How to travel between Sendai and Tokyo
Sendai is connected with Tokyo by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen. Hayabusa, Hayate and Komachi trains take 100 minutes to travel between Sendai and Tokyo and require seat reservations. Yamabiko trains have some unreserved seating and take about two hours. The one way journey costs approximately 11,000 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass, JR East Tohoku Area Pass and JR East South Hokkaido Pass.
By local train
By local trains along the JR Tohoku Line, the one way trip from Tokyo to Sendai takes about seven hours and typically involves about three to four transfers of trains. The regular fare is a relatively expensive 5940 yen, however, with a Seishun 18 Kippu you can do the trip for as little as 2370 yen.
By highway bus
Multiple bus companies, including Willer Express, offer direct highway bus service between Tokyo and Sendai during both the day and night. Travel duration is about 5.5 hours. Regular one way fares start around 2500 yen. Online reservations can be made through Willer and Japan Bus Online.
Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.
The most convenient way to travel around Sendai as a tourist is by Loople Sendai, a loop bus connecting most of the city's sights. Sendai also has some JR train lines, two subway lines and a bus network (operated by Sendai City and Miyagi Kotsu).
The Loople Sendai is a tourist specific bus service that runs in a one-hour, clockwise loop around the city. It stops at Zuihoden, Sendai City Museum, Aoba Castle and other sightseeing spots and departs from Sendai Station every 20-30 minutes from 9:00 to 16:00. A Loople day pass costs 620 yen, otherwise one ride costs 260 yen. The Loople day pass is not valid on regular city buses.
From Sendai Station, the JR Senzan Line runs north of the city center and provides access to Rinnoji Temple, while the JR Senseki Line runs to Matsushima, 35 kilometers northeast of the city center. The one way trip to Matsushima takes 40 minutes and costs 410 yen.
Sendai has two subway lines, the Namboku Line (running north-south) and the Tozai Line (running east-west) that meet each other at Sendai Station. The Tozai Line offers access to the base of Aoba Castle, but otherwise the subway lines are not particularly useful for tourists.
Sendai Airport is located about 20 kilometers southeast of the city center and can be accessed directly by train (15-25 minutes, 650 yen) from Sendai Station.
Sendai's local IC card, the Icsca card, as well as Suica and nine other IC cards can be used on virtually all means of public transportation in the Greater Sendai area, including subways, buses, the Loople Sendai bus, JR trains and the trains to Sendai Airport.
Passes and Tickets
Two similar passes are available to tourists in the Greater Sendai area. Both of them provide unlimited use of the Loople bus, the subway, most Sendai City buses, certain Miyagi Kotsu buses and JR trains in and around Sendai, including the trains to Matsushima, Yamadera and the airport, and the buses to nearby hot spring resorts:
- Sendai Area Pass (1 day, 1300 yen)
The Sendai Area Pass is valid on only one calendar day and can only be used by foreign tourists. It cannot be used by residents of Japan. The only place to purchase the pass is JR Sendai Station.
- Sendai Marugoto Pass (2 days, 2670 yen)
The Sendai Marugoto Pass is valid on two consecutive calendar days and can also be used by residents of Japan. It is available for purchase at many stations and sales locations in central Sendai, as well as at major JR stations in eastern Japan.