After our 90-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo, the group had a few hours to kill before the Seibu Lions/Rakuten Golden Eagles game. The best way to see the sights and learn a little about this feudal town: The Loople. The Loople Sendai bus runs from the train station and runs in a big circle through the town, stopping at significant attractions along the way. A day pass for 600 yen (slightly more than $7) allows tourists to hop on and off the bus at their leisure. Marc and I chose to explore the site of Sendai Castle and the Osaki Hachimangu Shrine.
|Starting point of the Loople at Sendai train station|
One thing that becomes evident on the Loople is the importance of Date Masamune to the city of Sendai. Date (pronounced dah-tay) Masamune was a samurai and daimyo (territorial lord) of the Tohoku region where Sendai is located. Practically everywhere you look there are stores named after him and cute characters, namely onigiri (rice balls) bearing his name and likeness. I suppose that's what happens when you're the founder of a city.
A statue of Date Masamune stands at the ruins of Sendai Castle, which he built in 1600.
|Posing with Date Masamune|
|Taking pictures of Date Masamune|
|Enjoying the Sendai Castle grounds|
|Cedar trees at the site of Sendai Castle|
|A view of Sendai from the castle ruins|
|Bodhisattva in the distance from Sendai Castle|
|On the grounds of Sendai Castle|
|Fortune tied to a tree at Sendai Castle|
Osaki Hachimangu Shrine is a beautifully detailed work of architecture built by order of Date Masamune.
|Lanterns at the entrance of Osaki Hachimangu Shrine|
|Torii at Osaki Hachimangu Shrine|
|Osaki Hachimangu Shrine|
|Changing the ropes at Osaki Hachimangu Shrine|
We laughed at the proclamation on the Loople's website that states the Loople is "for people who want to freely and rapidly tour city center sights while enjoying the atmosphere of the bus." Who actually enjoys the atmosphere of a bus? After touring the town in air conditioned comfort, we did.
|Inside the Loople|
|Paneled ceiling of the Loople|
|Comfy seats on the Loople|