Sendai (仙台市 Sendai-shi) is the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, the largest city in the Tōhoku region, and the second largest city north of Tokyo.
It has prospered as the capital of the Date Clan since its first feudal lord, Date Masamune, who reigned over this district and built Sendai Castle at the beginning of the 17th century. Explore the site of Sendai Castle or rest and relax in the Mt. Aobayama neighborhood, which has been transformed into a splendid public park.
Sendai is known as the “City of Trees.” The main avenues, Aoba-dori and Jozenji-dori, are lined with rows of beautiful zelkova trees, and during the Christmas season, the trees are illuminated by lights for the “Sendai Pageant of Starlight” event. The zelkova tress also a spectacular sight with their fresh verdure in spring and scarlet-tinged leaves in autumn. The Ichibancho shopping area, which crosses Chuo-dori Avenue and runs parallel to Aoba-dori Avenue makes for a delightful shopping excursion with local shops and many smaller stores lining the side streets. After shopping, relax and dine at any of the 3,000 restaurants, all clustered around Kokubuncho, located on the west side of Ichibancho area.
The Tanabata Festival, held every summer in Sendai, is considered one of the three greatest festivals in the Tohoku region. It is one of the most popular events, drawing crowds of over 2 million every year. Gorgeous decorations called sasatake and made with bamboo and Japanese paper, are put up in the shopping arcades in front of Sendai Station and in all other parts of the city, in what appears to be a beauty competition among the decorations. The festival is based on the Chinese seventh of July legend: Once a year, the ‘Kengyu’ (a cowherd) represented by the star Altair, and the ‘Orihime’ (a weaver) represented by the star Vega, who are on opposite sides of the Milky Way, are able to meet each other by crossing the bridge of magpie wings over the Milky Way.
In 2010, the city had a population of one million, and is one of Japan’s 20 designated cities.
On March 11, 2011, coastal areas of the city suffered catastrophic damage from a magnitude 9.0 offshore earthquake, which triggered a destructive tsunami.