Radiant History

Date Masamune (1567-1636) was the feudal lord of the Miyagi region who fought in many battles and became one of the most powerful rulers of Japan’s civil war (end of the 15th century to the end of the 16th century) at a time of fighting and confusion all throughout the nation. As a young boy, he lost sight in his right eye, thus giving him the nickname, “one-eyed dragon,” but that did not stop him from becoming one of the most revered rulers of his time. He turned Miyagi into one of the largest rice producers in Japan, and spread his magnificent, flashy fashion and culture. He also was ahead of his time, sending an envoy to Europe in order to start international trade. Date Masamune’s legacy and influence remains throughout the region, as Miyagi Prefecture continues to be the economic center for the Tohoku Region (northeastern region of Japan), with a population of 2.3 million. Miyagi is only a 90-minute ride on the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo, and Tohoku’s air gateway to the world from Sendai Airport.

Site of Sendai Castle

Date Masamune ruled the region from Sendai Castle, the castle he built on top of a cliff in 1601, overlooking present-day Sendai City. A statue of Date Masamune stands at the top of the hill, overlooking the city as he may have done in the early 17th century. While the actual castle burned down due to the bombings in 1945 and only a few of the surrounding stone walls remain, visitors can see what the castle looked like through exhibits, meet Date Masamune and his subordinates in person and take in the amazing view of the city and region he built.

Accessible by Sendai Loople Sightseeing Bus from Sendai Station

Shiroishi Castle

Shiroishi Castle, located in the heart of Shiroishi City in southern Miyagi Prefecture, was the residence for the Katakura Clan, a family of retainers serving the Date clan. The castle tower and gates were restored, allowing visitors to go inside and take a step back in history and imagine what life may have been like, while dressing up in samurai armor and traditional kimono garment. Spring brings the gorgeous scenery of cherry blossoms with the glorious castle in the backdrop. A famous and historical battle scene between Sanada clan and Kojuro clan is reenacted each year in October at the Onikojuro Festival, where samurais are on horseback or battling it out intensely on the ground.

Approximately 50-minute train ride on the JR Tohoku Line to Shiroishi Station from Sendai Station

Osaki Hachimangu Shrine

Osaki Hachimangu Shrine was built in 1607 under the orders of Date Masamune, who brought in the best craftsmen of his time to construct this magnificent shrine. The gorgeous carvings, brilliant colors, lacquer and metal fixtures entice visitors with their elegance.

Accessible by Sendai Loople Sightseeing Bus from Sendai Station

Zuiganji Temple

Zuiganji Temple was originally founded in 828 AD, and rebuilt in its current location in Matsushima Town under the orders of Date Masamune in 1609, recruiting the finest craftsmen in the nation on this project. Designated as a national treasure, the temple’s interior especially highlights Date Masamune’s sense of beauty and lavishness by the brilliant colored paintings and gold-colored sliding doors. The path leading up towards Zuiganji is lined with caves that were once used by priests for meditation. Visitors can take in the peaceful, serene atmosphere and immerse oneself in the history and culture at Zuiganji.

Approximately 40-minute ride on the JR Senseki Line to Matsushima-kaigan Station from Sendai Station

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