Sendai is the capital of Miyagi prefecture with around 1 million inhabitants, founded by daimyou Date Masamune in 1600. Sendai is known as the biggest city that was near the big Tohoku earthquake in 2011. Despite having a history of damage this city is full of life and has its own unique wonders.
You can go to Sendai by plane since it has an aiport but if you have the JR rail pass the shinkansen is a better option. It’s only a 1,5-2 hour ride from Tokyo station. Once you leave Sendai station the first thing you want to do is going to AER building. This 140 meter skyscraper gives you an amazing view of the east and west side of the city area. If the weather is good enough you can see the big Sendai Daikannon buddha statue.
Once you haven seen enough of the scenery it is time to head to the busstation where you can buy a dayticket for the Sendai Loople bus. This bus stops at all sightseeing spots and since there are way too many I chose a few treasures that suited my interests. The Zuihōden Mausoleum was my number 1 on the list, it’s a beautiful temple ground where Masamune and his heirs are entombed. It was built the year after his death in 1636 and attracts lots of locals and tourists every year. It is also a nice place for a peaceful stroll since the place is surrounded by cedar tress.
The next place the loople bus brought me to were the ruins off Aoba castle. This castle was bombed by the US in 1945 and has never been fully rebuilt. There are some remants like stones and wooden structures to attract tourists. Photos and maps show how the castle looked. Luckily the castle isn’t the only thing to look for on this tiny mountain, there is a statue of Date Masamune, a museum and a beautiful view of the city.
Time for a shrine, the Osaki Hachiman Shrine to be precise. The shrine’s deity, Hachiman, is the Shinto god of war and considered to be a general guardian and protector of the city. Surprisingly this spot was really quiet, not many tourists. You could get a free postcard and a coupon for a glass of amazake. After the visit it was time to go to the last place on my list.
Downtown Sendai is nice to walk around, the shopping streets have nice and unique shops and there is also an arcade. You can definitely kill some time here and once you get hungry you can try the local dish “Gyytan” (beef tongue) in many restaurants. It might sound not that appetizing but it is really delicious and a must for meat lovers. Before leaving Sendai you should also try one of the many sweets containing zunda (sweetened mashed green soybeans), which is also a specialty and don’t forget zunda souvenirs!