Matsushima has been written about in waka (Japanese poetry) since ancient times. It is known for its 260 small pine-covered islands arising from the pale blue sea. This is the land which initially left famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho at a loss for words. The beauty of the bay changes with the seasons making for a rewarding visit at any time of year.
From land, Matsushima Bay can be appreciated from the Shitaikan (Four Panoramic Views), and Saigyo Modoshi No Matsu Park, which offer visitors very different perspectives on the bay. They highlight the mystery, beauty and dynamism of the bay and its islands. You can also see the islands by boat, or walk over a red bridge and explore Oshima Island or Fukuurajima Island on foot! There are many ways to have a soothing and inspiring time in Matsushima.
The full moon was also very important to Date Masamune, who positioned Zuiganji Temple and Kanrantei Tea House to have perfect views of the harvest moon in fall. Come enjoy the serenity of Matsushima’s sacred landscape by moonlight. In this shimmering white world the islands and pine trees exist only as shadows drawn against the sky and water. The long, red Fukuurabashi Bridge and Godaido Temple are also illuminated at night. To appreciate the rich history of Matsushima, visit one of many historical and cultural sites from the time of the legendary samurai ruler Date Masamune. These include Zuiganji, Godaido, Entsuin and Tenrinin Temples as well as Kanrantei Tea House. In addition to those historical sites, try the Date Masamune Historical Museum and Kyohei Fujita Museum of Glass for a rewarding experience.
Matsushima is also a culinary destination. The bay is famous for rich and flavorful oysters (winter), anago eel (summer) and high-quality nori seaweed. Try these local specialties at restaurants or the Sakana Ichiba fish market. There are also oyster shacks open for all you can eat oysters, and oyster lunch cruises during winter. Try your hand at grilling a sasakamaboko white fish loaf in the shape of a bamboo leaf at many stores in the kaigan waterfront area.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the tremendous support and encouragement you’ve been giving us.
On March 11, 2011, we experienced the most disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan’s modern history. The Tohoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, and crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, caused enormous damage in the municipalities located along coastal areas of northeastern Japan. Although Matsushima suffered from the aftermath of the disaster, tsunami damage was relatively minimal thanks to the islands surrounding and shielding the bay.Matsushima is not near the radiation contamination area and we have not measured any concerning levels of radiation.
Today in Matsushima, we are happy to report that things have almost returned to normal. Tourists have returned, all of whom have noted that they feel perfectly safe and comfortable in Matsushima. Those visitors who happened to be here during the tsunami were able to safely return home. If you are thinking of planning a trip to lovely Matsushima, please rest assured that you have nothing to fear and we take disaster prevention very seriously.
The majority of the famous attractions are operated as they were before, and an unchanged panoramic view continues to attract many visitors. Please do visit Miyagi and Matsushima as we believe that your visit will be rewarding and boost our recovery. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Thank you very much.
Hiyoshi Sanno Jinja Shrine festival (Third Sunday in April)
Shiogama Minato Festival (Third Monday in July)
The Memorial Ceremony of Hiyokuzuka (August 6)
Matsushima Ryuutoue Umi-no-Bon(Bon Festival of the Sea) (August 15)
Zuiganji Osegakie(Procession of Buddhist Priests and Ceremony) (August 16)
Full Moon Festival at Kanrantei (Evening hours and performance the weekend closest to the Harvest Moon)
Fall Illumination of Matsushima (Late October - Late November)
Isojima Island Oyster Festival (November 23)
Matsushima Oyster Festival (first Sunday in February)
**(Schedule is subject to change without notice.)
1. Senseki Line to Matsushimakaigan Station The simplest way to get to the Matsushima Kaigan (waterfront) area is by taking the JR Senseki Line. These trains leave from Platform 10 from Sendai Station. They take about 40 min. and cost 410 yen. Choose a train with a last stop at Ishinomaki or Takagimachi Station. If you get on a train bound for a station in Shiogama or Tagajo you will need to change trains to one that continues to Matsushimakaigan Station.
2. Tohoku Line to Matsushima Station Alternatively you can take the JR Tohoku Line to Matsushima Station. It takes 25 minutes and costs 410 yen. Matsushima Station is about a 15-20 minute walk to the Kaigan waterfront area down Route 45. If the train leaves from track 5 be careful as there are often two trains- one which goes through Matsushima and the other south towards Fukushima, so be sure to ask which train goes to Matsushima Station if you're not sure!
3. Senseki-Tohoku Line There is an express train called the Senseki-Tohoku which makes a stop at Takagimachi Station (in Matsushima) in as little as 25 minutes from Sendai. From there you can walk to the Kaigan area (20 minutes) or often wait for the next regular Senseki Line train to backtrack one stop to Matsushima Kaigan Station. Train fare is the same as the regular Senseki Line.
All Matsushima Stations accept prepaid IC cards (such as Suica) in addition to tickets.
Sendai-Matsushima Day Pass
Doing a lot of travel in the Sendai area? Consider getting a day pass which covers local trains, Sendai City buses and subways and the Loople sightseeing bus.
The nearest highway exits for Matsushima are Rifu Naka IC and Matsushima Kaigan IC. Matsushima has paid parking lots throughout the waterfront area as well as a town-operated free parking lot 5 minutes from Matsushimakaigan Station. https://goo.gl/maps/z4xi2qD6zKx/