The Mediatheque is right on Jozenjidori street, a beautiful tree-lined boulevard with plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. Built in the 21st century, it is worth seeing for its architecture alone. A sleek exterior with clean lines juxtaposes nicely with gentle curves in the interior. Glass paneled walls give a great view of the city, particularly from the 7th floor, while elevators zip up columns that appear to be made of bamboo, steel, and glass.
The building's contents are ecclectic. The first floor holds a cafe, a small bookstore, and a design shop as well as an event space that, during our week in Sendai, was used for: a private dining event, a horticultural exhibition, a public-service interactive exhibit on tap water, and a philosophy roundtable. The second and third floors (which really means the second, third, and fourth floors) are a public library. Of particular note on the third floor is a growing set of materials relating to the 3.11 earthquake, but unless you read Japanese, it won't have much meaning for you. The fifth, sixth, and seventh floors have exhibitions; the seventh floor's exhibit was all about Japanese typography and printing (of the modern-printing-press rather than the woodblock kind).
The sixth floor exhibit, at least for Summer 2012, seems to merit its own paragraph. Although we didn't get a chance to see "JoJo," it was obviously THE place to be in Sendai at the beginning of August. Every single day, we saw lines stretching out the door of the Mediatheque and around the building in the growing heat, people standing literally for hours on end, in order to purchase timed tickets to see the exhibition. From what we could tell, the lines continued on the sixth floor. Whatever JoJo's deal is, he seems to have been well worth the wait.
One final note: although the Mediatheque is a library, it is not the most convenient place to connect wirelessly in the city. To get wireless access, you can log in as a guest for 20 minutes every 3 hours, or else you can give them your email address for a couple of hours of connectivity (or 6 months of connectivity if you let them send you periodic updates). Among the myriad cafes that line Jozenjidori, you can probably find a more useful place to update your Twitter feed or listen to Pandora.
The only reason the Mediatheque gets 4 and not 5 stars is that it doesn't have a whole lot of English language support material. Even so, it's well worth checking out for a little while as an attraction on can't-miss Jozenjidori if you're ever in Sendai.
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