Thanks to the bullet train, the 220-mile drive north from Tokyo to Sendai can take only 100 minutes by rail. In Sendai, you can enjoy the ocean and mountains, famous beef and traditional sakura flowers in one of Japan's largest cities. Time your visit for outdoor beauty and sport or explore the city. North of Tokyo in Miyagi prefecture, Sendai is known for founder and daimyo Date Masamune who had an innovative role in Japanese history.

01Pick Your Season for Unique Sendai Experiences

sendai japan cityscape Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Timing your visit to Sendai to correspond to the Illumination festival, sakura blooms, fall colors or Tanabata festival makes your stay special. Both skiing and surfing are available nearby at the right time of year. Other essential Sendai experiences include savoring world-famous wagyu beef served in unique Japanese styles, experiencing elements of feudal Japanese history and spending days in the mountains or at the coast a short trip from your downtown hotel. Engaging Sendai contrasts with high-energy Tokyo and peaceful Osaka for a perfect three-city tour.