Dear Visitor. Welcome to Sendai. Here we provide some useful information that will help you to survive in Sendai. Have a nice stay!
1. Meeting point at Sendai station
Sendai is located in the Tohoku region. Japan can be divided in four main regions and the north part of the country is the Tohoku region. There are some provinces and Sendai is the capital of Miyaghi province. It is 350 Km from Tokyo and by taking the Shinkansen (bullet train from Tokyo station or ueno station). It takes about 1:40 minutes. After a long flight, be careful for not sleeping in the train. In case you pass by the Sendai station it will take at least one hour to get other train back at the next station. Once you arrive at Sendai station, the standard meeting point is near the Samurai statue. Please follow the arrows indicating the central exit of the station. You will find an escalator and after going down you will see the statue of a Samurai mounted in a horse. This statue is 5 m high. There will be a lot of people waiting there.
Near to the statue, you will find the infomation office (not in photo, left side) where you can get the free map of Sendai in English and 8 different languages. Please say your language and "Map (Tizu!)"
2. Reference points in Sendai
The main reference point is Sendai city is the Sendai station. Furthermore, the main avenue is called Aoba Dori (dori means avenue). In this avenue is located the main famous Hotel in Sendai, Tokyu (not Tokyo) Excel Hotel. In case you get lost in Sendai please ask where is Tokyu Hotel.
Sendai is a good city and it is not very hard to survive even without speaking any japanese word. Many things has some information in English including the announcement of some bus stops. However, at the streets it is not easy to find people that speak English. In the Tohoku university, however, you easily can find a speaking English person.
The way and cheapest way to move in Sendai is by bus. The system offers a very good service. The fare price depends on the distance and can be paid by coins and bills. It varies from 3.00 to 5 US dollars. If you are going to stay for more than three days it is recommended to buy the Bus ticket. It costs around 30 US dollars. You can buy it at the the Univ Coop at the Tohoku campus, faculty of Engineering. Once you get in the bus you put the card at the machine and get it back. When you get out you also need to pass the card at the machine because depending on the distance between the points you get in and out the cost changes and this amount is charged in your card. The remaining amount is printed in the back of you card each time you get out. A very important point is the bus schedule. The buses are generally very precise and its frequency changes along the day. Get the bus schedule in order to avoid waiting for a long time. There is three time schedule, one for the weekdays, one for Saturday and other for Sunday. Japanese people arrive at the bus stop very close to due time. Thus if you arrive at the bus stop and there is no anyone, probably the bus has just gone or it is going to take a long time from coming again.
The food in Sendai is very good. You have many options. The standard food is rice, chicken, beef, porch and salads. There is a large variety of soups and tea. Drink green tea is very good for the sleeping time about 3:00 pm due to the jet leg (this is for people coming from west places). It helps to take you awake up.
Please be kind and do not leave rice in your bow. Generally, in the places you order the food, people does not speak English and you get the food by pointing out. This works out ok. The daily food price changes from 5 to 10 US dollars. The most convenient way is to bring lunch so you do not have to go out the building. Most people do that. This is very important in the winter time that is very cold in Sendai. However, if you are not able to bring food, you have two options at the Tohoku campus. There are restaurants at the faculty of science and faculty of engineering. They are generally very crowded between 11:30 and 13:00 h. The second option is to get lunch box that are generally located in the first floor of the buildings. There are both lunch and dinner box (in case you want to stay longer). This meal cost at about 5 US dollars.
In the down town area there are a lot of convenience store. You can find several things in since food up to magazines. The good thing is that they are open 24 hours every day. They are identified in the city maps by the letter C. Some of them offers fax and telephone services.
Sushi in Sendai is a good deal. It is not that expensive and you can get good Sushi at several points in the city. There is some places where the plates with Sushi is rotating. You just seat and get what you want. Each plate cost 110 Yen (around 1 US dollar).
Before shopping anything please go the 100 Yen shopping. There are several in the city and there is one located near the Sendai station in a street called city hall. There are seven floors where you can find everthing (or almost). Each object cost 100 japanese yens.