Top ChoiceBar in Sendai

Peter Pan

A music-loving father-and-son team runs this lounge-room-vibe 'rock' bar. Dad provides the soundtrack with his extensive, alternative-rock vinyl collection, while his son busies himself with the clientele....

Top ChoiceHistoric Building in Sendai

Zuihō-den Mausoleum

The mausoleum of Date Masamune sits majestically atop the summit of a tree-covered hill by the Hirose-gawa. Built in 1637 but destroyed by Allied bombing during WWII, the current building, completed in 1979, is...

Top ChoiceVegetarian in Sendai


Vegetable curries, macrobiotic tofu and fresh, colourful salads are the highlights of this delightful, minimalist cafe, which rotates its menu regularly from a library of cookbooks on display. The occasional fish...

Buddhist Temple in Matsushima


Tōhoku’s finest Zen temple, Zuigan-ji was established in AD 828. The present buildings were constructed in 1606 by Date Masamune to serve as a family temple and the Hondo (main hall) has been beautifully restored...

Cultural in Sendai

Sendai Tanabata Matsuri

The Tanabata Matsuri celebrates a Chinese legend about two stars: Vega, a king’s daughter, who fell in love with Altair, a common herder. The king disapproved, so he formed the Milky Way between them. Once a year...

Arts & Crafts in Sendai


Buy handmade wares from all over Tōhoku at this elegant, perfectly curated shop. It's a lovely spot to pick up high-quality souvenirs for gifts (which will be beautifully wrapped while you wait). It's right on...

Museum in Ishinomaki

Ishinomori Mangattan Museum

This popular manga museum's other-worldly spaceship structure survived the tsunami largely intact, while the collection has since been restored and rejuvenated. The work of influential manga-ka (cartoonist) and...

Sweets in Matsushima


On the 2nd floor, with huge windows overlooking the bay, this light-filled, minimalist cafe specialises in castella, a moist, sponge-like cake originally brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th...

Craft Beer in Sendai

Craftsman Sendai

When there's a global trend, like craft beer, the Japanese are never far behind. This small Craftsman outlet (a few are popping up around Japan) combines casual Italian dining (tapas plate ¥1450) with Japan's...

Food Hall in Ishinomaki

Common-ship Hashidori

Constructed haphazardly from caravans, pine beams, fake turf and fairy lights, this pop-up community dining and gathering space is emblematic of Ishinomaki's reconstruction. Burgers and other street-food-style...

Japanese in Sendai

Aji Tasuke

In a city of fans of charcoal-grilled cow's tongue, this little gyūtan has been steadily among the top few purveyors for some time now. Perch at the counter to watch – and smell – the grilling in action. It's...

Bar in Sendai


Gallo is a tiny basement bar that keeps the tempo low and slow and mixes fruit-infused cocktails with a Japanese twist. Our pick is the lemon-and-ginger-spiked umeshū (plum wine, ¥650). The city's more eclectic...

Bakery in Matsushima

Aizawa Bakery

Tucked away on a residential street a few blocks back from the main thoroughfare, this tiny, one-room bakery does a seriously good sourdough, as well as delectable croissants and pastries worthy of a Parisian...

Island in Matsushima


You can't miss the 252m-long red wooden bridge connecting Fuku-ura-jima to the mainland. The shady trails here, which wind around the island through native pines and a botanic garden, make for a pleasant...

Japanese in Sendai

Rikyu Ichibancho Yanagimachi

The best gyūtan (charcoal-grilled cow's tongue) place in town is this tiny hole-in-the-wall filled with locals. It's cheap, fresh and there is an English-language menu so you don't accidentally order the tail.

Japanese in Sendai


Spectacular evening kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) courses and crunch-for-lunch tempura are served in this elegant traditional building in the heart of Kokubunchō. Best for dining with two or more.

Coffee in Sendai

Sendai Coffee Stand

The best coffee in Sendai is brewed at this super-hip, one-room cafe at the edge of the entertainment district. A small rotating menu of baked goods and sandwiches keeps the caffeine shakes at bay.

Buddhist Temple in Matsushima


Date Masamune constructed this small wooden temple in 1604. Although it stands on an island in the bay, connected to the mainland by two short bridges, it was miraculously untouched by the 2011 tsunami. The...

Museum in Ishinomaki

Miyagi Sant Juan Bautista Museum

A full-scale replica of the Spanish-style Japanese-made ship Sant Juan Bautista, commissioned by Date Masamune in 1613 as part of a diplomatic mission to Europe, is on display here (though visitors can no longer...