Sendai is an excellent choice for holidays if you are looking for a fun and relaxing family vacation. The information below is also very useful for parents who plan to bring their babies or toddlers with them.
Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, was founded in 1600 by Date Masamune, a person who ruled the city in the early days. There are many souvenirs and merchandise that use his name, including different types of Japanese alcohol, food, and restaurant names too.
Top places to visit in Sendai
Almost a must see if you have made plans for Sendai and still unsure where to spend your day. You can buy a 1-day tourist pass and Zuihōden is one of the stops. Zuihōden Mausoleum is for us to remember the greatness of Date Masamune, for all the things he has done for these people.
Aoba Castle (Sendai Castle) 青葉城:
This is a historic monument, a castle built by the great Date Masamune. There is a great scenic view for you to catch a breeze and an exhibition show around the area. Aoba Castle was the base for Date and his clans throughout 1600-1867 (Edo Period), and Mt Aoba was later renamed as “Sendai”.
If you have never visited any shrines in Japan and is curious about going, this is one of the three places you can visit while you are on the Loople Bus. You can visit the above three historical places on the same day without too much trouble. The one day pass is 620 yen, for more information about Loople, you can visit http://loople-sendai.jp/en/about/ (Information is in English).
Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium 仙台うみの杜水族館:
There is a dolphin show, and if you don’t mind getting a bit wet, the instructors and dolphins would actually try to spray some water to the spectators sitting in the first two rows during the show! You will also get to see some cute little penguins. Operation hours are between 9:00-19:30 PM during the summer (Last entry at 19:00 PM). Entry fees: Adults 2100 yen, Junior and senior high school students 1600 yen, Elementary school students 1100 yen, Infants (4 years old or older) 600 yen, Senior citizens (65 years old or older) 1600 yen. Free admission for infants under 4 years old.
Selcohome Zoo Paradise Yagiyama 八木山動物公園:
A great place to bring your little ones, my daughter enjoyed waving and greeting to most of the animals. Entry permitted until 16:00 PM, and it’s only 400 yen per entry and 1000 yen for an annual pass.
Sendai Anpanman Children’s Museum & Mall:
If you have children and may want to take them to a kid’s museum so they can remember for the rest of their lives? The Anpanman museum has plenty of activities during the day, gift shops, kid’s haircuts, and restaurants are also available. The museum operates between 9:00-18:00 PM, the entry fee is 1600 tax exclusive, and free for children under 1-year-old.
Yagiyama Benyland 八木山ベニーランド (Image by Google Maps):
Yes, that’s right, an amusement park with fun roller coasters just right next to the zoo! You can definitely try to fit both activities on the same day. Operation hours are between 9:00-5:00 PM. Entry fees: Adults 1000 yen, Children (3 years old – Elementary school students) 500 yen, Senior citizens (65 years old or older) 500 yen.
Sendai Asaichi Morning Market 仙台朝市:
Looking for a place to eat some fresh sashimi don? The morning market not only sells fruits and vegetables, this place is also suitable for you to start your first meal of the day. Sashimi rice bowls costs around 800 yen. The market closes on Sundays.
Top specialties to eat in Sendai
Grilled/BBQ Beef Tongue:
If you think you have had BBQ beef tongue before and beef tongue does not look attractive you, think again! Sendai beef tongue is one of the most delicious and must try food in Japan. The easiest place to go is on the 3rd floor of Sendai Station, there is a beef tongue/sushi lane. There are three popular restaurants you go choose from “利久、伊達の牛たん、喜助”, and you won’t go wrong with either choice. If you have not got enough time to sit down because you need to go catch a train (JR), there are plenty of shops in the station that sells traditional Japanese bento boxes (Takeaway meal) and would still get to enjoy one of the tastiest beef on earth.
Edamame milkshake Zunda:
This is a milkshake made by green peas called edamame, and it surprisingly has a good taste. The taste is like a vanilla milkshake that is less thick. If you are having second thoughts about a blended beans drink because it’s not your usual fruity shake, don’t, the Zunda shake is a dessert drink with healthy nutritious content. If you missed out buying one at Sendai station, there is also a store at Sendai International Airport.
Sendai Fish Cake:
Sendai style fish cake, it’s flat and long, you can grill it at some of the stores. It comes in different flavors and tastes really good with a bit of soy sauce. With just 200 Yen per stick, it’s a really must try!
Fish with dough skewer (Fried, like a corn dog):
In the same store that sells fish cakes, they also sell fried fish balls. The taste is a bit like corn dogs, and a lot of people from the western countries are curious to try it out.
Japanese Ramen noodles:
There is one popular Japanese noodles shop that always have people lining up, the shop’s name is called Suehiro Ramen (末廣ラーメン本舗). When you are craving for some supper, this is the place to go! – Open 24 Hours.
Places to shop in Sendai
Don Quijote Bansuidori – Opens 24 hours! Tax-free counter located on level 3, and bring your passport with you. This is a store with snacks, clothes, electronics, stationery, toys, pharmaceutical products, adding up to 30000 items. Take your shopping experience to a whole new level!
Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port – Only a short walk from the aquarium. Plan your itinerary on the same day. Shops includes Nike, Adidas, Coach, food-court. There are more than 120 international and local brands.
Sendai Izumi Premium Outlets – This is a more upscale outlet with 80 stores. There are shuttle buses from Sendai Station. A Lindt cafe is located on the 1st floor. Always better shopping experience when kids are sleeping quietly!
Clis Road – The shops on Clis Road are a lot more interesting than your usual department stores, and it’s also quite a unique shopping experience if this is going to be your first time in Japan. You can find some cool clothing stores, Disney Store, and shops that sell Japanese traditional outfits (Kimono). This is in downtown Sendai, only a few minutes away from Sendai Station on foot. Most shops close from 8:00 PM.
Around Sendai Station (Department Stores: Parco, S-PAL, LOFT). There are plenty of department stores for you to shop around Sendai Station. If you are looking to bring some gifts back for your family or friends, there is plenty to choose from.
AEON Store – If you need to go to a proper supermarket to buy some raw food, alcohol, or just some toiletries. They are located a few minutes away from Sendai Station by foot.