Sendai仙台 / The city of trees

Day 206:  April 1, 2014

With wide, relaxed, tree-lined avenues, truthfully the city of trees is just that.  Sendai is a city with deep history and vivid culture.  I was glad to have a few days to explore the combination of sightseeing and hiking at my own pace.  Below is a quick look at some of the highlights that Sendai仙台 has to offer.

Otamayashita:  Hike to the Otamaya (spirit hall) of the first feudal lord of Sendai-Han.  (杜の都 Mori no Miyako)

Climbing the quiet cymipta groves.

Climbing the quiet cryptomeria groves.

Nehanmon:  Nehan (nirvana) translates as freedom from worldly desires and the attainment of spiritual enlightenment.  In a wider sense, nehan also means the after life.  The main gate of Zuihoden is named Nehanmon.

Entrance gates - still climbing!

View above the Nehanmon entrance gates.

Zuihoden:  Zuihoden is the elegantly ornate spirit hall of the founder and lord of Sendai-han, Date Masamune. Climbing up the stone steps and into the majestic cedar forest surrounding the Zuihoden, you can really feel a an apparent difference from the world outside, both physically and mentally.

The resting place of Date M...

Zuihoden: the resting place of Date Masamune

Securing Safe Housing, Sendai:  According to The Japan Times, 89.5%, or 19,764 units of temporary housing in Sendai still had residents as of March, 2014.  Defense against the largest tsunamis have brought Sendai’s reconstruction efforts further inland and to higher ground.  But the slow progress in clearing highland areas has made relocating entire communities a daunting task.

Geared up to get to work on some new housing units.

Geared up to make quick work of some new housing units.


Securing Safe Housing site.

The start of what will be a new apartment unit  outside Sendai.

The start of what will be a new apartment unit in western Sendai.

“I don’t know how many more years we need to spend before we get out of temporary housing, but I can’t ask for more when my family is safe and sound.”  Talking with the other volunteers, it was apparent that the attitude in Tohoku is of nothing but gratitude.

Lunch break: Zunda O-Dango - (edamame mochi).

Lunch break: Zunda Dango – (edamame spread mochi)!

Osaki Hachimangu Shrine:  One of the oldest and most recognizable buildings in Sendai, built in 1607 by order of Lord Date Masamune.  The oldest Momoyama-style building remaining in Japan, and a National Treasure.

Arrival at Osaki H..

Arrival at the Osaki Hachimangu torii.

Up, up we go!

Up, up we go!

Passing through the next entry torii

(杜の都 Mori no Miyako) The natural beauty of Sendai…

Really neat, really authentic. This shrine is noted as a national treasure for it's age and preservation.

Really neat and authentic. This shrine is noted as a national treasure for it’s age and preservation.

16th century entry way!

Traditional 16th century entryway.

The shrine offering hall. Beautifully colored bell cords..

Beautifully colored bell cords at the shrine offering hall.


Sake barrel offerings.

It may not look it.. but it's a looooong way down..

My legs were happy with a rest on the descent. Albeit short lived….

Sendai-jo & Mt. Aoba:  Although Sendai Castle was all but destroyed during WWII, a trip to the top of Mt. Aoba is still worth the effort.  Not only can you look forward to panoramic views of the city below, but the inner grounds are lined with shrines and souvenir shops.


Walking the grounds of 青葉城 Aoba-jō.


護国神社 ema tablets


Gokoku Shrine (護国神社, Gokoku-jinja)

Sendai Castle ruins: Monument of ___

The quintessential Sendai vacation photo: statue of the iconic warlord Date Masamune on horseback.


Panoramic view of Sendai from atop Mt. Aoba.

“Gyutan” (牛タン):  Before departing the city of trees, it was obligatory that I try the real Sendai special:

On the menu in Sendai: "gyutan" (beef tongue).

On the menu in Sendai: “gyutan”.

Beef tongue over rice and (as a bonus) a few extra pieces in your soup.  In all fairness it did taste delicious.  Just like steak.  With a ‘unique’ texture.  Oishii!


3 responses to “Sendai仙台 / The city of trees

  1. Oh man! That Gyu-tan lunch photo just got me so hungry! Great blog Kate – thanks for taking the time to share!

  2. another fabulous post

  3. Very peaceful looking.

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