Every city has its history. Sendai’s history is closely linked to Masamune Date, the feudal lord from Yonezawa who founded and nurtured the city for it to grow into its current shape.
If Masamune were still alive today, he would turn 450 this year. To celebrate this special occasion, the city is hosting a row of events, some in collaboration with local companies. One of these companies is Tabimusubi, who have ample experience in organizing walking tours through Sendai. With Masamune’s birthday in mind, the author proposed the following course to be followed along on DATE BIKES, the electric metal steeds that can be rented at multiple locations in the city. Considering the ‘walking’ aspect is a central element of every Tabimusubi tour, you might be able to imagine the author’s surprise when, against his better judgment, the proposal went through. We are now looking for participants.
Let us go through the course together.
Participants will meet up with the guide for the tour (yours, truly) by the entrance gate to the Aoba Castle at 1pm on July 28, a Friday. After taking in the beautiful view from the castle site, we will head down the mountain to pick up our electronic steeds for the day, the DATE Bikes.
Our first destination will be Zuihoden, the mausoleum for a number of members of the Date Clan. The tomb itself is usually not open to the public, but since this year marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of Date Masamune, visitors can get a peek inside to see how the people back then bid farewell of their feudal lord.
From there, we will make our way to Bansui Sodo, the "Humble Abode" of Bansui Doi. He is one of the more unlikely protagonists of Sendai, who dedicated his life to the bridging of gaps between cultures by learning an array of foreign languages and translating important literature, such as Homer's "Ilias" and "Odyssey" from Greek to Japanese. Next to its historic value, the "Humble Abode" is also a peaceful island with a pretty garden in the middle of bustling Sendai.
The next stop will be the rooftop of the prestigious department store "Fujisaki". This is where the Ebisu Shrine stands, a callback to the founding times of Fujisaki (formerly known as Ebisuya) and a place to wish for good luck during business or exams.
Finally, we will ride our bikes into the near future, which is to say to the architectural standout piece "Sendai mediatheque". The mediatheque is home to stages, exhibitions, a library and shared working spaces for Sendai citizens and visitors to unfold their creative potential and work towards a bright future of the city.
The mediatheque marks the end of the tour. We will return the bikes to a bike port and go our separate ways from there, but the memory we made together will hopefully stay with every participant for a little while.
If you are interested, check out the details on the Tabimusubi event site and send an email to the address noted there with the necessary information. Participation is 2000 yen, which includes the DATE BIKE rental and entrance to Zuihoden.
Let us hope for good weather so we can enjoy the cool breeze while pedaling through the city. In case it rains, an alternative route will take us to all the spots except for the Fujisaki Department Store (albeit in a different order).