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Visiting Matsushima - one of the 3 Most Scenic Spots in Japan

2nights,3days Departure from Tokyo

Sendai is the central city of the Tohoku region and many of its historical sites are related to Date Masamune (1567-1636), the warlord who constructed the town.

Not far from Sendai is beautiful Matsushima Bay with about 260 islands. Experience the glorious view that inspired poet Matsuo Basho to write "Oku no Hosomichi (Narrow road to the deep north)" in 1694.

  • 2nights,3days

Shiogama, Matsusima


Tokyo -- <Tohoku Shinkansen 120 mins.> -- Sendai -- <JR Sengoku Line 17 mins.> -- Hon-Shiogama -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Shiogama-jinja Shrine and Museum] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- Hon-Shiogama -- <10 mins. by walk -- Shiogama Port> -- [Marine Gate Shiogama][ Cruise to Matsushima Bay] -- Matsushima Sanbashi -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Kanrantei] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Zuigan-ji Temple] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Godai-do Temple]

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

Shiogama-jinja Shrine and Museum

Shiogama-jinja Shrine dates back to around the 10th century, and is the largest shrine in this area. There is a 200-step stairway, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. Surrounding the shrine are historic cherry trees designated as a national treasure.

Visit the museum where swords, armor and helmets are exhibited. You can also peruse the reference materials on salt making, which is the origin of the town's name,

Marine Gate Shiogama

Shiogama Port is one of Japan's major fishing ports. This marina complex within the port includes restaurants, seafood shops and souvenir shops as well as a ferry terminal and sightseeing boats. One of the most recommended attractions is the sushi made with the brand of rice from the major rice production area of Miyagi - "Sasanishiki", and plenty of fresh seafood.

Cruise to Matsushima Bay

There are about 260 islands set in a calm sea. Matsushima Bay is regarded as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan. We recommend booking your cruise beforehand.


Kanrantei is a teahouse originally built at the castle of warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) and later handed over to Date Masamune (the first lord of the Sendai Clan).

In one of the rooms of the teahouse, the sliding screens are covered in gold foil and the walls in stunning artwork. A small museum at the back of the teahouse displays suits of armor and works of fine art.

Zuigan-ji Temple

This temple, one of the most famous in the Tohoku region, was built by Date Masamune and is designated as a national treasure. After the first gate, a line of cedar trees continues for 200 m to the next gate. The hondo (main hall), measuring 39 m wide, 25.2 m long and 14 m high, is divided into 10 rooms. You will find yourself mesmerized by the exquisite artwork on the sliding screens.

Godai-do Temple

This small, charming temple is dedicated to five gods and is considered the symbol of Matsushima. Located on a small island in Matsushima Bay, people walk across a red bridge to pray here. It was first erected in 807 and the present reconstruction was built in 1604.


1st Day

Akiu Ootaki Falls,Akiu-onsen Hot Spring


Matsushima Kaigan -- <50 mins. by bus> -- [Akiu Bunka-no-Sato Center] -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Akiu Ootaki -- [Akiu Ootaki Falls] -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Akiu-onsen[Akiu-onsen Hot Spring]

Akiu Bunka-no-Sato Center

This is a tourist information center, commonly known as the "Akiu-Sato Center". Visitors are introduced to the Akiu Onsen (hot spring) through videos and a large map. Traditional handicraft and artwork are also on display.

Akiu Otaki Falls

One of the three great waterfalls of Japan. The majestic falls are 55 m high and 6 m wide, and the thunder of the water blocks out every other sound. You can view the falls from an observation deck, but we strongly recommend walking along the trail to get closer to the waterfall basin. There is a teahouse where you can stop for a rest.

Akiu-onsen Hot Spring

A historic hot spring that has been known since about the sixth century. This town of hot springs on the right bank of Natori River can be reached in thirty minutes from Sendai City and attracts many people who want to make single-day trips here.


2nd Day



Akiu Bunka-no-Sato Center -- <20 mins. by walk> -- [Rairai Gorge] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Akiu Kougei-no-Sato] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- Akiu Bunka-no-Sato Center -- <50 mins. by bus> -- Sendai Station -- <15 mins. by bus> -- Zuihoden-mae -- [Zuihoden Mausoleum] -- <5 mins. by bus> -- Hakubutsukan/Kokusai Center-mae -- [Sendai City Museum] -- <12 mins. by walk> -- [Sendai Joshi (Sendai Castle) ruins] -- <35 mins. by bus> -- Sendai Station -- <Tohoku Shinkansen120 mins.> -- Tokyo

[Discount Ticket]

Rairai Gorge

This is a walkway about 1 km long surrounded by huge, strangely shaped rocks that have individual names. The view of the deep canyon from the Nozoki-bashi Bridge is exceptional. The walk takes 20 minutes.

Akiu Kougei-no-Sato

You can visit nine workshops where traditional craftwork is made. For a fee, you can try your hand at painting and lacquering kokeshi dolls or tops, or fabric-dyeing. You must book 1 week in advance. We recommend inquiring at the Akiu-Sato Center or the Sendai Tourism & Convention Bureau.

Zuihoden Mausoleum

Surrounded by nature's rich bounty, this mausoleum houses the remains of Date Masamune. The original building was constructed in 1637 but was destroyed by fire in the Second World War. The current structure was rebuilt in 1979 and is beautifully decorated in the original Momoyama style preferred by warlords of the 16-17th centuries.

Sendai City Museum

The museum is filled with fascinating information on the history and culture of Sendai. There are portraits of Date Masamune and a display of the armor and weaponry that he used, in addition to beautiful examples of sliding screen paintings.

Sendai Joshi (Sendai Castle) ruins

These are the ruins of the Date Castle, also called Aoba-jo Castle. It is said that Spanish missionaries who visited at that time lavished praise on this castle as being the strongest and most excellent. At present, only the stone wall and tower have been restored.

Shopping on Chuo-dori Street

There is a series of three arcades, and when the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri Festival is held from 6 to 8 August, they are filled with colorful paper and bamboo ornaments more than 10 m tall. There is a great sense of competition to create the most spectacular display. About two million people from all over Japan come to enjoy this festival.


3rd Day

Related Information

JNTO Tourist Information

Official Regional websites