Sendai is the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku region of Japan. It is located in the northeastern part of Honshu, the largest of Japan's four main islands. Here are some key details about Sendai:
- Location: Sendai is situated approximately 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Tokyo and serves as a major economic, cultural, and political center for the Tohoku region.
- Nickname: Sendai is often referred to as the "City of Trees" (Mori no Miyako) due to its abundant greenery, particularly in its parks and streets lined with zelkova trees.
- Historical Significance: The city has a rich history and is known for being founded by Date Masamune, a powerful feudal lord, in 1600. Date Masamune is also credited with building the iconic Aoba Castle.
- Aoba Castle: Aoba Castle, also known as Sendai Castle, is a historic site that offers panoramic views of the city. While the original castle was destroyed, a replica serves as a popular tourist attraction.
- Cultural Attractions: Sendai is home to several cultural landmarks, including the Zuihoden Mausoleum, which houses the final resting place of Date Masamune, and Osaki Hachimangu Shrine.
- Education Hub: The city is known for its educational institutions, with Tohoku University being one of the most prestigious universities in Japan.
- Economic Hub: Sendai is a significant economic hub in the Tohoku region, with industries ranging from electronics and information technology to food processing.
- Transportation: The city is well-connected by rail and road, with the Tohoku Shinkansen providing high-speed train services to Tokyo and other major cities.
- Festivals: Sendai is famous for the Tanabata Festival, one of Japan's most colorful festivals. It celebrates the meeting of two celestial lovers and features elaborate paper decorations.
- Local Cuisine: Sendai is renowned for its cuisine, including gyutan (grilled beef tongue), zunda mochi (mochi with sweet edamame paste), and seafood dishes due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
- Nature and Parks: The city is surrounded by natural beauty, including the nearby Zao Mountain Range, known for its "Snow Monsters" (frost-covered trees), and the Sendai Pageant of Starlight during the holiday season.
- Earthquake History: Sendai is part of Japan's earthquake-prone region and is known for its disaster preparedness and recovery efforts, especially following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
- Date Masamune: Sendai was founded by the famous feudal lord Date Masamune in 1600. He is a prominent figure in Japanese history and is often associated with the city's growth and development.
- City of Trees: Sendai is often called the "City of Trees" due to its many green spaces, tree-lined streets, and lush parks, providing a refreshing urban environment.
- Aoba Castle: The original Aoba Castle, also known as Sendai Castle, was built by Date Masamune. While the original castle no longer exists, a replica stands on the site, offering a glimpse into the city's history.
- Educational Hub: Sendai is home to Tohoku University, one of Japan's top-ranked universities and a center for advanced research and innovation.
- Zuihoden Mausoleum: This mausoleum houses the remains of Date Masamune and other members of the Date clan. It's known for its intricate and colorful architectural design.
- Tanabata Festival: Sendai is famous for its Tanabata Festival, one of the largest and most vibrant festivals in Japan. It features elaborate decorations made of colorful paper and celebrates the meeting of two celestial lovers.
- Local Cuisine: Sendai is renowned for its culinary specialties, including gyutan (grilled beef tongue), which is considered a local delicacy. You can also find delicious seafood dishes due to the city's proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
- Starlight Pageant: During the holiday season, Sendai holds the Sendai Pageant of Starlight, where the city's streets are adorned with thousands of beautiful illuminations.
- Zao Mountain Range: Located near Sendai, the Zao Mountain Range is known for its stunning natural beauty. In winter, it becomes famous for "Snow Monsters," which are trees covered in frost and snow.
- Great East Japan Earthquake: Sendai is part of Japan's earthquake-prone region, and it gained international attention following the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The city has made significant efforts in disaster preparedness and recovery.
- Jozenji Street: A picturesque tree-lined boulevard that becomes especially enchanting during the Sendai Pageant of Starlight with its illuminated trees.
- Zuihoden Mausoleum: This impressive mausoleum houses the remains of Date Masamune and is known for its intricate and colorful architectural design.
- Sendai Mediatheque: An innovative cultural center featuring contemporary art exhibitions, a library, and a unique glass exterior.
- Aoba Castle: While the original castle no longer stands, the Aoba Castle replica offers a historical experience with panoramic views of Sendai.
- Sendai Tanabata Festival: One of Japan's most famous festivals, this event features vibrant paper decorations, parades, and celebrations throughout the city.
- Osaki Hachimangu Shrine: A historic Shinto shrine known for its stunning architecture and serene atmosphere.
- Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port: A popular shopping destination with numerous international and Japanese brands, located near the scenic Sendai Port.
- Sendai City Museum: A museum that showcases the history and culture of Sendai and the surrounding region.
- Zao Fox Village: Located just outside Sendai, this village is home to a variety of fox species and offers visitors a chance to interact with these adorable creatures.
- Matsushima: While not in Sendai itself, Matsushima is a short train ride away and is famous for its picturesque bay filled with pine-covered islands. It's often considered one of Japan's most scenic spots.
Must Eat / Try
- Gyutan: Sendai is renowned for its grilled beef tongue, known as "gyutan." You can savor this local delicacy in various restaurants throughout the city.
- Sendai Ramen: While not as famous as ramen from other regions, Sendai's ramen is distinctive, with a soy-based broth and thin, straight noodles.
- Zunda Mochi: Zunda mochi is a traditional Sendai sweet made from pounded rice cakes (mochi) topped with sweet edamame paste. It's a unique and delightful treat.
- Sasakamaboko: These bamboo leaf-shaped fish cakes are a local specialty in Sendai. They are often served as a snack or appetizer and have a distinct taste.
- Harako Meshi: This is a flavorful rice dish made with salmon roe mixed with soy sauce and mirin, served on top of a bowl of steamed rice. It's a seafood lover's delight.
- Beef Tongue Hot Pot: In addition to gyutan, Sendai is known for its hearty beef tongue hot pot, which is perfect for warming up during the colder months.
- Sasa Kamaboko: These bamboo leaf-shaped fish cakes are a local specialty and make for a tasty and unique snack.
- Hoya: If you're feeling adventurous, try "hoya," a local delicacy of sea squirts or sea pineapples, often served raw with a dipping sauce.
- Matsu no Sushi: A type of sushi unique to Sendai, it typically features fresh seafood, such as mackerel, salmon, and shrimp, along with vinegared rice and a bit of wasabi.
- Kaki no Ha Sushi: This is sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves, which impart a unique flavor to the dish. It's a traditional Sendai specialty.
- Taiyaki: Taiyaki are fish-shaped pastries filled with sweet red bean paste, custard, or other fillings. They make for a delightful street food snack.
Must Drink / Try
- Miyagi Craft Beer: The craft beer scene has been growing in Sendai, with several breweries offering unique and flavorful brews. Be sure to try some local craft beers when in town.