JSPS Quarterly
No.51 2015 Spring

Introducing Japan: Sendai

By Daniele Magistro

Yoshida Castle

Sendai in autumn

Sendai is the biggest city in the northeastern Tohoku area of Japan. But, its lifestyle is really different from other large cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. Itís a quieter city, where you can enjoy tree-lined streets and public spaces even in the downtown area. In Sendai, you see an assortment of very traditional and highly modern buildings and activities. During my first year in Sendai, I could see and appreciate a clear change of seasons, from a cold, snowy winter to beautiful floral scents in spring, from a hot, humid summer to the many vivid colors in autumn. Even though the Sendai area was hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the peopleís resilience and motivation to move forward is evident all around.

Tezutsu hanabi

Sendai Aoba-Matsuri

Sendai has historical importance, especially for the Tohoku people, as it is the birthplace of Date Masamune, who founded the city in the late 16th century. Today, you can find monuments, shrines and statues dedicated to him all around the city. In fact, there is a connection between Masamune and Italy: He sent his retainer Hasekura Tsunenaga, who was to be the first Japanese ambassador to the Americas and Europe, on a diplomatic mission to deliver a letter to the Vatican in Rome.
Not far from Sendai, there are many beautiful and historic places to visit, including Matsushima (pine-clad islets) Bay, Yamadera mountain temple, the Zao mountain range, and the historical town of Hiraizumi. Because public transportation is so convenient in Japan, it is quite easy to get to these and other places in the area.

Toyohashi on the map of Japan

For me, the beauty of Sendai lies in the intimacy that results from its compact size. You can travel to all corners of the city on bike, as well as in and out of the city on jaunts to see the neighboring countryside. I enjoy traditional and sporting events with people of the community. Last year, I discovered the thrill of Japanese professional baseball when Sendaiís team, Rakuten Eagles, won the national championship.

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JSPS Quarterly No.43 2013