Near Ishinomaki are remote islands including Kinkasan, one of the three sacred sites of nothern Japan, where the roaming deer are considered messengers of the gods. Another is Tashirojima, colloquially called ‘cat island’ because of the many cats living there.
Hoya (ascidians) zoni is a traditional home-cooked dish enjoyed around the Ishinomaki area. It’s a unique zoni made with dashi stock of dried hoya, locally sourced seafood and vegetables. Lately, it has become more than just a home-cooked dish and some local restaurants have started serving them as well. Note: Zoni, a Japanese soup with vegetables and fish, is a ceremonial dish prepared in various ways depending on the region. It is often cooked and served at home on New Year’s Day.
Kinka saba is a brand of Japanese chub mackerel fished off the coast of Kinkasan, Ishinomaki. The best season for Kinka saba is between fall and winter. Though it’s high in fat, the aftertaste is pure umami. The kinka saba don’t swim away from the coast of Kinkasan, where they can feed off on quality plankton.
Ishinomaki Seri Hotpot
Kahoku Seri (Japanese parsley) is a GI registered crop with a history spanning over 300 years in the area. It has a crisp texture and can be enjoyed in zoni and with oysters in a winter speciality, Ishinomaki Seri Hotpot.
The area also takes pride in having the biggest catch of anago (sea eel) in all of Japan. Anago here is exceptional in size and rich in fat, making it perfect for sushi and rice bowls when paired with the high-quality local Sasanishiki rice.
Hoya, a type of ascidians, also known as sea pineapple, is an acquired taste with a bumpy, pineapple-like appearance. Harvested around the coast of Hokkaido and the Sanriku Coast, it’s often served as sashimi or with a vinegar dressing. Spring and summer are the best time to enjoy them. Known as one of the world’s biggest fishing ports, Ishinomaki area offers an abundance of seafood.
Enjoy the vast natural landscapes of the Sanriku Fukko National Park by trekking or riding a rental bike through the Michinoku Coastal Trial or Miyagi Olle.
Minamihama Tsunami Memorial Park
Ishinomaki was the area hit hardest by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Ishinomaki Minamihama Tsunami Memorial Park was developed as a place for memorial services, and as a base for passing on the memories and lessons of the disaster to posterity.