinks,

  • this is something you should definitely try.

  • (gentle music)

  • Riske took us through Sendai shopping arcades

  • and into the side streets of Iroha Yokocho

  • to deep dive into Sendai's bar culture.

  • Our first stop, an authentic

  • and exclusive yakitori restaurant,

  • with chicken skewers grilled right before our eyes.

  • (meat sizzling)

  • All right, first round, we're having hearts.

  • (gentle music)

  • (indistinct chatter)

  • Mm, mm.

  • After a few bites here,

  • we headed further down the alleyway

  • into a rock and roll bar frequented by celebrities

  • such as Cyndi Lauper and Chris Broad.

  • And this is where things started to get really exciting.

  • I've had yakitori before, but this restaurant was great

  • in that it served a lot of soul food and specialty items

  • that can really only be found in this particular area.

  • (speaking in foreign language)

  • The food culture all across Japan is really diverse,

  • and that's what makes it really exciting

  • when you go out to eat.

  • This time I tried Hoya or sea pineapple,

  • and trust me, that was an adventure.

  • (speaking in foreign language)

  • This was a great way to end the day,

  • and also my first and hopefully not last trip to Sendai.

  • (gentle music)

  • In the morning, we checked out of our hotel,