The 20 Best Things to Do in Sendai
Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, is one of the most vibrant cities in the Tohoku region of Japan. Dubbed the ‘City of Trees,’ Sendai blends a modern urban atmosphere with a rich historical culture, all surrounded by the natural beauty of trees and hills. Here are the 20 best things to do when you visit Sendai:
Visit the Sendai Castle Ruins: Begin your journey with a taste of history at the Sendai Castle Ruins, also known as Aoba Castle. Although the castle was destroyed, the ruins offer breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Pacific Ocean. The statue of Date Masamune, the city’s founder, is a significant attraction.
Wander through Sendai City Museum: This museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and historical documents from the Edo period. Here, you’ll learn about the city’s history and the life of Date Masamune.
Explore the Zuihoden Mausoleum: This mausoleum is where Date Masamune is buried. The architecture, characterized by vibrant colors and intricate carvings, is a stunning example of Momoyama style.
Walk along Jozenji Street: This tree-lined boulevard is the heart of Sendai’s downtown. Enjoy shopping, dining, and viewing the sculptural installations that dot the street.
Attend the Sendai Tanabata Festival: If you’re visiting in August, don’t miss this star festival. The city is adorned with colorful paper decorations, creating a magical atmosphere.
Visit the Miyagi Museum of Art: This modern museum houses a collection of both Japanese and international art. Works of the local abstract painter, Saito Kiyoshi, are a highlight.
Shop at Sendai Asaichi (Morning Market): This bustling market is a great place to try local foods, like fresh seafood and produce.
Relax at the Rinnoji Temple: This beautiful temple, with its stunning gardens, offers a peaceful retreat from the city.
Savor Gyutan: Sendai is famous for gyutan, or grilled beef tongue. There are numerous restaurants where you can try this local delicacy.
Visit the Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium: Watch dolphins, penguins, and various species of fish at this aquarium, known for its entertaining shows and informative displays.
Explore the Sendai Science Museum: Engage with interactive exhibits and planetarium shows in this family-friendly venue.
Hike at the Akiu Great Falls: This 55-meter waterfall is one of Japan’s top three waterfalls. The surrounding Akiu Onsen town is also worth exploring.
Enjoy Onsen at Sakunami: This hot spring area, located in the outskirts of Sendai, is perfect for unwinding after a long day.
Visit the Osaki Hachimangu Shrine: This national treasure, built by Date Masamune, is an architectural masterpiece with its lacquered, gilded carvings.
Tour the Nikka Whisky Distillery: Learn about the whiskey-making process and enjoy a tasting session at this renowned distillery.
Visit the Yagiyama Zoo: This zoo houses over 100 species, including the rare snow leopard. It’s a fun-filled place for the entire family.
Experience the Matsushima Bay: Just a short train ride from Sendai, Matsushima Bay is famed for its scenic beauty, with hundreds of pine-clad islets.
Explore the Sendai Mediatheque: Explore the Sendai Mediatheque: This innovative building, designed by the renowned architect Toyo Ito, is a must-visit. Its unique architecture, featuring vertical lattices of steel pipes, houses a library, art gallery, cinema, and more. The creative use of space and light is a treat for any architecture enthusiast.
Stroll around Sendai’s Botanical Garden: This garden offers a vast collection of plants, including a beautiful bonsai garden. It’s an ideal place for relaxation and enjoying the beauty of nature.
Nightlife in Kokubuncho: End your day by experiencing Sendai’s nightlife in Kokubuncho, the largest entertainment district in the Tohoku region. It boasts a variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs to suit any taste.
Sendai, with its mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, offers a unique and enriching experience. Whether it’s savoring local cuisine, immersing yourself in historical sites, or simply enjoying the city’s urban vibe, Sendai’s charm lies in its diverse range of activities. From first-time travelers to seasoned visitors, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in the ‘City of Trees.’