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Aoba Castle (—t, Aobajō) was built in 1600 by the powerful feudal lord Date Masamune. Because of considerations for the castle's defense, Masamune chose to locate his fortifications on Mount Aoba, 100 meters above the town below.

In the last 400 years the castle endured the anti-feudal fervor of the Meiji Period, a giant fire in 1882 and the carpet bombing of 1945. Now all that is left of the castle are remnants of the outer stone walls and a guard tower. The location's lookout onto the city below now serves an aesthetic rather than military role, though a statue of Masamune, armor-clad and horseback, recalls the site's origins.

A museum commemorating Aoba Castle's history can be viewed on the site. It features models of the castle as it stood in the Edo Period (1603-1868), artifacts from the castle, and a theater that shows a short movie on the castle in Japanese. Also available at the museum are VR goggles with which tourists can walk around the castle grounds and get an idea of how the castle used to look when its many buildings were still standing.

The prefectural branch shrine of Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, called Gokoku Shrine, is also located on the castle's former foundations. The shrine also has a museum, but does not offer any information in English. The museum focuses on Japan's modern military history.

Within walking distance from the castle are a few other sites of interest. A short walk down Mount Aoba's northern slope leads to the Sendai City Museum (closed until spring 2024). The museum features relics of the Date clan and presents varying temporary exhibitions.

About a kilometer and a half walk south-west from the castle lies Sendai Yagiyama Zoo. The selection of animals at Yagiyama is impressive for a small zoo, and the tourist to Japan will appreciate the section dedicated to local animals. Unfortunately, some may consider the facilities a bit wanting. Across from the zoo is the Yagiyama Benyland amusement park.

Getting there and around

Aoba Castle can be reached in about 20 minutes from Sendai Station by the Loople Sendai bus. Get off at bus stop #5 for the Sendai City Museum or bus stop #6 for the former castle grounds. A day pass for the Loople bus costs 630 yen, otherwise one ride costs 260 yen. It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk between the city museum and the castle's former grounds.

Alternatively, take the Tozai Subway Line from Sendai Station to International Center (Kokusai Center) at the base of Aoba Castle (5 minutes, 210 yen one way). From the station, it is a five minute walk to Sendai City Museum or a 20 minute uphill walk to the former castle grounds.

Sendai Yagiyama Zoo and Yagiyama Benyland are about a 20-30 minute walk from Aoba Castle or a short walk from Yagiyama Zoological Garden (Yagiyama Dobutsuen), the final station of the Tozai Subway Line (12 minutes, 310 yen one way from Sendai Station).

How to get to and around Sendai

Hours and Fees

Aoba Castle Museum

Hours

Closed

Admission

Sendai City Museum

Closed

Sendai Yagiyama Zoo

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Sendai

Top rated in Sendai
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    • Sendai Guest House UMEBACHI
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House Umebachi offers dormitory-style accommodations with free Wi-Fi. Guests can rent bicycles to tour the area and relax at the outdoor terrace. JR Nigatake Train Station is a 10-minute walk and JR Sendai Train Station is a 15-minute drive away. The air-conditioned dormitory-style rooms feature bunk beds on hardwood floors. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Amenities such as toothbrush and towels are available for an extra cost. Luggage storage is available for an extra charge and a coin-launderette is on site. You can have a simple breakfast of toast and coffee for free of charge. Guests can enjoy drinks at the bar space at night as well. Umebachi Guest House is a 10-minute drive from Home studium of Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Jozenji Dori Avenue is 15-minute drive away. Sendai Tosho-gu Shrine is a 20-minute drive away.
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    • Onyado Nono Sendai Natural Hot Spring
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, Onyado Nono Sendai Natural Hot Spring is located in Sendai, 300 metres from Sendai City Community Support Center and 18 km from Shiogama Shrine. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk. The accommodation provides a sauna, spa centre, restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Sendai Station, Sakuraoka Daijingu and Sendai International Centre. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 16 km from Onyado Nono Sendai Natural Hot Spring.
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    • Hotel GrandBach Sendai
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, Hotel GrandBach Sendai is set in Sendai, 17 km from Shiogama Shrine and 700 metres from Sendai Station. Featuring a restaurant, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property is non-smoking and is located 1.7 km from Sendai City Community Support Center. The units in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. Guest rooms in Hotel GrandBach Sendai are equipped with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries. An Asian breakfast is available daily at the accommodation. With staff speaking English and Japanese, around the clock guidance is available at the reception. Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi is 1.8 km from Hotel GrandBach Sendai, while Sendai Toshogu is 2.9 km away. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 16 km from the hotel.
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    • Sendai Royal Park Hotel
      Luxury
      Surrounded by lush gardens, Sendai Royal Park Hotel is a resort hotel that offers elegant accommodation with European d?cor and free WiFi. Guests can enjoy rejuvenating beauty treatments at the hotelfs beauty salon. Free pick-up shuttles are available from Sendai station. The hotel is located a 15-minute drive from Izumi Chuo Station, and a 30-minute drive from JR Sendai Station. The Sendai Izumi Premium Outlet shopping mall is just a 1-minute walk, and Izumi Park Town Golf Club can be reached within a 5-minute drive. Sendai Airport is a 40-minute drive. Guests can enjoy shopping at Izumi Park Town Tapio, located a 3-minute walk away. Each room at Sendai Royal Park Hotel features warm colours and large windows, and comes with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and a fridge. An electric kettle and tea bags are also provided. Some rooms feature a balcony and views of the garden. Activities at Sendai Royal Park Hotel include yoga in the garden and cycling. Guests can borrow bicycles to explore the local area, or relax with massages in the guest room. The 24-hour front desk can handle luggage storage and currency exchange. Guests can have breakfast on the garden terrace or enjoy a picnic breakfast in the garden. Teppanyaki restaurant Nanatsumori offers Sendai wagyu steak, while Chinese restaurant Keikaen offers Cantonese dishes with fresh ingredients. The on-site restaurants features views of the garden, which is lit up at night.
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    • Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sendai Nishiguchi PREMIER
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sendai Nishiguchi PREMIER is situated in Sendai, less than 1 km from Sendai City Community Support Center and 18 km from Shiogama Shrine. Featuring a shared lounge, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, and luggage storage for guests. All guest rooms in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. All rooms in Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sendai Nishiguchi PREMIER are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a hairdryer. Sendai Station is 400 metres from the accommodation, while Sakuraoka Daijingu is 1.7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 15 km from Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sendai Nishiguchi PREMIER.
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    • The Westin Sendai
      Luxury
      Set on 28-36th floors of Sendai's tallest building, The Westin Sendai offers a luxurious accommodation just a 10-minute walk from JR Sendai Station. Guests can work out in the free-use gym or receive rejuvenating massages at the on-site salon. 2 restaurants and a bar are available on site. Wi-Fi is provided at an additional charge. Fitted with chic furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows, rooms come with modern facilities like satellite LCD TV. A fridge, an electric kettle and minibar are included. The large en suite bathroom has a bath tub, a shower booth and free toiletries. Sendai Westin Hotelfs 24-hour front desk can arrange luggage storage and laundry services. The Flow Spa offers a variety of treatments, sauna and a relaxation lounge. Souvenir items can be purchased at the gift shop. Stylish Restaurant Symphony serves sophisticated Western cuisine, while traditional Japanese dishes can be savoured at Ichimuan restaurant, which is located on the top floor. Horizon Lounge & Bar offers afternoon tea, light meals and evening drinks. The Westin Hotel is a 10-minute drive to Rakuten Kobo Stadium Miyagi (formerly Kleenex Stadium Miyagi), and a 20-minute drive to Aoba Castle Park. Sendai Airport is located a 50-minute drive from the property.
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    • Sotetsu Fresa Inn Sendai
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Sotetsu Fresa Inn Sendai is situated in Sendai, 18 km from Shiogama Shrine and 600 metres from Sendai Station. With a restaurant, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property is non-smoking and is located less than 1 km from Sendai City Community Support Center. At the hotel, the rooms are fitted with a desk and a flat-screen TV. At Sotetsu Fresa Inn Sendai every room is fitted with bed linen and towels. Speaking English and Japanese at the reception, staff are always on hand to help. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Sakuraoka Daijingu, Sendai International Centre and Zuihoden. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 15 km from Sotetsu Fresa Inn Sendai.
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    • Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East
      Luxury
      Offering a fitness centre free of charge, Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East has direct access to Sendai Station. Free WiFi is available in all rooms. All rooms have air conditioning, a desk, safety deposit box, TV, refrigerator and hairdryer. The private bathroom comes with towels, slippers and free toiletries. The 24-hour front desk offers free luggage storage and currency exchange services. Guests can relax in the shared lounge area. A drinks vending machine is available on site. The on-site restaurant serves a breakfast buffet using local ingredients, lunch and dinner. There are several restaurants, cafes and convenience stores within a 5-minute walk from the property. Sendai Museum is a 15-minute train ride from Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East. Sendai Castle and Zuihoden are a 20-minute drive from the property, while Sakunami Hot Spring is located an hour away by car.
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    • Hotel Keihan Sendai
      Mid-range
      Set in Sendai, 500 metres from Sendai City Community Support Center, Hotel Keihan Sendai offers air-conditioned accommodation and a restaurant. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. The property is non-smoking and is located 18 km from Shiogama Shrine. At the hotel, every room includes a desk and a flat-screen TV. At Hotel Keihan Sendai all rooms include bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Sakuraoka Daijingu, Sendai Station and Sendai International Centre. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 16 km from Hotel Keihan Sendai.
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    • Dormy Inn EXPRESS Sendai Seaside
      Mid-range
      Boasting spa facilities and free-use hot springs baths and sauna, Dormy Inn EXPRESS Sendai Seaside features free WiFi throughout the property. Free private parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Nakanosakae Station is a 5-minute drive or a 20-minute walk from Dormy Inn EXPRESS Sendai Seaside. At the economy hotel, the rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, fridge and electric kettle. Pyjamas are provided by the property. The bathroom features a high-tech toilet, hairdryer and toothbrushes. Trouser press is available on site. Staff at the 24-hour front desk can help guests with queries that they may have as well as offer luggage storage service for free. Coin-operated launderette can be found at the hotel as well as karaoke facilities are available on site for guest's entertainment. A buffet breakfast is served every morning at the on-site restaurant "Hatago". The property has a drinks vending machine on site. Sendai Station is a 40-minute train ride and walk away from the hotel. The hotel is set 15 minutes walk away from Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium, while Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port Shopping Mall is just a 5-minute walk away. Rakuten Kobo Stadium Miyagi is a 40-minute train ride away, while Sendai Stadium is a 75-minute train ride away. Sendai Airport is 25-minutes away by airport limousine bus from Dormy Inn EXPRESS Sendai Seaside.
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