Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture) is one of the biggest cities in Japan and just 90 minutes from Tokyo. Yet it\u2019s never really been on people\u2019s must-visit list, even before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which hit the region hard. These days you have to look pretty closely to see any signs of the earthquake (there\u2019s a permanent exhibition inside Arai subway station), and there\u2019s so much more to the city than the recent disaster. Luckily, there\u2019s a cheap and cute way to navigate Sendai\u2019s main tourist draws. Sendai sightseeing with the Loople Many Japanese cities have dedicated tourist bus routes, but Sendai is a frontrunner for sheer adorability of vehicle and name: the Loople bus. It runs in a circle (obviously) starting and finishing at JR Sendai Station between 9am and 4pm, running every 15-20 minutes. A single trip costs , but if you\u2019re going to be hopping on and off it\u2019s much better value to get a day pass at . (You could get a combined Loople and subway pass for but the subway is more aimed at commuters.) Zuihoden First you should get off at Loople bus stop number 4 for Zuihoden, the mausoleum of Date Masamune, one of the Edo period\u2019s most powerful feudal lords. The complex contains a series of elaborately carved and painted structures that are totally worth paying the admission fee ( off to Loople pass holders). It\u2019s worth noting that these aren\u2019t the original buildings. Date Masamune died in 1636 but the site was bombed and burned down in 1945. Zuihoden was rebuilt in 1979 and repaired in 2001, which means the colors and gilding are still bright, fresh and stunning. The tombs of Masamune\u2019s son and grandson are smaller in stature but still impressive. Aoba Castle Back on the Loople bus, you can get a lovely view over Sendai from the hilltop remains of Sendai Castle (stop 6), Date Masamune\u2019s fortress. There\u2019s nothing left apart from a guard tower and a few walls, but it\u2019s a peaceful spot. If you want to visit the nearby Sendai City Museum (), it\u2019s a better idea to walk back down the hill from the castle to stop 5 instead of getting off in route order, unless you have thighs of steel. Tohoku University\u2019s Museum of Natural History Fans of fossils and rock formations can hop off the bus at stop 9 for Tohoku University\u2019s Museum of Natural History () or art lovers can stay on until stop 10 (or stop 13, as the bus loops back on itself) for the Miyagi Museum of Art (). The Museum focuses on Japanese art from the Meiji period to the present, with some Western art including works by Kandinsky and Toulouse-Lautrec. Osaki Hachimangu Shrine Date Masamune was responsible for what lies near stop 12: the Osaki Hachimangu Shrine. Like Zuihoden, it\u2019s been restored recently and the black lacquer-work and gilding are beautiful. The main hall is one of the oldest examples of a gongen-zukuri shrine building, and it\u2019s been a national treasure since 1952. Best of all, there\u2019s no admission fee to wander among the grounds and its various buildings. Evening plans and cow\u2019s tongue for dinner After the Loople bus stops running you can still get a free view of the city until 8pm from the AER Building\u2019s observation deck, next to Sendai Station. It\u2019ll become clear how surprisingly green the city is, with trees lining the boulevards and even inside its several shopping arcades. You\u2019re probably hungry after all that sightseeing. Beef tongue (gyutan) is a big deal in Sendai, and you can get a meal set for under at several places. There are three Rikyu restaurants within a couple of hundred meters of Sendai Station (and one in the station itself). Two more gyutan restaurants inside the station are Kisuke and Gyutan Date, and though Aji Tasuke\u2019s restaurant is a 20-minute walk from the station, this is the birthplace of Sendai gyutan so it\u2019s worth the journey. Getting to Sendai Sendai can be reached in 90 minutes on the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station for a fare of around . You can pay a few hundred yen less if you\u2019re prepared to take an unreserved seat on a bullet train that takes half an hour longer. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, the fare is covered. Traveling by non-Shinkansen rail takes approx. 7 hours and costs about . It\u2019s far cheaper to catch a highway bus, which takes about the same amount of time from as little as . Read our full Tokyo to Sendai transportation guide for all your options.