Nicknamed the “City of Trees”, Sendai is a lively city that boasts a rich Edo Period history. Historic castles, ornate temples and mausoleum’s dot the modern city, which is also home to a famous undercover shopping arcade.
Things to do in Sendai
Spend a day exploring Sendai’s compact downtown area, beginning with a visit to the Asaichi morning market where freshly-caught fish, flowers and local specialties are for sale. Go shopping in the covered arcades of Ichibancho and soak up the city views from the observation deck of the AER Building.
Visit the Zuihoden mausoleum of Date Masamune, a powerful warlord who ruled over Sendai from Aoba Castle. Wander along the cedar-lined pathways and admire the intricate wood carvings and multicoloured paintwork that was typical of the Momoyama Period, then visit the museum where his personal artefacts are on display.
Date Masamune was responsible for building a commanding castle on the slopes of Mount Aoba, with remnants of the stone walls and a guard tower all that remained after a World War II bombing. A statue of Masamune on horseback now dominates the site, together with a museum detailing the castle’s history and models of how it appeared during the Edo Period.
Admire the elegant main hall and pagoda of the picturesque Rinnoji temple, which was founded by another member of the Date clan, Mochimune. The temple buildings were recently restored to their original condition and are surrounded by traditional Japanese gardens dotted with benches where you can relax and soak up this magical setting.
Getting around Sendai
Sendai is a 1.5-hour ride by shinkansen from Tokyo or around 5.5 hours by bus. A loop bus connects most of the city’s attractions, but the downtown area is easily explored on foot.