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Top 5 Popular, Historical Spots in Sendai Related to Date Masamune

Date Masamune was a figure from the Warring State Period, and has appeared as a popular character in games and animations. Sendai, which was governed by Date, is home to sightseeing spots rich with samurai culture. This article introduces 5 of these sightseeing or historical places related to Date Masamune!

2017.11.30

1. Sendai Castle Site

Date Masamune (1567-1636) was a military commander who opened Sendai to build his base as a feudal lord. Date left behind a number of military exploits, and had extreme influence in the Tohoku region. Since he lost his right eye at a young age, he was given the title of "dokuganryu", which means one-eyed dragon.

Sendai Castle, which was built by Masamune, holds the title as the country's biggest castle, and measures 245m from the east and west and 267m from the north and south. The natural fortress that protects the east and south is known as one of Japan's strongest. Not much of the castle is left and the remains are now just part of the park, but you may view the colossal stone walls, which hold a beautiful crook, as well as the reconstructed side oars. The equestrian statue of Date Masamune himself within the park has been designated as a symbol of Sendai City.



2. Sendai City Museum

This is a historical museum located among the remains of Sendai Castle in Mt. Aobayama Park. The museum holds about 90,000 valuable, historical materials, with a focus on the gifts presented by the Date clan. Materials relating to Japanese envoys in the Keicho era, who were dispatched to Spain and Rome by Masamune, have been designated as national treasures. As 2017 marks the supposed 450th anniversary of Masamune’s birth, the museum has displayed a huge number of Masamume-related documents. Items such as his trademark armor, which is an Important Cultural Property of Japan, are must-sees. His golden, crescent-shaped header board is very cool and impressive!

Viewing Fee:
(Adults, University Students) 460 JPY
(High School Students) 230 JPY
(Elementary, Junior High School Students) 110 JPY


3. Osaki Hachimangu Shrine

Osaki Hachimangu Shrine is home to a deity who wards off evil and calamities, while ensuring victory and easy childbirth. The shrine was originally located at another area in Miyagi Prefecture, but was later moved to its current location by Masamune upon the founding of Sendai. The shrine has since then served as Sendai’s shrine, and has been venerated by locals. The shrine - which took three years for Masamune to build from the year 1604 – serves as the highlight of the area. It was built by the best craftsmen at the time, and is known for its amazing exterior thanks to the colorful sculptures found both in and out of the shrine. The shrine is designated as a national treasure that shows the culture of the time.


3. Osaki Hachimangu Shrine

4. Zuihoden

This mausoleum was built by Masamune in the year 1637. The pillars, which have leontiasis engraved into them, as well as the roof which has a dragon head, are some of the features that make up this richly colored building. Though it was burnt in a fire, it was rebuilt in 1979. The reconstructed, splendid building will let visitors view what it was like back in the day. The mausoleums of the 2nd and 3rd generations of Sendai’s feudal lords – "Kansen-den" and "Zeno-den" – are also beautiful and worth seeing. Furthermore, you can find an archive center, where you may find exhumed burial items.

Price:
(Adults, University Students) 550 JPY
(High School Students) 400 JPY
(Elementary, Junior High School Students) 200 JPY


5. Aoba Shrine

Aoba Shrine was built by volunteers in 1874 to venerate Masamune. The shrine is known for the fact that the one of the descendants of Masamune's senior statesmen is its chief priest. The local Shinto deity here is known to guard over all parts of Sendai City. Every year in May, the locals hold the Aoba Festival, where they march all over the city while carrying a portable shrine. The shrine treasure placed in the hall of worship, "toki no taiko", is popular. It is a drum that was once used within the Sendai Castle area to tell the time and to give signals. Even today, the drum is beat every morning at 6:00 AM (7:00 AM in the winter). It resonates a sound that has not changed since the olden times throughout the city of Sendai.

You can find many other places in Sendai to visit that are connected to Masamune, the feudal lord. Why not experience samurai culture by following his footsteps?

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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Writer: nakamura

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