If you have the time to enjoy a great view of Sendai, than look no further than the AER Building.
At over 140 meters in height, it was the tallest building in Sendai, and the entire Tohoku Region until 2008 when the 37 floor Sendai City Trust Tower took the title. It can easily be found near Sendai Station just behind the Parco Building, and, while it may not be the number one place to visit, it is free and it gives travelers a chance to take a break from walking about the city.
The building itself was constructed from 1993 to 1998 and is exactly 145.5m in height. It was built during a major redevelopment of Sendai Station’s west exit during the 90’s. There are 31 floors total that house retail stores, government offices and commercial business offices. You can find a general information desk on the first floor desk if you speak Japanese. Here is a quick breakdown of interesting places to visit on a trip inside:
1st Floor, Maruzan Bookstore
If you are an avid book lover and are dying for something to read, this is the place to come. In addition to having a plethora of manga and books in Japanese, Maruzan also has a fully stocked foreign language section in the rear of the store. The English section is well stocked with many of the most popular novels although it may not always have new arrivals. There is also a small café if you want some coffee while you read, but I recommend checking out the second level for that.
2nd Floor, Starbucks and retail stores
Starbucks can easily be found here and like all branches in Sendai it is a popular haven for college students and shopaholics. You may have to fight for a seat, but it is a fairly comfortable place to enjoy that book you just bought downstairs. In addition, you will find a variety of clothing, jewelry and shoe outlets representing many high class brands such as Birkenstocks and more. Unless you have some serious cash to burn or just love clothes, I wouldn’t recommend shopping here.
3rd Floor, The Tohoku Pokemon Center
Newly opened in 2012, this is the only Pokemon Center in all of Tohoku, so anyone wanting to get their fix of Pikachu and his pals will find themselves right at home. The store borders a UNIQLO clothing outlet, so it is not unusual to see parents shopping as their kids go crazy in this wonderland of tiny monsters. A variety of toys, clothing, videogames and other merchandise are available, making it a perfect place to buy souvenirs for any happy kids you know back home.
4th Floor, Office Vendor Ship
Unless you really are in need of any office or school supplies, there isn’t much to see here. However, they do have some interesting, but pricey souvenirs for anybody interested.
31st Floor, The Panorama Terrace
To get access to the best view in Sendai, take the elevator from the first floor lobby to the 20th floor. Once there, you will need to exit and change elevators. Walk past the Sendai Blood Bank (where you can donate blood if you’re interested) and make a left. It is then a simple and quick ride to the 31st floor. There are two panoramas on both the east and west sides of the wing. The wooden benches and wide windows will give you a perfect view of the city, making it a popular place for couples to visit on a date.
While not the most exciting place in Sendai, the AER Building is a quick and easy stop for starting out a journey or ending one. For more information on the building, take a look at the link below.