• TOKYO
  • SENDAI

HISTORY IN CITY

After exploring Nihombashi, an area that prospered as the center of Edo, visit the gateway to Tohoku, Sendai. Here, you will visit the vibrantly-colored Zuihoden, which is dedicated to the legendary feudal lord Date Masamune, once the ruler of this land. Follow the footsteps of history still left in the city.

Official Tokyo Travel Guide
http://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html

Local government official website
http://sendai-travel.jp/

TRAVELER

  • Annette White
    Travel Blogger, Author
    Reside in USA
  • Wendell T. Harrison
    Editor of All About Japan
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: USA

Los Angeles International Airport

  • Annette White

    This was the first time I have flown ANA and I hope not my last! The plane boarded right on time and the staff was very friendly. I especially liked having the movable foot rest and my own personal video screen with quite a few movie to choose from. Plus my dinner meal had a lot of options to choose from: lasagna, Asian noodles, cup of fruit and yogurt — there was a little something for everyone!

ANA105 Examine the directions from your country

Haneda Airportmore

The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day1

TOKYO

Nihombashimore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

The Nihombashi area, known as a "town for merchants," flourished in the Edo period centered on the Five Routes, which converged there. It continues to be the center of commerce and finance even today, with streets lined with offices, department stores, long-standing shops, etc.
On Chuo-dori Street, visitors may enjoy seeing Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store, known as Japan's first department store, and other famous buildings of Tokyo, including the nationally designated important cultural properties of Takashimaya Nihombashi Store and the Bank of Japan Headquarters.
There are also numerous long-standing and famous specialty stores and traditional restaurants founded in the Edo period.
Ningyocho, retaining the atmosphere of Shitamachi, has many long-standing businesses from the Edo period, and it is also renowned for Suitengu Shrine dedicated to prayers of conception and easy childbirth, and the ceramics, doll and pickled vegetable fairs synonymous with their respective seasons.

  • Annette White

    <Stroll around Ginza>
    The Ginza district of Tokyo is the center of luxury, where you can find the best of everything — fashion, restaurants and jewelry.Each shop had window displays that were like pieces of art!

    <Stroll around Nihonbashi, COREDO Muromachi (Dashi [Japanese soup stock] sampling, etc. at Nihonbashi Dashi Bar)>
    One of my favorite parts of my stroll through Nihonbashi was walking across the old historic bridge that crosses over the river. The lion-like statues that adorn the bridge were impressive!

    <Origami>
    I have always been fascinated by how little tiny pieces of paper can be crafted into beautiful pieces of artwork. This is why I was very excited to go to an origami workshop at COREDO to learn how to make a crane. I had attempted this one time before, but wasn't too successful!! This time with the guidance of the instructor and written directions it was a success.

    <Lunch:Hounenmanpuku>
    When we arrived to lunch a cute bonsai plant and sake kegs greeted us at the front door. The Bento box was filled with an assortment of Japanese delicacies that were so colorful and pretty that I almost didn't want to eat what was inside. But, that thought didn't last long because everything smelled so delicious.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Stroll around Ginza>
    For travelers, Ginza is an exciting place to begin a journey to Tokyo. The historical shops are standing next to stylish modern buildings and fashion-conscious consumers give the area a great buzz. It would have been nice to have seen the weekend setup.

    <Stroll around Nihonbashi, COREDO Muromachi (Dashi [Japanese soup stock] sampling, etc. at Nihonbashi Dashi Bar)>
    Even though I live in Tokyo, I was surprised to learn about how important the area was during the Edo Period. I almost can't believe that I have walked past the central statue of the bridge maybe 3-4 times and never really took notice of it.

    <Origami>
    Origami is something I am very familiar with. It was fun to watch the others learn how to make one on their own, some of them for the first time ever. The teacher was extremely patient and spoke very carefully, so none of the participants had any real trouble at all. It is a good service for visitors and I am glad it is offered at such a low price.

    <Lunch:Hounenmanpuku>
    After our origami lesson, we were able to have a very tasty lunch

JR Chuo Line (JR EAST PASS)
Tokyo Station → Yotsuya Station
JR Chuo Line (Local train)
Youtsuya Station → Yoyogi Station
40 minutes / 170 yen

Meiji Jingu Shrinemore

The shrine was established in 1920 as a dedication to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and the Empress Dowager Shōken. The extensive forest around the shrine in the center of the city was created artificially by planting a hundred thousand trees donated from people all over the country.
The shrine attracts the greatest number of worshippers every year during "hatsumode" over the New Year period.

  • Annette White

    <Meiji Jingu (Kiyomasa's Well)>
    You can't help but feel something peaceful and spiritual while walking through the grounds of Meiji Jingu.We first walked through the green forest, passing over wooden bridges and a quaint tea house.We were also lucky to see a wedding taking place while we were there!

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Meiji Jingu (Kiyomasa's Well)>
    Meiji Jingu is definitely one of the must-see places in Tokyo to visit during your travels. The large, looming wooden torii gate welcomes all visitors and it itself is a sight to behold.After offering our grateful bows, we entered the grounds and saw the lush trees that lined the path to the shrine itself. Finally, we made our way to the shrine and, magically, we ran into a wedding party.

Walk
30 minutes

Nezu Museummore

The museum was founded in 1941 to preserve and display Japanese and East Asian antique art from the collection of its founder, Nezu Kaichiro, a businessman whose career included being President of the Tobu Railway Co., Ltd. It reopened in October 2009, newly designed by Kengo Kuma. The expanse of this open, relaxing space is an enjoyable place to appreciate art.
The lush 17,000 square meters of Japanese garden creates an oasis in the city, where visitors can take pleasure in the passage of the seasons.

  • Annette White

    <Nezu Museum>
    The Nezu Museum had an incredible collection of pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art.But, what made this museum even more special was the beautiful garden that was attached. I spent most of my time strolling through this garden, stopping at every moss covered stone statue, crossing over every bridge and gazing at the peaceful ponds. It was hard to believe that in the middle of a bustling city there was a tranquil place like this!

    <Dinner:Teyan-tei>
    Hidden in a residential neighborhood you would never even know that Teyan-tel was a restaurant from the outside. We actually passed by it once!! This only added to the experience.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Nezu Museum>
    The Nezu Museum, in the fashionable area of Omotesando, is not necessarily out of place among other really chic and modern buildings. We were able to visit the museum during an exhibition of Maruyama Okyo works. I was not familiar with this painter, however, I fell in love with the blend of watercolor-like lightness contrasted with deep, rich colors that gave the paintings texture, almost a 3-D quality.

    <Dinner:Teyan-tei>
    After a long day of walking (and riding) around Tokyo, it was nice to sit with the group and have a dinner together. And there's no place better in Japan that an izakaya! We went to a very traditional-looking place around the Azabu area and had a cool private room with counter entrance directly from the kitchen, something I'd never seen before!

Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Omotesando Station → Akasakamitsuke Station
Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line
Akasakamitsuke Station → Tokyo Station
30 minutes / 200 yen

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi

  • Annette White

    <Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi>
    The Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi couldn't have more conveniently located! It was just outside the doors of the well-connected Tokyo Station. From this station you can catch the Metro, JR or train to get just about anywhere in Japan.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi>
    The hotel was extremely convenient as it was directly connected to Tokyo Station. If you have an early morning train, you can't beat the location of the hotel. The room had nice amenities and a modern look inside.

Day2

TOHOKU(SENDAI)

9:08 Tokyo Stationmore

October 2012 saw completion of the preservation and renovation work on the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. The red brick facade long loved as the symbol of Tokyo Station has made a comeback, along with the history and grandeur of the original building dating nearly a hundred years back. The occasion also saw the reopening of Tokyo Station Hotel and Tokyo Station Gallery. The former is the only hotel situated within an important cultural property of Japan. The interior is designed in a sophisticated, classical European style to blend with the splendor of the Marunouchi Building exterior.

JR Shinkansen Hayabusa 9(JR EAST PASS)
Tokyo→Sendai
11,200 yen
*1 adult / normal period – charge for seat reservation on an ordinary car - fee Show details

  • Annette White

    <Shinkansen>
    The train was punctual, to the very minute, which I really like! We had assigned seating and as soon as we found them I was suprised by the amount of leg room.Even though the train was full, it was really quiet, which gave me the opportunity to put down my seat tray and get a little bit of writing in! A quick hour and a half later and we were there.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Shinkansen>
    What can I say, the shinkansen is always reliable, comfortable, and convenient. I was excited to ride the Hayabusa for my first time, as it uses my favorite color- turquoise. That was the best part for me.

10:40 Sendai Stationmore

Sendai Station is a central sightseeing location in Tohoku, and allows visitors to gain access to tourist attractions all throughout Tohoku. Yamadera, Matsushima, and Hiraizumi can all be reached within 1 hour by using JR train lines. Sendai Station has many souvenir shops selling Sendai specialties. The Gyutan-dori and Sushi-dori streets have a lineup of stores where you can eat beef tongue, a local specialty, and sushi. These shops have multilingual menus, making this a friendly spot for visitors from overseas. The zunda shakes served at the Zunda Saryo restaurant are a blend of special zunda green soy beans. It's an original shake with a fun bumpy texture that can't be found elsewhere. Be sure to give their delicious taste a try as they are freshly made at the shop.

Walk
25 minutes

Sendai Mediathequemore

This building with glass facades on all sides stands out prominently on Jozenji-dori Avenue. It is a public institution that provides a base for a variety of cultural activities, mainly related to art and moving images. At the same time, it supports activities that are related to various media.
It was designed by Toyo Ito, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and the building itself is celebrated in its own right.

  • Annette White

    <Sendai mediatheque>
    The first stop in Sendai was the mediatheque, a place that is the homebase for a variety of cultural activities in the city. The visit started with admiring the impressive exterior architecture — seven floors of clear glass windows! The interior was just as architecturally beautiful.

    <Sendai Castle>
    Seeing the remains of the Sendai Castle speaks volumes of its history. It was the victim of a fire in 1882 and a bombing in 1945, but the remnants of the old stone walls made me think about what it used to be. Walking through the grounds made me imagine the past of the fortress that was built high on Mount Aoba, over 300 feet above the town with panoramic views of the city below. Today there is still the breathtaking view, but a shrine replaces a portion of the former foundation.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Sendai mediatheque>
    Sendai Mediatheque was architecturally amazing. I truly wanted to go there and it was great to see the structure of the building and the inner tubes holding the whole thing up. It might be exciting for visitors to Sendai, even those like me who love interesting architecture.

    <Sendai Castle>
    Sendai Castle was a nice place to visit to get an idea of the history of the city. It was where we first learned about Date Masamune, the feudal lord of Sendai. It is a shame the castle no longer stands, but luckily we were able to see a model of how it would have looked today as well as really cool projections of its past glory. Learning about the legendary warrior before visiting his burial site was an integral part of being in Sendai.

Loople Sendai bus
Loople Sendai Aoba-dori Ichibancho Subway Station stop → Zuihoden Mausoleum stop
About 10 minutes
* Sendai Marugoto Pass (unlimited rides for two days) = 2,670 yen for adults.

Zuihoden Mausoleummore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Zuihoden is a luxurious and gorgeous mausoleum built in 1637, the year after the passing of Date Masamune, the first feudal lord of Sendai Domain. It was designated as a national treasure in 1931, but was burned down during World War 2. It was reconstructed after the war in its current state. Stairs on a gentle incline near the entrance and a grove of quiet cedar trees make for a perfect setting to take a walk.

  • Annette White

    <Zuihoden>
    Visiting the mausoleum of the feudal lord Date Masamune was quite surreal. Known as Zuihoden, the dreamlike feeling of the visit could have been from the old cedar trees surrounding the walkways or the moss covered stone statues or the ornate building that depicted the Momoyama cultural traditions. My favorite part of the buildings were the intricate woodwork and gold trimming.

    <Dinner:Tsuda-Sengyoten>
    At Tsuda-Sengyoten there was a tabletop BBQ already burning on our table when we sat down and then an array of seafood started to be delivered. We were in charge of cooking them on our own.The best part was that at 7:30 a lively fish auction began. Customers wore hats with numbers on them and then bid on their dinner. Our table won a flat fish in the battle that the chefs quickly turned into sashimi!

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Zuihoden>
    Zuihoden is the resting place for Date Masamune and his family and was a very sacred place to visit in Sendai. Zuihoden was impressive for me because I realized how rare the color black is on several of the other shrines, temples and mausoleum I've ever visited. As soon as you go up the hill you are met with a rich black door with gold trimmings. It was glorious and very kakoii for its time.

    <Stroll around Ichibancho>
    Walking through the malls of Sendai gave us an impression of the normal life of residents. We were able to enter a few shops, such as a tea shop that gave us hot samples of delicious mugi cha.

    <Dinner:Tsuda-Sngyoten>
    At night, we went to an amazing local izakaya which specializes in seafood and fish that you can cook on a small charcoal grill. This style of cooking is called robata-yaki or simply robata. All of the food was delicious, for me, the highlight was being able to scoop out fresh tuna directly from the ribs of the fish. I never knew that was possible actually and you just couldn't get fresher fish than that! It was incredible.

Sendai Subway Tozai line
Omachi Nishi-koen Station → Sendai station
200 yen
* Sendai Marugoto Pass (unlimited rides for two days) = 2,670 yen for adults.

Walk
3 minutes

Hotel Metropolitan Sendai

  • Annette White

    <Hotel Metropolitan Sendai>
    The Hotel Metroplotian Sendai was located right outside of the JR station.My room was very cozy room with all the modern amenities.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Hotel Metropolitan Sendai>
    Just like the Tokyo version, the hotel room in Sendai was very relaxing and comfortable.

Day3

Hotel Metropolitan Sendai

  • Annette White

    <Sendai City Asaichi (Morning) market Ameyoko Marketplace>
    Walking through the narrow alleyway of Asaichi market made me wish that I had a kitchen so I could buy and cook all the fresh food! The most delicious stop was to a potato crouquette stand where they were frying them right before your eyes.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Sendai City Asaichi (Morning) market Ameyoko Marketplace>
    In the morning, we made our way to Asaichi, the morning market. Asaichi seemed to be a very popular place for shopping as it was full of people when we arrived at 9am. I couldn't imagine the cost of a bunch of tomatoes on the vine, which were less than half the price of my local supermarket in Tokyo.

JR Senzan Line
Sendai Station → Sakunami Station
About 30 minutes
* Use Sendai Marugoto Pass (unlimited rides for two days).

Walk
About 25 minutes

The Nikka Whisky Sendai Factory Miyagikyo Distillerymore

This distillery distills and stores malt whisky and other beverages. On the one-hour tour of the facility, you can watch the manufacturing process and taste the whisky made there.

  • Annette White

    <NIKKA WHISKY Miyagikyo Distillery>
    When we got there, I was immediately impressed by the well kept grounds, including a pond with the distilleries logo on a barrel displayed in front of it. It is the perfect place to get that souvenir photo! The tour walked a group of us through different stages and buildings of production.

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <NIKKA WHISKY Miyagikyo Distillery>
    The Nikka Whisky Distillery was a really good spot for whiskey lovers as they could see how their favorite drink is created. The opportunity to smell the whiskey at different stages, to see the barrels and the tanks where they are made, and- of course- being able to taste the product and buy some at the end makes for a positive experience at the end of the tour.

JR Senzan Line
Sakunami Station → Ayashi Station
15 minutes, 240 yen

Sendai Municipal bus
Ayashi Station → Akiu Bunka no Sato Center
15 minutes /420 yen
Walk 20 minutes

Akiu Kogei no Sato (Akiu Craft Park)more

At Akiu Craft Park, craftsmen working in traditional Japanese crafts that have been handed down from olden times for their livelihoods work in nine ateriers. Enjoy a look at both the craftsmen who strictly keep these traditional techniques alive and the numerous works that they create with utmost care.

  • Annette White

    <Akiu craft park>
    Akiu Craft Park is an incredible place where they try to keep the tradition of craftsmenship alive. They have 9 types of crafts in the park, and I got to learn how to make a traditional Kokeshi doll. The painting was done in a private room that was set up with sample dolls and four colors to choose from; green, black, yellow and red.

    <Akiu winery>
    This visit quickly was memorable when we heard the reason behind its creation. The architect owner wanted to help rebuild Sendai after the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. His idea was to pair wine with oysters (the perfect duo!).

    <Rairaikyo light up>
    We headed over to Rairaikyou to participate in an event different than anything that I had ever been to before — the light up. This is when a small forested area is illuminated, and you can stroll through a glowing tree-lined path. We started in a small shopping center, then head down the stairs into the forest. It felt like a different world!

  • Wendell T. Harrison

    <Akiu craft park>
    I really enjoy painting and this was a relaxing experience. While the language might make some people nervous, she was incredibly patient and there was a guide on the wall that helps visually understand the steps. But, most importantly, she suggested not to worry about being perfect. I am looking forward to seeing my doll in a few years as the color becomes a richer brown color from age.

    <Akiu winery>
    We had an incredible opportunity to talk with the owner and founder of Akiu Winery about his mission to help with the area's recovery efforts one vine at a time. The wine is bottled as well as some of the grapes hanging to dry in the attic. It was truly a unique experience to see first-hand how hard they are working to make Sendai the next great area for Japanese wine.The flavor of the wine varied from fresh and fruit to more complex and bold, even with hints of fruit jam.

    <Rairaikyou light up>
    Fascinating was the Rairaikyo Gorge, the sight of the light up event. The gorge was also well lit and the scenery was simply stunning, drawing locals and travelers alike.

Akiu Kogei no Sato → Iwanumaya
Walk
20 minutes

Iwanumaya

Day4

Iwanumaya

Shuttle bus, Scheduled bus
Iwanumaya → Sendai Station
45-60 minutes / 800 yen
(*Shuttle bus is free)

Sendai Station

Kataribe taximore

Travel around the disaster area where the scars of the earthquake remain while the driver talks about the situation after the earthquake and tsunami, the progress of reconstruction efforts, and the lessons of the disaster such as disaster preparedness.
Basic Course: Sendai Station → Gamo district → Arahama district → Yuriage district → Sendai Station (Jumbo taxi: 20,750 yen)

Sendai Station

JR Shinkansen Hayabusa(JR EAST PASS) Show details

Tokyo Station or other places

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM TRAVELERS

The Toyko & Sendai program is the perfect mixture of both modern and traditional of each region. While visiting Tokyo you will be engulfed in the energetic nightlife, as well as visit the peaceful temples and learn the art of origami. While traveling in Sendai you will go from eating a traditional beef tongue meal in Sendai to Visiting at a modern architecture to being immersed in the history of the city. The itinerary allows you to have a deeper understanding about the both of the cities culture, food and traditions.

Annette White
Travel Blogger, Author
Reside in USA
  • Hobby

    Travel, food, hiking, learning different cultures

  • Number of visits to Japan

    2 times

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM TRAVELERS

Coming from Louisiana, where we dealt with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, over 10 years ago, I was really curious about how the recovery efforts were going in the Tohoku region. Besides visiting the areas that are still recovering, we were able to witness how much progress had been made, including new train stations and houses.

Wendell T. Harrison
Editor of All About Japan
Reside in Tokyo
Home country: USA
  • Hobby

    Acting, reading, working out, video games

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    7 Years

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