HOME Tohoku Miyagi Sendai And Matsushima 35 Things to Do in Sendai: Festivals, Nature, and Attractions!
35 Things to Do in Sendai: Festivals, Nature, and Attractions!

35 Things to Do in Sendai: Festivals, Nature, and Attractions!

Date published: 11 December 2019
Last updated: 28 February 2022

Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture is a city rich in culture and nature, where you can enjoy sightseeing and gourmet food all year round. It is home to Sendai Castle, which was built by warlord Date Masamune, and Zuihoden Temple, his mausoleum.

Additionally, here you can find Matsushima, one of Japan's three most scenic spots, Okama Crater on the Zao Echo Line, Naruko Gorge, Sendai Morning Market, and many other attractions and things to do.

Surrounded by the sea and mountains, the area is blessed with a wide variety of delicious foods and exciting events, including the Sendai Tanabata Festival, Sendai Pageant of Starlight, and the Ogawara Cherry Blossom Festival, which are held throughout the spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Read on to find out about Sendai and things to do there.

What Kind of Places are Miyagi & Sendai?

What Kind of Places are Miyagi & Sendai?

Miyagi Prefecture is located on the Pacific side of the Tohoku Region of northern Japan. There are many great sightseeing spots in addition to the gourmet town of Sendai, including the beautiful scenery of Matsushima, Japan’s most popular hot springs resort, Naruko Onsen, and Zao, with its emerald green sparkling Crater Lake Okama.

Sendai is the Tohoku region’s largest city, with a population of over 1 million, and Miyagi Prefecture’s tourism gateway. Natural beauty is abundant throughout the metropolis, which, consequently, has been dubbed “The City of Trees.”

Additionally, there are popular tourist attractions and historical sites related to Date Masamune (the legendary Japanese military commander of the Warring States period who laid the foundations for Sendai City), such as Sendai Castle Ruins and Zuihoden. There are also two hot springs located about 30 minutes by car from the center of the city.

How to get to Sendai from Tokyo

How to get to Sendai from Tokyo

By Shinkansen
From Tokyo Station, it takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to Sendai Station via the Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa and Hayate.

By Plane
To Sendai, it takes about 25 minutes from the Sendai Airport Station connected to the Terminal Building of Sendai International Airport via regular train service, and about 17 minutes via express.

Some of the main tourist attractions in Sendai are a bit of a distance away from Sendai Station, so it is recommended to use the subway, bus, or taxi from there. However there are also many restaurants around Sendai Station known for their famous gourmet dishes such as beef tongue and zunda-mochi, so you may want to go by foot and walk around.

To get to the various tourist attractions of Miyagi Prefecture from Sendai, such as Matsushima and Lake Okama, you may find it most convenient to use the railway. There are also buses and trains available that travel to the other areas, however, they may have limited availability so be sure to check the schedule ahead of time.

1. Get a Panoramic View from Sendai Castle Ruins

1. Get a Panoramic View from Sendai Castle Ruins

Sendai Castle, also known as Aoba Castle, was built in 1602 by Date Masamune, the first lord of the Sendai domain, a warlord known for his stylishness. Even today, the term "Date Otoko" refers to a stylish man.

The castle tower of Sendai Castle is known for its panoramic view of the city, and on a clear day, you can see the center of Sendai, the Sendai Plain, and the Pacific Ocean from the Honmaru (inner bailey) Ruins, where an equestrian statue of Date Masamune also stands.

Sendai Castle was designated as one of the "100 best castles in Japan" in 2006 by the Japan Castle Association even though much of the original structure was destroyed by fire in an air raid during World War II, and only the stone walls and restored side turrets remain.


If you want to know what it was like during its prime, visit the Aoba Castle Museum, where you can experience a virtual tour of the interior of Sendai Castle using computer graphics.

2. Visit Colorful Zuihoden, A Shrine Dedicated to Date Masamune

2. Visit Colorful Zuihoden, A Shrine Dedicated to Date Masamune

The Zuihoden was built in 1637 to enshrine Date Masamune, the founder of the Sendai clan, and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, with cherry blossoms in spring, hydrangeas during the rainy season, colorful fall foliage in autumn, and snowy scenery in winter. It is especially stunning during the Tanabata Festival when traditional Tanabata decorations and about 1,200 bamboo lanterns are displayed to create a fantastic atmosphere.

The Zuihoden Hall was destroyed by fire in an air raid but was rebuilt in 1979 and restored to its original delicate and colorful appearance in 2001. The Kansenden Hall, the mausoleum of the second feudal lord Tadamune, and the Zennoden Hall, the mausoleum of the third feudal lord Tsunamune, are located on the premises. In the museum, you can see valuable materials such as burial accessories.

There are also many annual events, such as "Mini Ohinasama with Lord Masamune," an exhibition of Hina dolls in late February and early March, "Fantasy Light Night: Zuihoden Tanabata Night," a lighting event during the Sendai Tanabata Festival, and "Autumn Noh Play" by the Sendai Nohgaku Promotion Association in October (All events were canceled in 2021).

  • Zuihoden
    瑞鳳殿
    • Address 23-2, Otamayashita, Sendai Shi Aoba Ku, Miyagi Ken, 980-0814, Japan
    • Phone Number 022-262-6250
    • Hours:
      -December 1 - January 31: 9:00 a.m. - 4:20 p.m. (Reception closes at 4:00 p.m.)
      *Closed on New Year's Eve (December 31), On New Year's Day (January 1), Zuihoden Hall is open, but the Museum and other facilities are closed.
      -February 1 - November 30: 9:00 a.m. - 4:50 p.m. (Reception closes at 4:30 p.m.)
      Admission: 570 yen (adults)

3. Enjoy the spectacular views of Matsushima Bay, one of Japan's three most scenic spots

3. Enjoy the spectacular views of Matsushima Bay, one of Japan's three most scenic spots

About 40 minutes from Sendai on the JR Senseki Line, Matsushima is another of Miyagi's sightseeing opportunities you can't overlook.

Matsushima Bay, dotted with a staggering 260 islands, is one of Japan's three most scenic bays along with Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture and Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture. Not limited to scenic walks along the shore, the surrounding areas also offer great views from overlooks like Otakamori and Tamonzan.

You can take in the scenery as you walk along the coast, or enjoy one of the many other view spots that overlook the beautiful landscape that dot the suburbs, such as Mount Otakamori and Mount Tamonzan. There is also a boat dock from which you can get a closer look at the islands, located only a seven-minute walk away from Matsushima-Kaigan Station.

There are many other attractions around the station as well, including the national treasure Zuiganji Temple and important cultural assets Entsu-in Temple and Godaido Temple. Along the coast lie various eateries that specialize in local seafood such as oysters, and are also popular with tourists.

4. Go See the Okama Crater and Towering Snow Walls

4. Go See the Okama Crater and Towering Snow Walls

The Zao Echo Line is a mountain road that crosses the Zao Mountain Range and is known as a driving route where you can enjoy lush greenery in the summer, autumn leaves in the fall, and a corridor of snow in the spring. The crown jewel of the Zao Echo Line is the Okama Crater in Zao Town, Miyagi Prefecture.

Okama is a crater with a lake inside; it has a circumference of about 1 km and a diameter of about 330 m. The emerald green surface of the lake is surrounded by the walls of the crater and looks like a type of Japanese cooking pot, hence its name. It is on the summit where Mt. Zao-Karita, Mt. Kumano, and Mt. Goshiki overlap. It is about a 1.5-hour drive from Sendai City to Okama Crater by car or bus.

From early November to late April, the Echo Line is closed for the winter, but after the closure, in late April and May, you can see a wall of snow up to 9 meters high that has accumulated during the winter.

  • Okama Crater
    御釜
    • Address Mt. Kuraishi National Forest, Togatta Onsen, Zao-cho, Katta-gun, Miyagi Prefecture
    • Nearest Station Access: By Car or Bus.
      From Sendai Station, take the Miyagi Kotsu Highway Bus to "Active Resorts Miyagi Zao" (about 1 hour), transfer to the Miyagi Kotsu Bus for "Katsuta Summit" and get off the bus at the last stop, "Katsuta Summit" (about 40 minutes). Walk 5 minutes to the Okama Crater.
    • ・Phone: 0224-34-2725(Zao Town Tourist Information Center)
      ・Available Season & Hours: Late April - early November, free to visit

5. Soak in Sendai's famous hot springs at Akiu Onsen

Photo courtesy of Hotel Zuiho
Photo courtesy of Hotel Zuiho

Miyagi boasts one of the largest numbers of hot spring resorts in Japan and a variety that includes examples like Naruko Onsenkyo, with eight types of hot spring, and Tokarida Onsen, with a 400-year history.

Among them, Akiu Onsen in Sendai is easily accessible, about 30 minutes from JR Sendai Station by car. It's an attractive area for tourists since there are other points of interest nearby like Akiu Otaki, ranked as one of the "100 Best Waterfalls in Japan," and Akiu Traditional Craft Village, where guests can try their hand at making traditional crafts, as well as a multitude of hot spring inns perfect for day trips so you can easily enjoy more than one popular bath.

6. Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in Spring: "Hitome Senbon Zakura"

Photo courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division
Photo courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division

If you want to see cherry blossoms in Miyagi Prefecture, you should visit the Shiroishi riverside to view the "Hitome Senbon Zakura" (1,000 Cherry Trees at a glance), which has been selected as one of the 100 best places to view cherry blossoms in Japan.

1,200 Somei Yoshino cherry trees bloom along the 8 km Shiroishi River, and after the sun goes down, the sakura trees are lit up, making it a popular option for a nighttime stroll. The cherry blossoms in Miyagi Prefecture bloom in mid-April, a little later than in Tokyo, so you can enjoy them after the cherry blossoms in Tokyo have finished.

During the Ogawara Cherry Blossom Festival, which is held in Ogawara Town at this time of year, it is possible to take a yakatabune, or traditional Japanese "home-style boat." The interior is decorated with tatami mats and low tables, just like a classic Japanese home. The boat will take you from the festival site to Niragami-zeki, a 2.3-kilometer round trip that takes about 30 minutes, making it a very luxurious experience.

  • Shiroishigawa Tsutsumi Hitome Senbonzakura
    白石川堤一目千本桜
    • Address Ogawara-cho and Shibata-cho, Miyagi Prefecture
    • Nearest Station Access: From JR Sendai Station, take the Tohoku Line bound for Shiroishi (34 minutes), get off at JR Okawara Station, and walk for 3 minutes.
    • ・TEL: 0224-53-2659 (Ogawara-cho Commerce, Industry and Tourism Division)
      ・Hours: Early to late April, Free to visit

7. Step into the Sendai Tanabata Festival in Summer

Photo courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division
Photo courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division

The Sendai Tanabata Festival is a major summer event held for three days from August 6 to 8 every year. The festival's highlights are the gorgeous bamboo decorations called Sasa-kazari, which are handmade by shopkeepers in the arcade that stretches from the west exit of JR Sendai Station.

The vivid colors and delicacy of the decorations are astonishing, and a fireworks display is held on August 5, the eve of the festival. Many Japanese people wear colorful Yukata, light summer Kimono, during festivals, why not don one and join in on the fun?

Because Sendai is a famous rice-producing area, people prayed to the god of rice fields for a good harvest. It is said that Date Masamune, the lord of Sendai, looked forward to this festival.

There is a story passed down that the reason why Tanabata became especially popular in Sendai is that Masamune was a loving husband, and his wife Megohime arranged and tailored wonderful kimonos for each seasonal event so that Masamune would not be embarrassed in the social circle of warlords. Thus, Masamune likened his wife to the weaving princess Orihime, the main character of the Tanabata story.

There are a few types of decorations that you will encounter while attending Sendai's Tanabata festival. The streamers (Fukinagashi) that are a major part of Tanabata decorations are 5 to 10 meters long.

Tanzaku are strips of colorful paper on which people write their wishes. There is also origami paper that is folded to pray for good health, longevity, improvement in work, and prosperity.

The Orizuru, or paper crane decorations, which began the year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, are made every year by children in Sendai who work together to pray for recovery.

8. Hike the Impressive Autumn Colors of Naruko Gorge

Photo courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division
Photo courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division

The Naruko Gorge is located in Naruko Onsen, Miyagi Prefecture, and is famous for its red and yellow leaves. If you want to enjoy Naruko Gorge, the Naruko Gorge Rest House is famous for its viewing platform. For hiking, we recommend the Naruko Gorge Trail.

At present, there are two walking routes along the Naruko Gorge Trail. One is the route from the Narukokyo Rest House west entrance to Mikaeribashi Bridge, which is about 350m one way, and an easy walking course to the Mikaeribashi Bridge Observation Deck. The Ofukazawa Walking Trail, newly constructed in 2008, is a 2.2km walking course starting from Naruko Gorge Rest House.

The Naruko side entrance (Otani Bridge) near Naruko Onsen Station is about 230m one way, and the course is a bit hilly, so it is recommended for those who are confident in their physical strength. You can enjoy a great view of Naruko Hot Spring Resort from Naruko Park, where you can also visit the Kokeshi Dolls Museum.

As the name implies, Naruko Onsen is a hot spring village, so feel free to soak away your muscle aches after your adventurous hike.

9. Be Enchanted by Illumination at the Sendai Pageant of Starlight in Winter

Photo courtesy of: Sendai Pageant of Starlight Executive Committee
Photo courtesy of: Sendai Pageant of Starlight Executive Committee

If you're planning a winter trip to Sendai, don't miss the Sendai Pageant of Light, held from mid-December to the end of the year in Sendai City. 420,000 LED bulbs light up the zelkova trees along Jozenji-dori, one of Sendai's main streets, creating a beautiful tunnel of light, and the central promenade makes you feel as if you're surrounded by light.

Check the official website before you visit, as the content of the festival changes from year to year, with concerts, live music on the street, and even a skating rink.

This event has been held since 1986 and is one of the first illumination events in Japan to be organized by citizen volunteers. Additionally, all the electricity for the illumination is provided by green power generated by biomass.

  • Sendai Pageant of Starlight
    SENDAI光のページェント
    • Address Jozenji-dori, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture (Umehara Kagami - Jozenji Garden Hills Wedding House)
    • Phone: 022-261-6515 (Sendai Pageant of Starlight Executive Committee)

10. Sample the local delicacy: Sendai Gyutan (Beef Tongue)

10. Sample the local delicacy: Sendai Gyutan (Beef Tongue)

Beef tongue is the main specialty of Sendai. Each shop offers thickly cut beef tongue seasoned with their own original flavors. Gyutan-yaki is a grilled beef tongue dish, soaked with flavoring before being fully cooked over a charcoal fire. Gyutan-yaki is well-known for its soft, tender texture and delicious flavor in each bite.

Sendai beef tongue is generally served as a set meal that includes pickled vegetables, oxtail soup, and rice. Two of the most famous spots are Umami Tasuke, the shop established by the “father of gyutan-yaki,” Keishiro Sano, as well the popular, nation-wide shop Gyutan Sumiyaki Rikyu.

11. Savor the finest Sendai beef

11. Savor the finest Sendai beef

Beef tongue branded as "Sendai Beef" is a point of pride in Miyagi. Only beef produced in Miyagi with a quality rating of A5 or B5 may be called Sendai Beef. Having passed such a strict assessment, it's an exquisite balance of rich marbling and delicious lean meat.

Around JR Sendai Station, there are plenty of steak and yakiniku shops where you can dine on Sendai Beef. Steak House Iseya in the basement of the S-PAL Sendai complex connected to the station and nearby Yakiniku Gyujin Ichibancho are recommended.

12. Enjoy Zunda-mochi Sweets

12. Enjoy Zunda-mochi Sweets

Zunda is a local dish of Miyagi, made from boiled and crushed soybeans formed into a paste. You can try it at Murakamiya Mochiten, a long-standing shop in Sendai, or at specialty sweets shop, Hikoichi. Zunda Shake EXPRESS is a specialty zunda shop located in Sendai Station, well known for generating long lines.

They have a menu of popular arrangement dishes that combine zunda and Western sweets, and even Zunda Shakes! Zunda is also a popular souvenir, and can be purchased at Sendai Station, as well as at the S-PAL Sendai Shopping Center connected to the station.

13. Eat flavorful grilled Miyagi oysters in fall and winter

13. Eat flavorful grilled Miyagi oysters in fall and winter

Part of the Sanriku region, Miyagi is also a great place for fresh seafood. You can enjoy a variety of sushi and seafood bowls, but the oysters in Matsushima, one of the three most scenic spots in Japan, are particularly exciting for foodies.

Harvesting begins in October, and the colder it gets, the more delicious they become. Along the main street in front of JR Matsushimakaigan Station, there are numerous restaurants offering oyster dishes ranging from raw or fried oysters to oyster bowls.

Matsushima's specialty, however, is grilled oysters. It's interesting to see restaurant staff carry oysters in a shovel and grill a huge pile of them all at once. At Matsushima Fish Market Yakigaki House, about a 10-minute walk from JR Matsushimakaigan Station, you can enjoy grilled oysters year-round, so be sure to visit.

14. Order Shiogama tuna from markets and shops

14. Order Shiogama tuna from markets and shops

If you like fish, you have to try Miyagi tuna at least once. The tuna from Shiogama City, which boasts one of the largest catches in Japan, is some of the best in the country and is treasured by connoisseurs for its rich, melt-in-your-mouth flavor.

Shiogama City, about 30 minutes by train from Sendai and known as a sushi town, is highly recommended for anyone who wants to revel in high-quality tuna sushi. There are many shops in Sendai that purchase Shiogama tuna, and Tuna Yamamoto near Jozenji-dori is a good place to enjoy a bowl of Shiogama tuna.

15. Take out fried snacks

15. Take out fried snacks

"Hyotanage" is perfect if you get hungry while sightseeing. This take-out snack is made of steamed kamaboko (pureed fish) wrapped in sweet, crispy fried batter. Long-loved as one of Sendai's signature foods, some shops will sell more than 4,000 in a single day.

At the long-established Abe Kamaboko Main Store, the crispy texture and full flavor are a product of years of practice and perfection. The shop is easily accessible, about a 10-minute walk from JR Sendai Station.

16. Taste High-Quality Whitefish Kamaboko

Photo courtesy of Shiraken Kamaboko
Photo courtesy of Shiraken Kamaboko

This kamaboko has a chewy texture and is lightly sweet, with the delicate taste of the sea. They are individually wrapped and easy to eat. This item must be refrigerated.

17. Snack on Kasho Sanzen “Hagi no Tsuki”

Photo courtesy of Shiraken Kamaboko
Photo courtesy of Shiraken Kamaboko

Hagi no Tsuki is a signature souvenir of Sendai, a fluffy sponge cake dough filled with mellow custard cream. Its round shape is made to resemble the full moon in the sky. It can be stored at room temperature.

18. Savor Zunda Mochi from Zunda Saryo at home

Photo courtesy of Shiraken Kamaboko
Photo courtesy of Shiraken Kamaboko

You can not only taste the local Zunda Mochi sweets at the store but also take them home with you! Zunda Mochi from Zunda Saryo is freshly made and then flash-frozen, so it remains delicious even after thawing at home. The fragrant and crushed texture of edamame bean paste and the chewy mochi will make a delicious memory for you.

19. Get seasonal kikufuku from Igeta Seicha Kikusuian

Photo courtesy of Igeta Seicha Kikusuian
Photo courtesy of Igeta Seicha Kikusuian

Fresh cream kikufuku is made by wrapping fresh cream in a layer of sweet red bean paste and then an outer layer of soft mochi (soft rice cake). In addition to standard bean paste flavors like matcha, zunda, and hojicha, seasonal varieties are also available. Fans of all ages enjoy its elegant taste, soft texture, and ample size that fits in the palm of your hand.

20. Find your favorite Sendai sake

20. Find your favorite Sendai sake

Miyagi is also known for its sake breweries, so a bottle makes an excellent souvenir. Produced by Sendai's Izawa Family Katsuyama Sake Brewery, Katsuyama Junmai Ginjo Sake was the 2019 top prize winner in the International Wine Challenge's (IWC) sake category.

21. Pick up a souvenir "Hagoromo" from Sakurai Kokeshi

Photo courtesy of Sakurai Kokeshi
Photo courtesy of Sakurai Kokeshi

These kokeshi dolls were created by a kokeshi craftsman of Naruko Onsen and said to be kokeshi to “suit the modern lifestyle.”

These are more slender than traditional kokeshi, with the torso painted in pastel color gradations and border prints. You can purchase them in the workshop at the hot springs area, as well as at the Sendai Parco 2 Shopping Center in front of Sendai Station.

22. Enjoy colorful Matsukawa Daruma

22. Enjoy colorful Matsukawa Daruma

The Matsukawa Daruma is a traditional Sendai Hariko (papier-mâché) craft. A treasure ship and the god of good fortune are painted on the body, while bright ultramarine blue represents the sky and sea. Despite being handcrafted, these souvenirs can be purchased for the reasonable price of 1,000 yen each.

23. Shop for Sendai Souvenirs and Eat Sushi at S-PAL Sendai

S-PAL Sendai is a shopping facility directly connected to JR Sendai Station, offering a wide variety of souvenirs such as Sendai beef tongue, Sasa-kamaboko (fish cake shaped like bamboo leaves), Japanese confectionery, clothing, and sundries. The name "S-PAL" comes from the first letter of "Station" and "Pal" which you might recognize as another word for "friend" in English.

You can find local specialties at Ekichika Omiyage Dori on the first basement floor of the main building, such as sushi and beef tongue at Ekichika Kitchen, which is easily accessible from the station platform.

Many shops here accept electronic payments, such as transportation IC, Alipay, and WeChat Pay, which are also a big attraction for travelers.

  • S-PAL Sendai
    S-PAL仙台
    • Address 1-1-1, Chuo, Aoba Ku, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-0021 Japan
    • Phone Number 022-267-2111
    • ・Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (the restaurant area is open until 11:00 p.m.)
      ・Closed: Not fixed

24. Shop for gadgets and more around the Sendai Station Area

Near the Sendai Station East Exit are Yodobashi Camera Multimedia Sendai and Yamada Denki LAVI Sendai, which offer various goods. Additionally, the Sofmap Sendai Ekimae Branch near the West Exit has many used video games for sale and is a great spot to find some rare items. Some shopping centers around the station also offer duty-free shopping, another great deal.

25. Get Fresh Seafood at the Sendai Morning Market

DISCOVER SENDAI
DISCOVER SENDAI

Sendai Morning Market is a five-minute walk from Sendai Station, where you can find about 60 shops selling local vegetables and seafood, as well as restaurants offering reasonably priced seafood bowls and take-out salads.
Although it is called a morning market, it is a permanent market open from morning to evening on weekdays.

DISCOVER SENDAI
DISCOVER SENDAI

Sendai Morning Market was founded after the end of the war in 1945. The market has been loved as the "kitchen" of Sendai and has continued to convey the food culture of the Tohoku region ever since. Even after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the market reopened within a few days, showing the strength of the Tohoku people.

  • Sendai Morning Market
    仙台朝市
    • Address 3-8-5 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken
    • Phone Number 022-262-7173

26. Osaki Hachimangu Shrine

DISCOVER SENDAI
DISCOVER SENDAI

This shrine was constructed in 1607 by order of Date Masamune, the founder of Sendai, and conveys the prestige of the powerful Date clan.

DISCOVER SENDAI
DISCOVER SENDAI

It has been designated a National Treasure for its gorgeous construction style, a style rooted in the Azuchi-Momoyama period of the 16th century. Every year on January 14, Osaki Hachimangu is the site of the biggest Donto Festival in the region, when worshippers bring their New Year's decorations to throw into a huge bonfire and pray for health and good fortune in the coming year.

27. Jozenji-dori Street

DISCOVER SENDAI
DISCOVER SENDAI

This wide avenue in downtown Sendai is lined with Japanese zelkova trees, adding beautiful greenery to the capital of Miyagi prefecture and giving Sendai its nickname of "City of Trees."

DISCOVER SENDAI
DISCOVER SENDAI

Jozenji Street is the location for many annual festivals and other events, and here you will also find the bronze statues Memories of Summer by Emilio Greco and A Bathing Woman by Venanzo Crocetti.

(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)
(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)

28. Hirose River

(Courtesy of Sendai City Tourism Division)
(Courtesy of Sendai City Tourism Division)

The Hirose River flows through the center of Sendai, providing some natural scenery and habitat in this modern midsize city.

(Courtesy of Sendai City Tourism Division)
(Courtesy of Sendai City Tourism Division)

Local environmental protection and restoration efforts have paid off in recent years, and as many as 5000 salmon have been seen returning upstream, more than in any other rivers in major metropolitan areas of Japan.

(Courtesy of Sendai City Tourism Division)
(Courtesy of Sendai City Tourism Division)

In the annual "Tōrō Nagashi" event, close to 3000 lanterns are floated down the river, a tradition that dates back to the feudal era, and fireworks light up the sky to the delight of viewers.

29. Mediatheque

29. Mediatheque

Designed by Toyo Ito, Sendai Mediatheque is a stylish and modern building built for learning and devotion to the arts.

It has multiple uses, mainly for showcasing art, presentations, or lectures.

Inside there are several organized facilities, including workshops, exhibition halls, libraries, a cinema, and even a cafe. It has gained world recognition for its architecture as well, winning the "World Architecture Awards 2002 Best Building in East Asia."

30. Akiu Otaki Falls

(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)
(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)

Selected as one of Japan's best 100 waterfalls, 55m high Akiu Ōtaki Falls is beautiful in all seasons, but is especially scenic in the fall, when brilliant foliage frames the roaring white water.

(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)
(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)

Walk down to the bottom of the falls along the river, bathe in the negative ion energy, and take a moment to appreciate this gem of a waterfall.

(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)
(Courtesy of Sendai Tourism International Association)

31. Ski and Snowboard at Spring Valley Sendai Izumi Ski Resort

31. Ski and Snowboard at Spring Valley Sendai Izumi Ski Resort

Spring Valley Sendai Izumi Ski Resort is a ski resort that can be enjoyed by beginners to advanced skiers. It is 40 minutes by bus from Sendai City and on a clear day you can see the Sendai Plain and the Pacific Ocean.

From January to early March, night skiing is available every night until 10:30 p.m. (until 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) with a view of Sendai at night.

The snow in this ski resort is usually crusty on top and in good condition. The maximum run length is 1400m and the maximum slope angle is 36 degrees. There are 4 lifts and 12 courses, and the ski area is relatively popular with intermediate and advanced skiers, but there is also a children's area, "Snow Adventure Kingdom," where you can enjoy sledding and snow tubing. Lessons for beginners are also available. The snowboard park, "Rhythm Fun Park," is one of the largest in Miyagi Prefecture and has kickers and jib items.

32. Akiu Traditional Crafts Village

(Courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division)
(Courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division)

The Sendai area is rich in traditional crafts, and nine skilled artisans have their workshops right here in the Akiu Traditional Crafts Village, making this a highly recommended destination for visitors interested in Japanese indigo dyeing, lacquerware, kokeshi dolls, traditional spinning tops (koma), bog-wood art, and other Japanese crafts.

(Courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division)
(Courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division)

Many of the artisans offer hands-on workshops, so you can learn directly from a master and also have a unique souvenir to bring home.

(Courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division)
(Courtesy of Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division)

Kokeshi doll painting and other hands-on workshops require reservations.

33. Sendai Aoba Festival

(Courtesy of Sendai Aoba Festival Sponsorship Association)
(Courtesy of Sendai Aoba Festival Sponsorship Association)

A tradition going back 350 years, this spectacular event celebrates the history of the Sendai domain and also signifies the coming of spring.

(Courtesy of Sendai Aoba Festival Sponsorship Association)
(Courtesy of Sendai Aoba Festival Sponsorship Association)

The eve of the festival is called "Yoi Matsuri," and citizen groups all over the city dance the "Sendai Suzume Odori" (sparrow dance).

(Courtesy of Sendai Aoba Festival Sponsorship Association)
(Courtesy of Sendai Aoba Festival Sponsorship Association)

On the main day of the festival, huge, lavishly decorated festival floats called "Yamaboko" parade the streets, together with a procession of actors dressed in authentic samurai costumes.

34. Check out the Sendai Daikannon - One of the world's tallest statues!

34. Check out the Sendai Daikannon - One of the world's tallest statues!

On the outskirts of Miyagi Prefecture's Sendai City looms the massive Sendai Daikannon (Huge Statue of the Goddess of Kannon), the main building of Daikanmitsuji Temple.

Standing at an impressive height of 100 meters (328 feet) and situated on top of a small hill, the statue can be easily seen from many places within Sendai City itself, including some residential estates!

While the giant statue is the most prominent landmark on temple grounds, there are other curious spots visitors may be interested in as well, such as areas that promote fulfillment in romantic relationships and more.

35. Shopping at AEON MALL Natori Before You Return Home

35. Shopping at AEON MALL Natori Before You Return Home

Aeon Mall Natori is one of the largest shopping malls in the Tohoku area. With a wide variety of stores and restaurants, it is a great place to spend a day, even a rainy one.

If you take the Sendai Airport Access Line, you can get to the nearest station, Morisekinoshita Station, in just 18 minutes from Sendai Station and only 7 minutes from Sendai Airport Station! The station is directly connected to the mall, so it is easy to get around.

Large coin lockers (cart lockers) for suitcases are available on every floor, making it a convenient place to spend some time before your flight. The information center provides multilingual support using a translator machine, so anyone can shop with ease.

The "Gourmet Garden" restaurant area on the first floor offers local delicacies such as Sendai's famous Gyutan (grilled beef tongue) and ramen noodles. On the other hand, the "Food Forest" food court on the second floor offers mainly fast food such as Udon noodles and fried chicken. All the restaurants have pictures on their menus so that you can order by simply pointing.

AEON MALL Natori offers free playgrounds for families (Mokumoku Hiroba, Aozora Hiroba, etc.) and shopping carts decorated with characters that children can ride while their parents shop. Finally, trying some popular crane games at Namco, a game center (arcade) where the whole family can play together, is also a great way to remember your trip.

  • AEON MALL Natori
    AEON MALL Natori
    イオンモール名取
    • Address 5-3-1 Morisekinoshita, Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture
    • Nearest Station Access by train: From Sendai Station 18 minutes, from Sendai Airport Station 7 minutes on the Sendai Airport Access Line. Get off at Morisekinoshita Station and walk 2 minutes.
    • Phone Number 022-381-1515
    • ・Hours:
      -10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Specialty stores)
      -10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (Restaurants)
      -8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (AEON grocery store on 1F)
      -9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (AEON retail stores on 1F/2F/3F)
      -9:00 a.m. - midnight (Movie theaters *Ticket sales until 10:00 p.m.)
      ・Closed: Open daily

With So Many Things to Do in Sendai, Check Out Seasonal Events and Excursion Options!

Sendai is a great place to visit all year round with so many things to do, but you can enjoy it even more if you schedule your trip to coincide with one of the city's many seasonal events. In the suburbs, you can enjoy the magnificent nature of the Okama Crater and Naruko Gorge, and the thrill of night skiing. If you are going to Sendai, why don't you plan to visit the surrounding area and take in the abundant natural beauty of Miyagi Prefecture?

If you are a repeat visitor to Sendai, you can enjoy walking around the city and feeling the memory of Date Masamune in the cultural assets and the city itself. It is said that the people of Sendai still love Date Masamune and call him "Lord Masamune" with respect. It may be fun to walk with the legend of Masamune, who is said to have been a loving husband and caring father.

*Due to the spread of Covid-19, shops may make changes to the hours and services available as well as close temporarily. For details, please refer to each official website or social media account.

Text by: Shoepress

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Recommended places for you

Recommended articles for first-time visitors to Tohoku
Search