Sendai, also nicknamed the “City of Trees,” is the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture. It is a city that is near the sea and the mountains, which is the reason why it is surrounded by many natural attractions. The yearly events also bring a lot of tourists, not only from Japan but all over the world as well.
Popular events like the Tanabata Festival (Star Festival) and the Pageant of Starlight are among their most anticipated events. The nightlife here is also very active, and you will find countless bars, restaurants, cafes, izakayas, and other places of entertainment.
If you don’t know where to start, feel free to try these 10 things to do at night in Sendai for a memorable experience.
1. Explore Kokubuncho
Kokubuncho is where people go to enjoy the nightlife in Sendai. This is where the highest concentration of restaurants, cafes, izakayas, and other entertainment establishments are located. Come and see the sights and sounds that can only be experienced in Kokubuncho.
2. Enjoy various local dishes and local sake at Izakaya
Izakayas had always been a part of the Japanese culture. A place where people go to enjoy great food and alcoholic drinks in the company of their friends, acquaintances, and of course their drinking buddies. Each izakaya has their own specialty dish, so you are bound to discover a few dishes that may catch your fancy. Try visiting these two izakayas below:
Watariarahama (旬魚・鮨の店 あら浜 仙台本町店)
Watariarahama is an izakaya that specializes in sushi and seafood rice bowl called Harako-meshi, by locals. Enjoy the rich taste of fresh seafood and accompany it with a few drinks of your favorite alcoholic beverages.
Address: 1-10-15, Honcho, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Website: http://www.arahama.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Tobiume (かき小屋 飛梅 仙台駅前店)
Tobiume is a fantastic place to visit when you’re craving for oysters and scallops. Whether you prefer them grilled or fried, the taste will not disappoint you. You can also taste various Japanese sake brewed in Miyagi Prefecture. It is just a 2-minute walk from the Sendai Station, and located on the second floor of the Kikusui Building that is just opposite of AER.
Address: Kikusui Building Sendai Station 2F, 1-6-39 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi
Find more Izakaya in Sendai: 10 Izakaya in Sendai Tohoku for a Great Time
3. Try the most iconic local food from Sendai, Gyutan
Gyutan or grilled beef tongue is a specialty here in Sendai. This unique delicacy has gained fame in the past few years because of its authenticity and taste. It’s a dish that you have to “try at least once” in your life, especially when you are traveling to Japan.
Rikyu is a very popular restaurant in Sendai and home to the iconic gyutan (grilled beef tongue). It is their specialty dish, and they can guarantee that you will love it. The gyutan is grilled to perfection, and it comes with soup. A delicious treat for those who want to try something unique.
Address: Sendai Station 3F Beef Tan Street, 1-1-1 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi
4. Taste fresh sushi made with local seafood
Sushi is a luxury food in Japan, and there is plenty of restaurants that specialize in sushi. However, only a few restaurants will leave you with a lasting impression. Master chefs who had spent years training in the art of sushi preparation will always stand out from the rest. Fresh seafood also plays a critical role when it comes to making sushi. One bite is all it takes for people to judge whether they will be coming back to a sushi restaurant or not.
Having the Pacific Ocean on the east side, Sendai can stock fresh seafood every day. Visit one of these two sushi restaurants to taste the best sushi in Miyagi Prefecture:
Sushi Senichi (鮨 仙一)
Sushi Senichi looks like a classy sushi restaurant. It is a good place to have sushi with friends and acquaintances and enjoy the delicious delicacies that they have to offer. They also have a good selection of alcoholic drinks which will make the experience memorable.
Address: 3-9-12, Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
Morinomiyako Sushi Den (杜の都寿司田)
Morinomiyako Sushi Den is a sushi restaurant that is found in the basement floor of the S-PAL Sendai Building. The sushi here is good and reasonably priced. Their sushi sets also come with a bowl of soup. The ingredients used are fresh, and you will find them to your liking.
Address: S-PAL Sendai B1, 1-1-1, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
Find more sushi restaurants in Sendai: 10 Best Sushi Restaurant in Sendai for Mouth-Watering Sushi!
5. Slurp the Michelin starred ramen at Genryu
Genryu is a popular restaurant where you can enjoy delicious ramen. The thin noodles accompanied by toppings and rich miso soup base creates a delicious harmony that will satisfy your taste buds. For those who love ramen, going to Genryu is a must when you are in Sendai.
Address: 7-20-5, Nagamachi, Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
Find more ramen restaurants in Sendai: 10 Best Ramen Place in Sendai for Awesome Ramen!
6. Have a Zunda Paste Taiyaki at Taikichi
Taikichi is a popular shop where you can buy your favorite taiyaki snack. Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake that is filled with sweet bean paste. It is a very popular snack in Japan. The Sendai version of Taiyaki has zunda paste filling. Zunda, baby soybeans, is one of the most famous local specialties in Sendai.
Address: Suda Building 1F, 2-1-30 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
Website: http://taiankichijitsu.com/pc/ (Japanese Only)
7. Have a delicious glass of cocktail at Authentic Bars
Cocktails is a unique drink that is made from combining different spirits/alcoholic drinks, fruit juice, and other ingredients that give it a very authentic taste. There are thousands of cocktails around the world, and Sendai has its own unique blends as well. Feel free to visit the many bars in the city and experience the taste that you had never had before. Why don’t you try these two to start the night?
BAR GREYHOUND is a bar with only one counter and a few table seats. It is quite close to Sendai Station and a good place to enjoy a variety of cocktails and whiskey. If you prefer to drink alone, this is a good bar to visit.
Address: Ono Daiichi Building 3F, 1-7-40, Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Jacob’s Ladder is one of the hidden gems of Sendai when it comes to incredible drinks like cocktails and whiskey. The bartender is very skillful, and he is able to prepare drinks that will gain your nod of approval. This bar could definitely be your next favorite place in Sendai.
Address: Umeya Bldg. 2F, 3-5-27 Ichibancho, Aoba-Ku, Sendai-Shi, Miyagi
Find more bars in Sendai: 10 Bars in Sendai in Tohoku for Amazing Drinks
8. Taste Miyagikyo Whiskey made at Nikka Miyagikyo Distillery
Nikka Miyagikyo Distillery is well-known for its Miyagikyo Whiskey. This whiskey has a distinct aroma and fruity taste that is loved by many people, not only in Japan but around the world as well. Perfect for those who want to try out the distinct taste of Japanese whiskey. These bars seem to serve Miyagikyo Whiskey, so try going one of them.
Bar The Rothko
Bar The Rothko is a fantastic bar to visit. They have over 100 types of whiskey, mainly Scotch single malts. Of course, they also have Miyagikyo Whiskey in their collection and if you’re looking for this particular brand, then this place won’t disappoint.
Address: 4-3-11 Ichibancho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Website: http://www.bar-the-rothko.com/whisky.html (Japanese Only)
Knight is located on the 1st floor of the Hotel Metropolitan Sendai and is just a 1-minute walk from the Sendai Station West Exit. The bar is spacious and relaxing as it is a hotel bar. It is a bar that has private rooms and separate area for smokers and non-smokers. They have an impressive selection of alcoholic drinks that came from all over Japan and abroad.
Address: Hotel Metropolitan Sendai 1F, 1-1-1 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
9. Participate in Sendai Festival (Every August)
Tanabata Festival, also known as the ‘Star Festival,’ is a special event in which the Japanese celebrate the legend of star-crossed lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). They celebrate it by writing wishes on colorful pieces of paper and tying them up unto bamboo stalks. Sendai takes the celebration up a notch by hanging many colorful streamers all over the city. You can also see a firework display during August, marking the start of the festival.
10.See beautiful lights at Pageant of Starlight (Every December)
The Pageant of Starlight that is held every December, is one of the most anticipated events during the winter season. Beautiful light illuminations adorn the Zelkova trees that line up the Aoba Dori and Jozenjidori Streets. The lights are up daily from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm. This tunnel of lights that can only be seen during this season is something you can’t afford to miss!
Data is as of October 2019
Thumbnail is from Flickr