8 Wonderful Places to Visit in Matsushima, One of Japan’s Most Scenic Areas

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  • Matsushima is a group of islands located in the middle of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Surrounded by bodies of water, Matsushima is a great place for tourists looking to experience the natural beauty of Japan. In this article are some places that tourists can visit when in Matsushima!

    1. Matsushima Bay

    Matsushima Bay is considered as one of Japan’s most scenic views, along with Miyajima and Amanohashidate. The best way to explore Matsushima Bay is through a sightseeing cruise. Marubun Matsushima Kisen is one of the companies that offer various scenic sightseeing cruises in the area.

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    2. Shiogama Shrine

    Shiogama Shrine is a Shinto shrine located on top of a hill, overlooking Matsushima Bay. It is the head shrine of all Shiogama shrines in Japan. 15 of the shrine’s buildings, including the main shrine, and the stone torii gates have been designated as Important Cultural Properties.

    “Shiogama” means “salt furnace” and it refers to a local Shinto ritual where salt is made from seawater. It is believed that the shrine protects people from bad luck and protects those who work at sea.

    Shiogama Shrine Website
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    3. Kanrantei Tea House

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    “Kanrantei” means “a place to view ripples on water,” a name given to the teahouse because of the beautiful view of the ocean and the islands seen from the location. The Kanrantei Tea House was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Kyoto, before being given to Date Masamune. Date’s son was the one who then transferred it to its current location in Matsushima.

    Visitors have to pay a fee to enter the teahouse where they can enjoy matcha and view items from the Date family that are on display.

    Kanrantei Tea House Website
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    4. Date Masamune Historical Museum

    Date Masamune is one of Sendai’s greatest historical figures. This museum in Matsushima displays scenes from 25 different stages of Date Masamune’s life, with over 200 life-size wax figures.

    With a reservation, visitors can try on an armor called “Kuro-Urushi Gomai Dougusoku,” a warrior armor with five different parts painted with black lacquer. Visitors can also try painting their own kokeshi doll in the museum.

    Date Masamune Historical Museum Website
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    5. Kyohei Fujita Museum of Glass

    Kyohei Fujita was a Japanese glass artist known for his glass boxes that are decorated with intricate surface designs. The Kyohei Fujita Museum of Glass in Matsushima showcases his beautiful and iconic works.

    Kyohei Fujita Museum of Glass Website *Japanese only
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    6. Fukuurajima Island

    Fukuurajima is one of the islands in Matsushima Bay that is open to the public. The island is actually a prefectural park full of pine trees and other flowers and plants. To visit the island, visitors must cross a 252-meter-long red bridge, which costs 200 yen to cross.

    Fukuurajima Island Website
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    7. Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park

    Like the other tourist attractions in Matsushima, Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park also offers beautiful scenic views of Matsushima Bay. “Saigyo Modoshi” means “Saigyo turns back/returns.” It came from the story of Saigyo, a poet and priest, who, on his way to Matsushima, ran into a priest who conversed with him using Zen language. When Saigyo was defeated in the debate, he did not continue on to Matsushima and returned to where he came from.

    Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park Website
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    8. Matsushima Fish Market

    This fish market in Matsushima is bustling with activity all year round. Visitors can find an abundance of seafood, especially oysters, saltwater eels, and nori seaweed, since these are the foods Matsushima are famous for.

    Matsushima Fish Market Website
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    There are a lot of places that visitors can explore in Matsushima. With a rich history, memorable views, and delicious food, not one day will be boring here. I hope you can visit this place filled with natural beauty in the future!

    Matsushima Tourism Website
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    Would you like to stay in Matsushima? Check out all the hotels in the area here!