Meandering through Miyagi

Miyagi; Inara Pey, May 2015, on Flickr Miyagi (General) May 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

It’s Honour’s fault. But then it always is, isn’t it? 😉 .

She recently posted about an oriental region called Miyagi. As regulars here know, anything involving an oriental feel tends to pique my interest. Then Honour mentioned something about racing cars as well, and as I’m currently having Formula 1 withdrawals (hey, three weeks between races this time!), so I had to go take a look…

Miyagi is truly a place with two different faces to present to the world – and with a few secrets waiting to be found as well, making it the ideal place for gentle (in an adrenalin-fuelled way) explorations.

The first face Miyagi offers the world, for those unfamiliar with it at least, is that of a rural Japanese setting with paved footpaths mixing with shrines, little houses, bamboo walks, a castle and even its own Yumedono (hall of dreams). Away from the arrival point with its modern commercial premises and teleport board (which reveals some of Miyagi’s other face), this is an almost tranquil setting. You can wander the footpaths, visits the shrines, wander over bridges crossing the waterways which divide the land and find plenty of opportunities for taking photos.  make your way across the region, beyond the castle, and you can climb torii-spanned steps leading up to a mountain-top shrine.

Miyagi; Inara Pey, May 2015, on Flickr Miyagi (General), May 2015 (Flickr)

In fact, so picturesque is the the place, it’s easy to forget there’s more here than meets the eye. As noted above, the teleport board gives some of it away – you can use it to reach a number of skyborne raceways – rezzing is permitted, so you can try them for yourself. Or you can test your skills at simball (that’s a kind of full contact football played on hoverboards, for want of a better description), although you will need at least one other player for this to work. The teleport board will also give you access to the local nightclub, Gao (after all every racing driver likes to let-off steam).

But this is far from all Miyagi has to offer. Explore carefully enough, and you might find your way to the river boat tour which will take singles and couples on a ride around and through the region, revealing things you might otherwise miss. Further afield lies a path leading up to an onsen sitting over a lava flow – bringing a whole new meaning to the term hot springs. Higher still, on another peak, sits the hang gliding and bungee jumping platforms (the latter with some delightful animations”) – although you may need a little time to find the elevator up to them! Even the castle offers a rope slide of its own, while closer to the arrival point, there are opportunities to fly a hot air balloon or a wooden helicopter!

Miyagi; Inara Pey, May 2015, on Flickr Miyagi (General), May 2015 (Flickr)

And the secrets of Miyagi? Well, not everything at ground level is at it seems. Take the little shrines scattered around the place, for example, or the kago you’ll find at the start of the path leading to the Miku shrine. Are they all that they seem? Perhaps you might want to open the doors and find out.

Should you feel particularly daring, look for the trap door in the floor of castle. it’ll reveal a rope ladder leading downwards to a subterranean maze, complete with several traps, hidden passages and more. Just be aware that there’s only one way out (teleporting doesn’t count 🙂 ), and you’ll need the code from a certain nice young lady stuck down there if you’re to get past the final barrier. Then you can take the train car back to safety – well, assuming you find the ladders back up to ground level! And if you find the ladders before going to the castle, do remember that without the code mentioned above, your journey underground will be kept a little short.

Miyagi is a place that manages to cram a lot into itself without feeling the slightest bit overcrowded. With places to wander, rides to enjoy, opportunities to sit and contemplate and the chance for some sporting fun all mixed with a little underground adventure, there is enough on offer to keep almost anyone happy during a visit. Keep an eye out, as well, for the Show Pub Puppet theatre (shows Saturdays / Sundays?) on neighbouring NonStop, where a music store can also be found.

Miyagi; Inara Pey, May 2015, on Flickr Miyagi (General), May 2015 (Flickr)