Tuesday, May 12, 2009


basic information

Sendai is the original home of gyutan, a dish consisting of pieces of thinly sliced beef tongue, cooked over a charcoal grill. Besides the standard version of grilled tongue and pickled vegetables seen above, gyutan is also popular in domburi form, as a curry, or in a beef stew.

The dish originated fairly recently in 1948 when a yakitori restaurant owner in Sendai devoted his business to the preparation of beef tongue dishes. It has grown rapidly in popularity and spread throughout Japan.

Common side dishes of gyutan are oxtail soup, and mugi gohan (steamed white rice with barley). In its domburi variety, gyutan is served over a bowl of steamed white rice, while the curry gyutan is accompanied by rice as well.

The two most popular gyutan restaurant chains are Rikyu and Kisuke. Both of these chains have branches on Gyutan Dori (gyutan street) on third floor of Sendai Station. The restaurants of Gyutan Dori open their doors at 10:00 while most of the city branch gyutan chains open for lunch around 11:00. Menus generally range in price from about 1000 yen to about 2000 yen.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Downtown Sendai

Downtown Sendai
basic information
Sendai from the AER Building's observation deck

Sendai has a compact downtown which is generally centered to the west of JR Sendai Station. An aerial view of the entire city is available for free from the observation deck of the AER Building next to the station.

The broad streets and abundance of greenery have resulted in Sendai's nickname, "the city of trees". Many parks and public spaces contribute to the greenery.

Ichibancho Shopping Arcade

Trees can even be found in the covered shopping area, Ichibancho Arcade. This covered mall connects several streets together in the downtown area to create the largest arcade in the Tohoku region. The shopping area includes several different arcade malls and covers a T-shaped area along Ichibancho and Chuo dori.

Shops along the arcades range from the budget 100 yen chains, to an Apple store with the full range of restaurants, clothing and souvenir stores in between.

Asaichi ("morning market") is another shopping option that offers visitors a look at local, seasonal fish and produce. A few stalls sell prepared foods such as onigiri, while flower vendors have seasonal plants and cut flowers. The market is located on a small street, only about 100 meters in length.

Fresh produce and flowers at Asaichi Morning Market

Any advice or questions? Voice them in the forum!

how to get there

AER Building:

The building is a two minute walk north of Sendai Station's west exit across the street from the entrance of the Hapina Nakakecho shopping arcade. The observation deck is located on the 31st floor.

Asaichi Market:

From the west exit of Sendai Station, walk across the elevated walkway towards the E Beans building. The morning market is located along a street behind the E Beans building. The walk takes about five minutes.

Ichibancho Shopping Arcade:

Just across from the AER building to the north of Sendai station, follow the covered shopping arcade (known as Hapina Nakakecho, Clis Road and Marble Road Omachi) for about 15 minutes until the covered street ends and you meet the perpendicularly running Ichibancho Shopping Arcade.

How to get to and around Sendai

hours and fees

AER Observation Deck
Hours:10:30 to 20:00

Asaichi Market
Hours:Early morning until produce runs out, usually open all day
Closed:Weekends and national holidays

Ichibanjo Shopping Arcade
Hours:Shops typically open between 10:00 and 11:00 and close between 19:00 and 21:00
Closed:Varies depending on the store but many are open year round