Jozenji-dori Street, which leads to the center of Sendai City, is lined with Japanese zelkova trees. It is these trees that have become the symbol of Sendai as the "City of Trees" and it is this street that acts as the stage for the Jozenji Street Jazz Festival in Sendai.
First started by a group of volunteers in 1991, the festival uses jazz's freedom of spirit and expression as its themes, and now features over 700 domestic and international acts, including both professional and amateur musicians. The festival even features performances of other musical genres, filling the center of Sendai with music.
Jozenji Street Jazz Festival in Sendai
Festival dates: The second Saturday & Sunday in September every year.
For 2009, Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 September.
This festival has its roots in Kochi Prefecture's Yosakoi Festival, whose popularity caused it to spread all over Japan, and features teams of dancers in matching costumes performing in the street. Nowadays, Sendai's Michinoku Yosakoi festival gathers participants from not only the Tohoku region but from all over Japan and has become one of Sendai's main events.
The basic "rules" of the Michinoku Yosakoi Festival are that participants dance to background music featuring a line from a local folksong, with a clapper-type percussion instrument called a naruko in hand. The participants, however, are completely free to choose the types of costumes and dances they use, meaning that the music can vary from folksong to heavy rock. Spectators are overwhelmed by the loud music and energetic and beautiful dance routines that engulf the whole city in a wild enthusiasm.
Michinoku Yosakoi Festival
Festival dates： Early October, every year.
For 2009, Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 October.
One of the most famous waterfalls in Japan, the roaring Akiu Otaki Falls of the River Natori break suddenly through the surrounding forest. A promenade leads to the bottom of the 55-meter-high, 6-meter-wide falls, where you can look up and admire the grandeur of this natural phenomenon. The viewing platform behind the Fudoson temple building is also a great place from which to take in the falls.
The best time to see the autumn colors is mid- to late October. Access: Buses leave from outside the West Exit of Sendai Station. Take the Miyagi Transport Co., Ltd. bus headed for Akiu Onsen/Akiu Otaki Waterfalls (85 minutes). Get off at the Akiu Otaki bus stop. The falls are 7 minutes' walk away.
Photos: (C) City of Sendai