Tohoku University is located in Sendai, a city in the north-eastern part of Japan. Sendai is a calm and quiet city, very different from Tokyo and Osaka. It is the largest city of Tohoku (Northeast) region and the second largest city north of Tokyo. It earned the name, “city of trees,” because of the abundance of greenery. The dense green cover of Sendai is the reason why I love this place so much.
Tohoku University campus is spread across four locations in Sendai- Katahira, Kawauchi, Aobayama, and Seiryo. Katahira houses the faculty of science, Kawauchi houses the humanities and social sciences, Aobayama houses the faculties of engineering, agriculture, and pharmaceutical sciences, and Seiryo houses the faculty of medicine and dentistry. All these campuses give out very different vibes.
Katahira campus is located at the centre of the city, very close to Sendai station. The administrative offices are located on this campus. There are some of the best research institutes of the world here. Institute of Fluid Sciences (IFS), Advanced Institute of Materials Research (WPI-AIMR) are the institutes of global fame. Katahira campus has a lot of Sakura trees. During spring, this campus offers a picturesque landscape for cherry blossom viewing, “Hanami” (花見) parties.
Sakura trees in Katahira, photo by Anubrata Nath
Kawauchi campus is located near the river Hirosegawa. This is the place where every undergraduate starts his/her university life at Tohoku. The first two years of Undergraduate classes are held in this campus. The main library of Tohoku University is also located in this campus. Kawauchi campus is the home to most of the university clubs and circles. The annual school festival, Gakusai, is held in Kawauchi campus. This is the biggest university festival in the Tohoku region. Lots of visitors come to Kawauchi campus during that time to become a part of the celebrations.
A winter morning at Kawauchi, Photo by Anubrata Nath
Aobayama campus is situated on a mountain named “Aobayama” (青葉山). This the largest campus amongst all at Tohoku University. Being an engineering student, I spend most of my time at this campus. Naturally, I know this campus a little bit more than others. Aobayama flaunts its real beauty during Fall, when all the trees greet the students with their colourful leaves.
Summer meets autumn at Aobayama. Photo by Clint John Cortes Otic
The last but not the least, Seiryo campus. Seiryo campus houses the Tohoku University Hospital, which is famous in the region.
Tohoku University dorms are located in four different locations- Katahira, Nagamachi, Sanjo, and Aobayama. University House, as the dorms are called, provide the students housing facilities for a maximum of two years. The dorms are very convenient and the staff there are really helpful. University House Sanjo are known to have a lot of parties – these parties are very energetic and make the university life fun and memorable. University House Aobayama has newly opened very recently. This is the best dorm for those who have classes in Aobayama. University House Katahira is the most convenient for those who would like to have easy access to the city, as it is located right next to the city centre.
After two years of your time in the dorms, students have to move out to apartments. The university provides full support in looking for apartments and completing the paper works as well as the moving procedures.
Tohoku University has five major libraries- the Main Library, the Engineering Library, the Medical Library, Kita Aobayama Library, and the Agriculture Library. It is easy to lose oneself in the vast ocean of knowledge inside these libraries. The Main Library, situated at Kawauchi campus, is the biggest of them all, housing around 2.7 million books. The underground stacks of the main library is a treasure full of rare Japanese and Chinese books and literary works. The reading areas in all the libraries are very comfortable for enjoying your favourite books or for last minute revisions before exams. You can also go there to enjoy a catnap if you are too tired after your classes.
Each campus has at least three to four cafeterias. The ramen and rice-bowls are known to be very popular amongst all students. It is enjoyable to chat with your classmates and friends over lunch or dinner. The cafeteria food, full of diverse food options with affordable prices are also very healthy and nutritious, with a variety of salad options offered too. Kawauchi campus even has a bakery with delicious cakes and pastries including the recommended melon flavoured bread “melon pan” (メロンパン).
All the campuses are well connected and commuting between campuses is a piece of cake. Aobayama and Kawauchi have subway stations, which makes life very easy. There are shuttle buses every hour from Aobayama to Seiryo and Katahira. During the winter, the shuttle buses and the subway make the commute comfortable even when the roads are covered in snow.
The best feature about the Tohoku University campus life is that there are English signboards and maps everywhere. Being a foreigner in Japan, it convenient for navigation, making life more comfortable.
Tohoku University has adopted internationalisation to increase the diversity of students and to assemble a conglomerate of bright minds from around the globe. The life in Tohoku, is a perfect balance between fun and studies. There are many club activities, known as “circles” to enjoy yourself and make friends, as well as the greatly equipped laboratories and libraries to increase your bound of knowledge.