Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sendai "City of Trees"

Of Interest: downtown, Chuo-dori Shopping Arcade
Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: Yes, with lots of information
Computer Access: in the shopping arcade
Int'l ATM: Walk right from the station for 5-10 minutes to a 7-11.

Sendai is called the "City of Trees" because it is one of the greenest cities in Japan. It also one of the densest. These two things are not in conflict.

Sendai Station is downtown. Exit to the west and the second floor terrace turns into bridges that connect with nearby hotels and department stores. Go down to street level across from the station to find the Chuo-dori Shopping Arcade, a pedestrian street that extends from one end of downtown to the other. English language books can be found at Maruzen located on the same side of the street as the station.

The Loople Sendai bus also leaves from the West Exit area. Take this bus to get to Sendai's museums and area attractions, and to just see the city. A single ride is 25o yen while a full day costs 600 yen. Buses run from 9 to 4 all year round.

To me, it looks like local buses leave from the west side, while intercity buses leave from the east.

The Sendai Info Board is a website and magazine with information for foreign residents, some of which is valuable for visitors too. The magazine is available at the tourist office in the station.

Several JR East lines serve Sendai Station. The Senseki Line goes east to Sendai's suburbs and the ocean (including Matsushima), the Senzan Line goes west to the mountains and the city of Yamagata, the Tohoku Main Line runs north and south, and the Joban line runs south along the coast. The city also runs a single subway line and rail link to Sendai Airport. It takes about an hour and forty-five minutes to get to Tokyo by Shinkansen and about the same amount of time to go north to Hachinohe.

A two day pass for all buses trains in the Sendai area, including the subway, costs 2600 yen for two days. Both this pass and a Loople ticket can get you discounts at some tourist attractions.

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