Sendai (仙台市 Sendai-shi) is the capital city of both the Tohoku Province and the old Imperial Miyagi Prefecture, and the largest city in the Tōhoku region, and the second largest city north of Tokyo. In 2010, the city had a population of just over one million people. The city was founded in 1600 by the daimyo Date Masamune, and is nicknamed the City of Trees (杜の都 Mori no Miyako); there are about 60 zelkova trees on Jōzenji Street (定禅寺通 Jōzenji dōri) and Aoba Street (青葉通 Aoba dōri).
In the summer, the Sendai Tanabata Festival, the largest Tanabata festival in Japan, is held. In winter, the trees are decorated with thousands of lights for the Pageant of Starlight (光のページェント), lasting through most of December.
On March 11th, 2011, coastal areas of the city suffered catastrophic damage from a magnitude 9.0 offshore earthquake which triggered a destructive tsunami.
Sendai is located at lat. 38°16'05" north, long. 140°52'11" east. The city's area is 788.09 km², and stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Ōu Mountains, which are the east and west borders of Miyagi Prefecture. As a result, the city's geography is quite diverse. Eastern Sendai is a plains area, the center of the city is hilly, and western areas are mountainous. The highest point in the city is Mt. Funagata which stands 4,921 feet (1,500 meters) above sea level.
The Hirose River (広瀬川 Hirose-gawa) flows 28 miles (45.06 kilometers) through Sendai. The river is well known as a symbol of Sendai, especially because it appears in the lyrics of Aoba-jō Koi-uta (青葉城恋唄; literally, The Aoba Castle Love Song), a popular song sung by Muneyuki Satō. Sendai Castle was built close to the river to use the river as a natural moat. The river frequently flooded until the 1950s, but dams and levees constructed in the 1960s and 1970s have made such floods rare. The river is now known for its exceptionally clean water and natural beauty, and was selected by East Japan's Environment Agency as one of Japan's 100 Great Waters.
Most mountains in Sendai are dormant volcanoes, much older than the more famous Zaō and Naruko volcanoes in nearby municipalities. However, many hot springs can be found in the city, indicating hydrothermal activity. The Miyagi Oki earthquake occurs offshore Sendai once every 25 to 40 years. The 7.2 magnitude 2005 Miyagi earthquake, which occurred on August 16th, 2005 had an epicenter close to the Miyagi Oki earthquake area. However, the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion concluded that it was not the Miyagi Oki earthquake, saying "...the recent event is not thought to be this earthquake. This is because the magnitude of the earthquake was small, and the source area, which was estimated from the aftershock distribution and seismic waves, did not cover the whole expected source region. Although, the recent event ruptured a part of the focal region of the expected earthquake." In 2011, the 9.0 magnitude 2011 Tōhoku earthquake occurred offshore Sendai, resulting in a devastating tsunami.
Sendai has a moderate, humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa), climate, with neither the very hot summers of Tokyo nor the snowbound winters of Sapporo. Winters are cool and relatively dry, with January temperatures averaging 1.5 °C (34.7 °F). Summers are very warm and much of the year's precipitation is delivered at this time, with an August average of 24.1 °C (75.4 °F). The city is rarely hit by typhoons, and experiences only 6 days with more than 10 centimeters (4 in) of rainfall on average. Sendai's rainy season usually begins in late June to early July, which is later than in most cities in Japan. During this season, cold winds from the Okhotsk air mass, called "Yamase", blow in and depress daytime highs.
Extremes range from −11.7 to +36.8 °C (11 to 98 °F).