Founded in 1600 by the daimyo Date Masamune after the establishment of the Edo Shogunate after the Battle of Sekigahara, Japan’s city of trees is the largest city in the Tohoku region. It has a population of one million. The city’s Tohoku University became the first among Japanese higher learning institutions to allow female students. Much of the city’s historic centre was bombed away during World War II, leaving little of its heritage to appreciate today. It’s in an earthquake prone area, and has suffered several devastating ones recently starting from 1978. The most recent was the 2011 earthquake, the tsunami of which caused great coastal devastation. Hilly and volcanically active, the city has many hot springs. Most of the economy is based on the retail and service sectors, buoyed by a strong transport infrastructure.
Culturally the city is quite rich. It celebrates the Tohoku regions folk heritage with dance, music and literature appreciation. Sendai’s festival scene is unique compared to the rest of Japan, with events such as the famed Jozenji Streetjazz Festival, the New Year Dontosai Festival, and the Pageant of Starlights just before that. Handicraft such as Hira, a handwoven silk, Tsutsumiyaki(pottery), and Kokeshi dolls are actively promoted.
Essential travel information and Sendai-shi tips for your visit
- Time Zone: Japan Time Zone UTC+09:00
- Currency: Yen
Electricity and Internet
- 100 Volts
- Plug types A and B
- Ungrounded two pins / grounded three pins.
- Languages: Tohoku-dialect Japanese; many people speak basic English.
- Police: 110
- Ambulance/Fire: 119
- Atago Shrine
- Miyagikencho Outlook Hall
- Rairaikyo Gorge
- Do not tip waiters or taxi driver or any service staff.
- Tipping tour guides is alright, but present the money in an envelope. It’s rude to hand it right out of your wallet or hand.
- Jozenji-dori Avenue
- Mitsui Outlet Park
- Bow when greeting.
- Learn Japanese honorifics. Add a suffix ‘-san’ to most people’s names.
- Slurp soupy, wet foods
- The small wet cloth before meals is for your hands ONLY.
- Remove shoes before entering dwellings; remove slippers before getting onto tatami; and don’t wear bathroom slippers anywhere outside the bathroom.
- Don’t be too out spoken or gregarious. It’s rude.
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