Sendai Travel Guide
Don’t let the fact that the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated Miyagi Prefecture keep you from going to Sendai to see the sites and experience the culture (Quite on the contrary however, one should be interested in visiting any of the various disaster zones in Tohoku, in order to gain understanding and perspective. You can only appreciate it if you see it in person), as the city itself is inland and did not get destroyed or touched by the tsunami. There was some damaged from the earthquake but nothing large scale, and all has been repaired since.
Unfortunately this cannot be also said for the many villages and towns that dot the coastline, as they were completely destroyed and since clean up efforts have completed are just flat lots of land.
Also let us debunk any rumor that Sendai is ‘radioactive’ due to the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant malfunction. The city is very much safe and buzzing right along.
Sendai is Northern Japan’s largest city and hub for transportation. The city houses one million denizens and is said to be the ‘perfect’ size, not too big and not too small and very walkable.
The city has an excellent bus system and is coupled with a single-line subway system. With this plus the commuter train networks, you’ll find the city is very easy to get around in.
It should be noted that many of the breathtaking scenic locals are outside the city in the mountains, and in this case either bus or car is the only option.
Sendai Restaurants & Food [view all]
Experience Local dining
Sendai and Miyagi Prefecture are home to a variety of delicious local tasties. As you would expect, Sendai being a fishing city has a plethora of fresh sushi; straight from the sea on to your plate. YUM!
Check out Kameki Sushi, it is touted by locals as the best sushi in all of Japan. You’ll have to see for yourself.
6-12 Shintomicho, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
+81 22-362-2055 ·
Gyutan (Grilled Beef Tongue)
If you can stomach the idea of eating a cow’s tongue then you’ll have no trouble gobbling up some Gyutan (Japanese cow tongue). Whether the texture and flavor is appealing to your pallet won’t be known until you have a bite for yourself. Check out Rikyu (a chain of gyutan shops) for a slice of tongue.
1-12-1 Honcho, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Even obscure amongst the Japanese themselves is the Sendai variation of Miso soup (Known as yellow miso, shinshu miso, or just Sendai Miso). The chief differences being slightly more salty than typical Miso but with a delicate flavor. While you’re in Sendai hop on down to Kotodai-koen for some authentic Sendai Miso:
宮城県仙台市 青葉区 4丁目9−1 かき徳ビル2F、3F
At first glance this dish looks like Gyoza (fried pork dumplings) however it is different in all respects. This dish is made by grinding the white meat of fish into a powerder, and then kneading it with salt, mirin, sugar, starch (to give it form), it is then formed into wedges and steamed. Lastly it is fried on one side and served on ‘sasa’ (bamboo leaf).
This dish is home to Miyagi Prefecture and can be found easily, especially in Sendai. Our recommendation is Kanezaki:
Sendai Sightseeing & Attractions [view all]
Our top picks of things to see and do
Sendai City Museum
Address: 26 Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi
Directions: About 3 minutes on foot from the Museum/International Center stop of the Loople Sendai bus.
If you’ve had enough waterfalls, onsen, and other scenic experiences in Sendai then take a break and go for a stroll in the city’s center of shopping and dining. You’ll find a charming, fairly long but still walkable boulevard lined with the cities best eats and shops.
From mid-Jan to mid-June you can take part in what very well may be the most fun activity in Sendai, that being Strawberry Picking and all you can eat in 30 minutes! At last you can glutton yourself until you vomit!
JR Sendai Station to Watari Station (approx. 30 minutes), then take a taxi out to
the strawberry fields.
Contact: Watari Town Tourist Association (022) 334-0513.
Adults (4th grade and over) ￥1,300-1,500,
Children (over 4 years of age) ￥600-700
Sakunami Hot Spring
After gorging yourself with strawberries and cow tongue take the day to digest and relax at Sendai’s renowned hot spring: Sakunami. The spring is said to provide various health benefits for skin disease, burns, rheumatism and others, however we make no claims, and will not be held liable for any customer dissatisfaction.
Miyagikyo Distillery - Nikka Whisky Sendai Plant (FREE)
For those who feel the desire to become inebriated you can take a free tour of the The Miyagaikyo Distillery and stick around for free testing of their products. The distillery is inconveniently located in the mountains and takes about 30 minutes from Sendai to reach.
Nikka 1, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi
Phone: 81 22 395 2865
Akiu Otaki (waterfall)
Location: Babaotaki, Akiu-machi, Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi
1-16 Masuoka-cho, Shiraishi-shi (within Masuoka Park).
Sendai Castle Ruins
Sendai’s Aoba Castle ruins (there is no castle there, just an empty space) sitting high above, it offers a brilliant view for the whole metropolis and surrounding hills. The admission is 700 yen (not cheap considering the castle is gone!) and is never closed!
The earthquake caused damage in the Aoba Castle area, destabilized some of the castle walls and hill slopes. As a result, the most convenient access road to the castle site is currently closed to vehicles. Access is possible on foot, or by bus or car via a detour. The castle museum, Gokoku Shrine, Yagiyama Zoo, Benyland and Sendai City Museum have all reopened to visitors.
Sendaijo-ato, Tenshudai, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi.
Kokeshi Painting Workshop
For something a little different, if you’re in Shiroishi, check out the Kokeshi Painting workshop, and paint your very own authentic hand-made Japanese wood doll!
Yajiro Kokeshi Village 72-1 Yajirokita, Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi-shi.
In order to make your shopping experience an easier one (as you have no time to loose with exciting attractions like strawberry picking and kokeshi doll painting to tend to) all of your shopping in Sendai is centrally located, and all on the same street: Aoba.
For local items to by, Sendai has very unique Kokeshi (wooden dolls), as well as Sendai-Hariko (Papier-Marche).
Fujisaki Department Store
Mitsukoshi Department Store
Accessing Sendai is a piece of cake whether your mode be flight, train, bus or magic carpet.
Obviously the cheapest way to reach Sendai say from Tokyo would be by Highway Bus. The six hour trip costs around $50 USD one way.
If you’ve got a few bucks then you should certainly take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Sendai. The fee is around $120 US one way, and the trip takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes. The Shinkansen train which makes the trip to Sendai is called the “Yamabiko”.
By Normal Train
Although it only costs $80 to travel by normal train to Sendai from Tokyo, it will take roughly seven hours and require five transfers, which very well may be more than your wits can handle! One is better off taking the highway bus (its faster and cheaper)
For $200 USD you can fly from Tokyo to Sendai, the trip is a brief 90 minutes.
Sendai Hotels & Accommodations [view all]
Cheapest and best places to stay
Toyoko Inn Kagoshima
892-0842 Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Higashisengoku 1-43
A posh hotel right in the center of the city on Aoba street. Hotel Richfield has very good ratings and comes highly recommend. Expect to spend around $145 for a single.
2-2-2 Kokubuncho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture 980-0803