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Looking for an Unbelievable Cherry Blossom Experience? Come to the Muslim-friendly City of Sendai!

When it comes to cherry blossoms, no other country or culture shows affection to the flower quite like Japan. Since ancient times, the plant has played a huge role in shaping the Japanese culture and ultimately became an inseparable part of it. Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, was once an activity exclusive to the elites but has popularized over the years into an annual tradition, where people admire the beauty of the flower and celebrate the start of spring together. To this day, there are over 100 types of wild and domesticated varieties of cherry blossoms in Japan, and the excitement over Hanami is undiminished. The great public interest even gave rise to new words in recent years, such as the term “Cherry Blossom Front” referring to the advance of blooming cherry blossoms from south to north across Japan. Read on to find out all the cherry blossom hotspots in the Muslim-friendly city of Sendai!

When is the Sakura season for Sendai? If you missed it in Tokyo, Sendai has you covered!

Sendai is the largest city in the Tohoku region, and it only takes one and a half hours from Tokyo via the Tohoku Shinkansen. Because Sendai sits at a higher latitude, the city enters the cherry blossom season one to two weeks later than Tokyo. If the blooming season in Tokyo slipped past you, no need to be upset! You can easily head to Sendai and be right on time for the peak bloom there. Even better, Sendai is a Muslim-friendly city with a mosque, halal restaurants, and an airport equipped with a prayer room, making it a convenient destination highly recommended to Muslim travelers.

Top 5 Cherry Blossom Spots in the Sendai Suburbs

Sendai does not lack great spots for Sakura-hunting locals or tourists. During the season, many of these flower-viewing spots will be buzzing with events and lively crowds enjoying the start of the spring celebration. The following are some of the Sakura hotspots worth checking out in Sendai City and its suburbs.

1. Shiroishigawa-Tsutsumi Hitome Senbonzakura

From early to mid-April, 1,200 cherry blossom trees stretching 8km along the Shiroishi riverbank start blooming with the backdrop of the snow-capped Zao Mountains in the distance, forming an astonishingly beautiful scene. The Ogawara Sakura Festival is held there during this Hanami season. But be sure to check out the 30-minute-long river cruise “Ohanami Yakatabune” that allows you a better view of the cherry blossoms away from the crowd, as the boat travels slowly down the Niragamizeki Weir and back. After all the sightseeing, take a break and try out the local specialty Shiroishi Umen noodles at Ajimidokoro Hikarian in Shiroishi city. They are one of the few restaurants that serve a halal version of the famous local dish so don’t miss it!

Address: Machimukai, Oya, Ogawara Town
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Tohoku Main Line] About 35 mins→[Ogawara Station]→[Walk] About 3 mins

About Ajimidokoro Hikarian
Name: Ajimidokoro Hikarian
Address: 46 Motomachi, Shiroishi City, Miyagi 989-0275
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Tohoku Main Line] About 48 mins→[Shiroishi Station]→[Walk] About 8 mins
([Ogawara Station] →[JR Tohoku Main Line] About 13 mins→[Shiroishi Station])
Website: Ajimidokoro Hikarian

2. Funaokajōshi Park (Funaoka Castle Park)

Funaoka Castle Park is praised as one of the top 100 cherry blossom hotspots in Japan, along with the above-mentioned Shiroishigawa-Tsutsumi Hitome Senbonzakura. The track of the slope car that connects the foothill and the Heiwa Kannon Statue on top is surrounded by cherry blossom trees, which form a breathtaking flower tunnel during the peak season. Passing through it feels like entering a different dimension of nothing but pink cherry blossoms. The magic does not end there! Once you arrive at the top, you will be stunned by the view of pink-tinted Sendai with cherry blossoms running along the river and over 1,300 sakura trees in the park.

Address: Tateyama, Funaoka, Shibata, Shibata District, Miyagi 989-1606
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Tohoku Main Line] About 35 mins→[Funaoka Station]→[Walk] About 10 mins

3. Sendai Tsutsujigaoka Park [Sakura Festival]

If you do not feel like traveling to the suburbs, Tsutsujigaoka Park is the place to go for cherry blossoms and a fun Hanami experience. Starting from early April, a big cherry blossom festival is held in the park until early May with stalls and fun activities, to celebrate the blooming of 365 Shidare Zakura (weeping cherry blossoms) and Somei-Yoshino trees. After sunset, visitors can enjoy a different view of the beautiful flowers as they are lit up by spotlights and lanterns until 9 pm. Just one minute away from Sendai station nearby is Hotel Metropolitan Sendai, where you can find two halal-certified restaurants, the western style Restaurant SERENITY and the Japanese style HAYASE. Both serve full-course meals for lunch and dinner, with HAYASE serving breakfast as well, offering you a wide range of delicious food options.

Adress: 1 Chome-301-3, Gorin, Miyagino Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi 983-0842
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Senseki Line] About 2 mins→[Tsutsujigaoka Station]→[Walk] About 3 mins

1. About Japanese Restaurant HAYASE
Name: Japanese Restaurant HAYASE
Open: Breakfast 06:30-10:00, Lunch 11:00-14:00, Dinner 17:00-21:30 (Last order 21:00)
Closed: No regular holiday
Price: Lunch 4,000yen; Dinner 10,000yen
English/foreign language speaking staff
Sometimes available
Japanese Restaurant HAYASE

2. About Restaurant & Café Serenity
Name: Restaurant & Café Serenity
Open: Breakfast 06:30-10:00, Lunch 11:00-15:30 (Last order 14:30), Dinner 17:00-21:30 (Last order 21:00)
Closed: No regular holiday
Price: 3,600-6,000yen
English/foreign language speaking staff
Sometimes available
Restaurant & Café Serenity

4. Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine

The 1,200-year-old Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine is a popular spot in Shiogama, famous for its rare varieties of cherry blossom trees. There are over 300 trees of 40 different varieties in total, with 27 Shiogama Zakura (a type of Yaezakuara) being the most valuable as they are designated as Natural Monuments of the Nation by the government. With each flower having about 30 – 50 petals, the Shiogama Zakura blooms fuller than other varieties and usually peaks from late April to early May. As for nearby food options, you can visit Osanko Chaya for some Japanese Dango dumplings, or head to the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market and enjoy their Kaisen-don (seafood bowl). But be sure to bring your own non-alcoholic soy sauce if you need them.

Address: 1-1 Ichimoriyama, Shiogama City, Miyagi
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Senseki Line] About 30 mins→[Hon-Shiogama Station]→[Walk] About 15 mins

1. About Osanko Chaya
Name: Osanko Chaya
Address: 1-1 Ichimoriyama, Shiogama City, Miyagi
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Senseki Line] About 30 mins→[Hon-Shiogama Station]→[Walk] About 10 mins(2-min walk from Shiogama Shrine)

2. About Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market
Name: Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market
Address: 1 Chome-20-74 Shinhamacho, Shiogama City, Miyagi
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Senseki Line] About 30 mins→[Hon-Shiogama Station]→[JR Senseki Line] About 2 mins→[Higashi Shiogama Station]→[Walk] About 15 mins
Website: Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market

5. Nishi Park

Another cherry blossom hotspot with convenient access is the Nishi Park in downtown Sendai. The historical park is the go-to for many locals and is well-known for night cherry blossom viewing. Visitors can admire the beauty of over 200 lit-up cherry blossom trees made up of Somei-Yoshino, Edohigan, Yamazakura, and other varieties until 10 pm. It is also in a neighborhood home to several Muslim-friendly restaurants, including one that serves Bangladeshi family cuisine named Halal Hub Café, and the famed ramen restaurant of -DASHIRO- that serves noodles in a thick miso vegetable broth.

Address: 1-3 Sakuragaokakoen, Aoba Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi
Access: Sendai Station→[Subway] About 3 mins→[Omachi Nishi-koen]→[Walk]

1. About Halal Hub Cafe
Name: Halal Hub Cafe
Address: 2 Chome-12-11 Hachiman, Aoba Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi
Access: Sendai Station→[Sendai City Bus] About 20 mins→[Kashiwagi 2 Chome Bus Stop]→[Walk] About 1 min
Website: Halal Hub Cafe

2. About -DASHIRO-
Address: 1F, TK Building, 2 Chome-2-11, Ichibancho, Aoba Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi
Access: Sendai Station→[Sendai Municipal Subway Tozai Line] About 2 mins→[Walk] About 1 min
Website: -DASHIRO-

3. About Sendai Mosque
Address: 7-7-24, Hachiman, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
TEL: +81-2-226-2625
Close station/bus stop: Kuzuoka Station (17-min walk)
English/foreign language speaking staff: Always available
Access: Sendai Station→[JR Senzan Line] About 20 mins→ Kuzuoka Station→ [Walk] About 17 mins
Sendai Mosque

About Sendai International Airport
Address: Minamihara, Shimomasuda, Natri-shi, Miyagi
TEL: +81-22-383-4301
Open: 6:10-21:30
Closed: No regular holiday
Close station/bus stop: Sendai Airport (1-min walk)
The capacity of praying room: 1 person
English/foreign language speaking staff: Always available
Sendai International Airport

Recommended Itinerary for a 2-Day Cherry Blossom Viewing Trip to Sendai

Best Itinerary for Sakura-hunting

■Day 1
Cherry Blossom Viewing
JR Sendai Station→[JR Tohoku Main Line] About 30 mins→Funaoka Station→[Walk] About 10 mins→ Shiroishigawa-Tsutsumi Hitome Senbonzakura→[Walk] About 20 mins→ Funaoka Castle Park→[Walk] About 20 mins→ Funaoka Station

Funaoka Station→[JR Tohoku Main Line] About 20 mins→Shiroishi Station→[Walk] About 10 mins→ Shiroishi Umen Noodle (Lunch)

Dinner~ Night-time Cherry Blossom Viewing
Shiroishi Station→[JR Tohoku Main Line] About 48 mins→JR Sendai Station→[Walk] About 1 min→Dinner at the Halal restaurant in Hotel Metropolitan Sendai→Sendai Tsutsugaoka Park for night-time cherry blossom viewing

■Day 2
Cherry Blossom Viewing
JR Sendai Station→[Subway] About 3 mins→[Omachi Nishi-koen Station]→[Walk]→Nishi Park→ [Omachi Nishi-koen Station]→[Subway] About 3 mins→JR Sendai Station→[JR Senseki Line] About 30 mins→[Hon-Shiogama Station]→[Walk] About 15 mins→ Shiwahiko Shrine / Shiogama Shrine

So what do you think of the five cherry blossom spots introduced above? With each one of them offering a view with its own twist, don’t you want to visit them all? We actually have this itinerary for you, so you can make the most out of the precious cherry blossom season in Sendai when you visit.

The itinerary begins with going to Hiroshige Hitome Senbonzakura from Sendai in the morning. After enjoying the cherry blossoms on the river cruise, cross the Shibata Seno Bridge to get to Funaoka Castle Park. Be amazed by the cherry blossom tunnel as you travel to the top of the hill on the slope car. When done with sightseeing, recharge with a bowl of Shiroishi Umen noodles before heading back to Sendai station. Afterward, you can explore around the area or take it easy until dinner time at one of the halal-certified restaurants nearby, before ending the day with night cherry blossom viewing at Sendai Tsutsujigaoka Park.

If you are up for more cherry blossoms on Day 2, then you should go check out Nishi Park for Edohigan and Yamazakura, or Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine for the Natural Monument of Shiogama Zakura. Though smaller in numbers, these rare varieties of the flower are nothing less impressive than the sea of cherry blossoms from Day 1.

There are many great places for cherry blossom viewing outside of Tokyo and Kyoto. Sendai being one of them, is full of easily accessible options both in the city and around it. If you are looking for something less mainstream or more laid back for your cherry blossom trip to Japan, Sendai will exceed your expectations.