Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in sendai
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in sendai, Bed and Breakfast!
Sendai (??) is the largest city (about 1,000,000 people) in the Tohoku region of Japan's Honshu island.
As everyone here will tell you, "it's not too big and not too small, it's very convenient and it's close to both the sea and the mountains."
Sendai is a comfortable and pleasant city — it's a nice place to live. It's very green — in fact they call it ??? (Mori no Miyako, "Forest City"). The main avenues around the city are wide and tree-lined. This gives the city an almost European feel. The main shopping street — confusingly known by two different names, Ch??-d?ri (????) and Clis Road — is pedestrianised and covered, so it feels like a mall.
There are two ways of looking at the weather here. One is the way most Japanese people seem to look at it: it's not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer. Others find it chilly year round. There is a long rainy season which starts just after the cherry-blossom blooms in April and sometimes continues right into Autumn.
Sendai Airport (SDJ, 1 (http://www.sendaicci.or.jp/airport/english/index-e.html)) mainly functions as a domestic airport with regular flights to Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka and Kanazawa. However, there are also a few international flights to nearboring countries, such as South Korea, Taiwan and China. Connect to the city with the Airport Limousine bus (40 min, ¥910). A train station opposite the airport is under construction and should open in 2006.
Sendai is a major station on the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) line, some two hours from Tokyo. The line continues north to Morioka and Hachinohe.
The fastest ride from Tokyo is on the all-reserved Hayate service, which makes just two stops (at Ueno and ?miya) and runs to Sendai in 1 hour, 40 minutes (¥10590). The Komachi service bound for Akita is coupled to the Hayate train, but bear in mind that Komachi cars are slightly narrower, and therefore, so is seating.
Sendai has one subway line traveling on a north-south axis, connecting major shopping districts with the train station.
Key stations include Sendai for the train station and the AER building, Nagamachi-minami for the Mall (large American-style shopping mall including multi-screen cinema), Hirose-dori and Kotodai-koen for access to Ichibancho (covered shopping arcade), and Izumi-chuo for the soccer stadium.
The city center is compact and can easily be traversed on foot, especially by using the covered shopping arcades.
Sendai is not what you'd call a tourist city - it was flattened in the war and rebuilt after that so there really isn't much to see in terms of historical sights - in fact sights of any kind. The most famous sight in Sendai is the train station!
- Miyagi Museum of Art (??????), 34-1 Kawauchi-Motohasekura, Aoba-ku, 2 (http://www.pref.miyagi.jp/bijyutu/museum/indexe.html). A reasonable collection of modern art. Special room for Juryo Sato a local (but nationally famous) sculptor. Beautiful garden and a nice view of the river.
- Aoba Castle (??? Aoba-j?). Often recommended by locals, but what they mean is the site of the old castle - there's actually only a replica of a gate and a statue of the founder of the city, Date Masumune. However, the ruins of Aoba Castle is the theme of a famous poem written by Doi Bansui called 'Kojo no Tsuki' - 'The Moon over the desolate castle'. In the poem, the author touchingly invites us to reflect on the impermanence of all life, which is represented by the ruins of the once great castle caught in the light of the full moon. The poem has been put to music and is famous throughout Japan.
- ?saki Hachiman Shrine (?????). Completed in 1607, and is designated a national treasure. The metal ornaments and colorful designs displayed against the black lacquer woodwork is an especially attractive feature.
- There is a huge statue of Kannon (the Buddhist deity of compassion) outside the city that is worth seeing. However, don't expect to find it mentioned in any guides. Ask locals for directions.
- Sendai Mediatheque 3 (http://www.smt.city.sendai.jp/en/) designed by Toyo Ito is an important piece of contemporary architecture. Take a look at the outstanding structure while enjoying the cafeteria and design shop on ground level.
- The biggest festival in Sendai is Tanabata (??). The festival starts with fireworks on Aug 5th and then the festival proper is from Aug 6th to Aug 8th. The streets are decorated with big paper decorations, there's a parade and... well, that's about it.
- In December, there's the Pageant of Starlight which isn't really a festival as such. The trees in two of the city's main avenues - Aoba-d?ri and J?zenji-d?ri - are festooned in thousands of orange lights. The effect is is very pleasant, with the orange glow casting a warmth over the otherwise cold and frosty streets.
- The Donto-sai Festival is held at the Osaki Hachiman Shrine on January 14 every year.
Sendai's specialties include gy?tan (???), grilled beef tongue; sasakamaboko (?????), a type of fish sausage; and zundamochi (????), sweet green soybean paste eaten with soft glutinous rice balls.
- Rikyu (??). A famous chain of gy?tan restaurants. Order the teishoku (set meal) - this includes meat, pickles, barley rice, leek, and a clear oxtail soup with real tail. There's one on the corner of Ekimae-dori and Hirose-dori (across from the AER building).
- Oden Sankichi (?????). 4-10-8 Ichiban-cho, Aoba-ku. THis restaurant specializes in oden, a Japanese fish stew of sorts with ingredients slowly simmered for hours if not days in a soy broth. Goes well with beer or sake, and especially popular in winter. A basic (if somewhat small) bowl of oden is just ¥500. Open for lunch and dinner, closed Sundays.
- The basement food hall in the Mitsukoshi department store is an excellent place to sample Sendai's specialities.
- Namaskar, Indian restaurant on Minamimachi-dori. Located in basement so look for the sign on the sidewalk outside. Shows Indian films on a big screen. Very reasonable buffet lunch on Saturdays.
- Tirol, Great Italian on Clis Road.
- Hummingbird, Italian in Hotel Universe on Ichibancho-dori. Known for its fresh pasta.
- Osamu's Kitchen, fusion of international and Japanese dishes. Located on the third floor on the left of the street leading from Ichibancho into Kokubuncho. Signature dish is cheese fondue served in a crusty round loaf. Also reasonable 'nomihodai'.
- Benitora, Chinese dishes (spicy). Located to the north of the AER building by Sendai station. Cross the pedestrian bridge and look for the big red kanji (means 'red tiger').
Kokubunch? (???) is the main entertainment district. Full of restaurants, izakaya, bars, hostess bars and strip clubs.
- Ha'penny Bridge, (near the east exit of Sendai station). A Guinness pub. Open 17?00?23?00. Closed Sundays.
- Green Shamrock, (on Bansui-dori near Jouzenji-dori). Another Guinness pub. Open 17?00?23?00. Closed Sundays.
- Shaft, (in Kokubuncho). A sports bar owned by an English guy. Good atmosphere. Dart board. Dance floor. Sometimes there's a charge to enter.
- Vilevan, (on Clis Road near Sendai Station). A jazz bar. Free live jazz on Saturday nights. Last orders is 1am.
- Holiday Inn Sendai, 1-4-1 Shintera, Wakabayashi-ku (6 min from Sendai Station), tel. +81-22-2565111, 4 (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/hi/hd/SDJJA). Opened in 2001, this modern, fairly pleasant business hotel is within walking distance of Sendai station (at least if you don't have much luggage). Rooms are small but comfortable, and the breakfast buffet is a notch above the usual. Rates from ¥6,500 for a single.
- Hot springs. Akiu is about 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station (West Exit Bus Pool). Sakkan (a hotel) is right next to the bus stop. Sakunami is about 20 minutes by train on the Senzan Line from Sendai Station. From Sakunami Station there are hotel shuttle buses to two hotels - the better of the two being Iwamatsu which has a big outdoor area with a few baths next to a river. Great just after winter when the snow from the mountains is melting and the river is rushing by.
- If you want to go sightseeing the best place is Matsushima, which is about 40 minutes away on the local train (Senseki Line). It's said to be one of the three most beautiful views in Japan. The great thing about Matsushima is the hundreds of tiny islands. You can take a boat trip around the islands and feed the seagulls as they follow the boat. It's fun and you can get some great pictures.
- Kinkasan, 60 km away at the tip of the Oshika Peninsula, offers light hiking and lots of deer. Walk up the mountain to see monkeys. Stay at the shrine on the island and participate in the morning service (6am).