Sendai—Contemplating culture and history

Sendai—Contemplating culture and history

Sendai, the capital of Miyagi prefecture, has a population of 1.08 million and is located in Japan’s Tohoku (northeast) Region, 350 km north from Tokyo on the side of the Pacific Ocean.

Although Sendai is now often associated with the March 11 disaster, this city has put in a lot of effort to change this image.


Sendai is known as the “City of Trees” because of its great natural heritage. It is also a hub of economy, industry, and culture of northeastern Japan. Far but easily accessed by bullet train from Tokyo, this compact modern city takes pride in its forward thinking and intercultural openness.

Sendai, a hub of economy, industry and culture of northeastern Japan

Sendai, the capital of Miyagi prefecture, has a population of 1.08 million and is located in Japan’s Tohoku (northeast) Region, 350 km (217,48 miles).

Sendai is known as the “City of Trees” because of its great natural heritage.

Established in 1991, Sendai International Centre exists as a place for international and intellectual exchange. The building itself has an abundance of facilities and equipment to cater to the needs of any company or organization looking to host an event, presentation, or meeting under global MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions). March 2015 brought the completion of the new convention center—the Exhibition Building with 2 exhibition halls of 1000 and 2000 square meters. The main hall can accommodate 1000 people. It is easily accessible within 4 minutes from Sendai Station with the newly opened Sendai Subway Tozai Line.

One of them is called Sakan with a 1000 years old tradition. It is known for its exquisite food and comforting atmosphere.

Matsushima is located in the central region of Miyagi Prefecture around 30 kilometers from Sendai. Some 260 islands, large and small, are scattered throughout the picturesque Matsushima Bay. This beautiful place is bursting with fantastic scenery that has been designated as one of the three most scenic sites of Japan, and delicious seasonal food. In December 2013, Matsushima joined the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club. Due to the fertile water of the ocean in the bay, oysters are famous in this area. A unique oyster cruise with lunch on board is awaiting the visitors.

Another spectacular experience is the Akiu hot spring area, located about 15 km west of central Sendai city, and is in the valley formed by Natori River. In the 6th century, Emperor Kinmei bathed there for its curing waters and is still famous today for its healing properties. It is close to central Sendai city, so many people visit there for stay-over or single-day bathing. Along Natori River, there are dozens of hotels and ryokans. One of them is called Sakan with a 1000 year old tradition. It is known for its exquisite food and comforting atmosphere.

With the unusual rocks and rapid flow of the river and waterfalls, the Rairaikyo gorge invites adventure. Following the path of the gorge, the 55 meters long Akiu Otaki Falls are waiting to be explored. It is one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan and the immense sound of falling water has become a symbol of the hot spring area. Additionally, there are many cultural activities in Akiu. At Akiu Traditional Craft Village, for example, visitors have the opportunity to paint their own kokeshi doll. Professional kokeshi masters have practiced the art of making the dolls for generations.

Another highly recommended cultural activity in Sendai is to visit the Osaki Hachimangu Shrine and the Sendai Aoba castle. Both were built in 1600 by the founder of Sendai, Date Masamune, and give insight to the history and culture of Sendai. The Osaki Hachimangu shrine is designated as a national treasure because of its splendid structure. The site of Sendai castle, a relict from the Edo period, is a hotspot for visitors as well. Next to the castle is a statue of the founder riding on a horse, who is always overlooking Sendai and greeting the visitors of Sendai.

In addition to the cultural side, local culinary specialties, including zunda mochi (rice cakes with soybean paste), sasa kamaboko (fish cakes), and gyutan (cow tongue) are well-known Sendai dishes.

Another on-the-coast-experience of Sendai is a walk towards the ocean in the Arahama area, but this time for contemplating the fragility of life. Sendai is one of the cities most affected by the tsunami and earthquake in 2011. Arahama Elementary School, now the only standing building in the area, is located about 700 meters from the coast, is now a symbol of resistance and perseverance. The tsunami reached the school within 70 minutes after the earthquake. Thanks to a stable construction of the school many lives were saved.

Today, the city has a newly built tsunami evacuation tower—three stories worth of steel skeleton frame. The roof and third floor can hold 200 evacuees.

The city is moving towards a bright future, welcoming visitors and businessmen to explore awaiting opportunities and potentials.

The city is moving towards a bright future, welcoming visitors and businessmen to explore the opportunities and potentials awaiting them.


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