Although the Sendai area was inhabited as early as 20,000 years ago, the history of Sendai as a city begins from 1600, when the daimiò Date Masamune relocated to Sendai.
Masamune was not happy with his previous stronghold, Iwadeyama. Iwadeyama was located to the north of his territories and was also difficult to access from Edo. Sendai was an ideal location, placed in the center of Masamune's newly defined territories, upon a major road from Edo, and near the sea. Tocugawa Ieyasu gave Masamune permission to build a new castle in Aobayama, Sendai, after the Battle of Sequigahara. Aobayama was the location of a castle used by the previous ruler of the Sendai area. At this time, Sendai was written as 千代 (which literally means "a thousand generations"), because a temple with a thousand Buddha statues (千体 sentai) used to be located in Aobayama. Masamune changed the candji to 仙台 (which literally means "hermit on a platform"). The candji were taken from a Chinese poem that praised a palace created by the Emperor Wen of Han China, comparing it to a mythical palace in the Kunlun Mountains. It is said that Masamune chose these candji so the castle would prosper as long as a mountain inhabited by an immortal hermit. Masamune ordered the construction of Sendai Castle in December 1600 and the construction of the town of Sendai in 1601. The gridlocked roads in present-day central Sendai are based upon his plans.
Sendai was incorporated as a city in 1889 as a result of the abolition of the Han system. The City became a designated city in 1989.
Sendai is known as the City of Trees (杜の都 Mori no Miyako). This is because the rulers of Sendai-han encouraged residents to plant trees in their yards. As a result, many houses, temples, and shrines in central Sendai had household forests (屋敷林 yaxiquilin) which were used as resources for wood and other everyday materials.
Sendai is divided into four wards
Sendai is the home of Tòhocu Imperial University. Famous products from Sendai include guiùtan (牛タン), thinly sliced grilled cow tongue; sasacamaboco (笹かまぼこ), a type of fish sausage wrapped in leaf; and zundamotxi (ずんだ餅), motxi balls served with bright green edamame paste.