If you’re planning to explore not only big city but also suburban in Japan, I highly recommend you to visit roadside station “道の駅(Michi no Eki)”.
Simply because this is awesome! You can enjoy local food, shopping fresh vegetables and fruits, oftentimes traditional craft art from the regions.
Here is the link you can learn more about Roadside station. : https://www.japan.travel/en/guide/michi-no-eki/
And in July 2022, The travel information magazine “Jalan” conducted a questionnaire survey on “roadside stations” and announced the “National Roadside Station Ranking 2022”.
Out of about 1,000 roadside stations (excluding Hokkaido and Okinawa), the 2nd place and 3rd place were the ones in Miyagi prefecture!
1st : 道の駅 川場田園プラザ【Roadside Station Kawaba Denen Plaza [Kawaba Village, Gunma Prefecture]】
2nd : 道の駅 上品（じょうぼん）の郷【Michi-no-Eki Jobon no Sato [Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture]】
It’s the only roadside station in the prefecture that has an Onsen (hot spring).
3rd : あ・ら・伊達な道の駅【A La Date na Michi-no-Eki [Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture]】
It’s the only roadside station which has a permanent Royce store besides Hokkaido area. And this place is known as the place for light up event during winter.
There are many unique ones, such as the one having rare flavored ice cream, unique vending machine, or beer breweries. I love the soft ice cream at Michi-no-Eki Kakuda in Southern Miyagi. If you’re ice cream lover, why don’t you try it?
If you want to know about features of the area, it’s one of the best places you can go.
For people who will visit Tohoku area, I’d like you to visit “道の駅 高田松原(Michi-no-Eki Takata matsubara) in Iwate prefecture.
Because it’s the place you can see and learn about Tohoku disaster 3.11. You can listen to the actual radio contact at that time, and how many people and countries helped to save countless lives.
When I went there, I was shocked and impressed by those information. I know so many people worked really hard to save as many lives as possible, but the number I saw was beyond my expectation. And I was full of feelings of gratefulness, as person was born and raised in Tohoku.
You would see how many people you could help, or what your country did for it.
It’s all in Japanese but here is the link you can search the roadside station in Japan. : https://www.michi-no-eki.jp/
Enjoy your trip!