Matsushima Journey Information • Simply One Cookbook


Uncover the sweetness and appeal of Matsushima, a picturesque coastal city in Tohoku Japan. From beautiful views to its wealthy historical past, this journey information will show you how to plan your excellent journey to Matsushima.

a red bridge leading to an island

Matsushima is a small coastal city within the Tohoku area, simply 40 minutes from Sendai Metropolis. The bay space is roofed by 260 pine-covered islands that create one of many “Three Views of Japan” (the opposite two are Amano-Hashidate in Kyoto and Miyajima in Hiroshima). The city has lengthy been celebrated as a spot of romance, spirituality, and class, attracting many monks, rulers, and artists.

Even the haiku grasp, Matsuo Basho, was left puzzled. When he first visited Matsushima. Its scenic magnificence and unbelievable meals now appeal to individuals from all around the world, making it a must-visit in case you are within the Tohoku area.

View overlooking Matsushima Bay

I’ll be taking a cruise by the majestic islands whereas having fun with some native delicacies, from recent oysters to the most effective gentle lotions I’ve had in Japan. I visited in early February, so whereas some spots had been closed, there’s nonetheless a lot to do. Prepared, let’s get into the motion!

The best way to get to Matsushima

Matsushima is well accessible by each automobile and prepare. From Sendai Station, it takes roughly 35 minutes by automobile utilizing the expressways, with tolls costing 440 yen a method.

By prepare, board the Tohoku Line to on to Matsushima Station, costing 420 yen a method and taking roughly 25 minutes. Alternatively, take the JR Senseki Line to Matsushima Kaigan Station, which prices 420 yen a method and takes roughly 40 minutes (costs in 2024). This station is simply on the entrance of the city, so it’s a nice place to begin to discover the town, whereas Matsushima Station is extra centrally situated.

Matsushima Bay

Upon arriving at Matsushima, you’ll be greeted by the open bay, the place you may view the mysterious islands, Godaido Temple, and Fukuurabashi Bridge resulting in Fukuurajima.

Nevertheless, one of the simplest ways to discover the world is to go on a sightseeing cruise. There are a number of programs to select from, with tickets obtainable to buy on the pier on the day. Adults price 1,500 yen, kids (aged 6-12) price 750 yen, and infants (below 6 years outdated) can board without cost (costs in 2024). The cruise lasts roughly 50 minutes, overlaying 17 km whereas touring by the mysterious pine-clad islets.

On the boat, there are three ranges. The underside two have indoor seating and outside viewing spots, whereas the highest ground is outside. Inside, many individuals had been consuming their bento lunch whereas having fun with the attractive surroundings!

In the course of the cruise, an area lady described the world and all of the islands and the way they had been naturally shaped by the crashing waves.

She additionally described how Matsushima and her private life had been affected by the 2011 Tohoku tsunami. Fortunately, all of the islands in entrance of Tsushima helped shield the city, minimalizing any extreme harm.

Matsushima islands

There are such a lot of photograph alternatives all through the cruise. The primary was Nioh-jima, which resembles a Nio guardian smoking a cigar!

Matsushima islands

The second was Kanejima, an island with 4 holes by it. When you take the photograph on the proper time, you may see instantly by all of the holes on the identical time. I solely managed three!

You can too see the oyster cages and fishing spots that supply a few of Japan’s best seafood.

Simply earlier than the cruise ended, the announcer went across the boat providing native Matsuhima items. I picked up some oyster takikomi gohan (Japanese combined rice)!

Native Matsushima Delicacies

Shunkai Restaurant – Oysters and Contemporary Seafood

If there’s one factor you must go to Matsushima for, except for the beautiful surroundings, it’s the seafood, extra particularly, the oysters.

Oyster farming in Matushima began within the 1600s when numerous oysters had been found alongside the cove of Nonojima Island. Matsushima is situated alongside the Sanriku Coast, one of many prime areas for fishing. Within the Sanriku Sea, Oyashio and Kuroshio currents meet, creating plentiful provides of plankton that appeal to migratory fish all 12 months spherical. The calm waters are additionally ultimate circumstances for wakame and kombu farming, in addition to scallops and oysters. Miyagi Prefecture is the second largest oyster producer (Hiroshima is first), with Matsushima being one of many major contributors.

Oyster curry bread

Now, yow will discover oysters and oyster-flavored meals and souvenirs round Matsushima.

Oyster restaurant exterior

I headed to Shunkai to style a few of the famed oysters. I made a decision on the oyster lunch set, cooked in several methods: uncooked, pickled, and deep-fried for 2300 yen. It got here with soup, rice, and tsukemono (Japanese pickles).

The oysters had been creamy, candy, and had a touch of the ocean. As they had been cooked in three alternative ways, you by no means get bored with consuming them!

Yukitakeya – Rice Crackers and Mushy Cream

Alongside the road reverse Matsushima Bay, yow will discover many memento retailers providing native Matsushima meals and items. Right here, they promote all types of conventional Japanese-style items, from chopstick holders to massive rice crackers!

If you first stroll in, you’ll discover the counter full of big spherical rice crackers dipped of their particular sauce to order.

Round rice cracker

It was candy, salty, sticky, and crispy all on the identical time. It was fairly tough to complete on my own!

Red bean soft cream

However the gentle cream actually impressed me. When you have learn a few of my different journey posts, you’ll know I like to eat gentle cream. The one at Yukitakeys was crimson bean-flavored. It was so creamy and wealthy, with the right quantity of sweetness and undertones of crimson bean. It was by far the most effective gentle lotions I’ve ever had in Japan.

Matsukama Sohonten – Sasa Kamaboko

One in all Miyagi Prefecture’s native meals is sasa kamaboko (笹かまぼこ), or bamboo leaf fish cake. In the course of the early Meiji Period (1868-1912), there was an extra provide of flounder. Nevertheless, on account of inadequate storage amenities and transportation, a lot of them had been thrown away. To fight the waste, individuals began to grind the flounder meat right into a fish cake, generally known as sasa kamaboko.

At Matsukama Sohonten, you may grill your individual sasa kamaboko and luxuriate in its barely candy and never overpoweringly fishy taste. It’s an amazing snack to maintain you going in your Matsushima adventures!

Historic Significance

Matsushima isn’t just all meals and scenic views. It additionally has historic significance in Japan. Date Masamune, one of the highly effective feudal lords in Japan’s historical past, constructed numerous buildings, together with Zuiganji, Godaido, Entsuin, and Tenrinin, in addition to Kanrantei Tea Home.

Zuiganji and The Kanrantei Tea Home had been really constructed going through in the direction of the harvest full moon within the fall as Date was keen on the moon (his helmet even has a crescent-shaped moon on it!) When you’re fascinated about Date’s historical past, you may go to the Date Masamune Historic Museum, the place you can even strive on a duplicate of his armor.

Pathwat lined with trees leading to a temple


I visited Zuiganji, a zen temple relationship again to the ninth century. Date ordered the development of the present temple, which served as his household’s temple, which was accomplished in 1609. There’s a 200-meter odd walkway to the temple’s entrance, lined by towering cedar bushes and shallow caves.

The hondo (major corridor) is a nationwide treasure and artistically depicts Japan’s seasonality and Date’s aesthetic sense. (Sadly, photographs and movies are prohibited.)

Intricate work on gold leaf-covered partitions elegantly depict the seasons. All through the temple, there are additionally wood carvings of legendary animals.

Within the museum, yow will discover displays of treasures, together with unique samurai swords and a statue of Masamune.

Panoramic Views

To view Matsushima Bay and the attractive islands, you may go to one of many many statement factors from completely different views. I headed to Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park as there was a restaurant I additionally needed to go to, Cafe le Roman.

Cafe interior with antique furniture

The park is known as after Saigyo Hoshi, a well-known poet who, after a protracted journey, arrived at a hill the place he rested below an amazing pine tree. A younger boy joined him and began questioning him with Buddhist riddles, which Hoshi couldn’t reply. Ashamed, he gave up on his journey.

The park has a few of the greatest views of Matsushima Bay, together with 260 cherry blossom bushes, farming the bay in a cloud of pink. You possibly can see the dynamism of the bay and admire all of the small pine-covered islands, the crimson bridge, and all the fishing operations.

Inside the park, I visited Cafe le Roman, a classy cafe with glass partitions permitting you to soak within the panoramic views whereas having fun with a lightweight meal. I loved an apple tarte tatin with a spiced sizzling chocolate earlier than returning to Sendai!

When you plan to remain till the night, the evening view can also be beautiful. Beneath the twinkling moonlight, you may benefit from the serenity of Matsushima because the islands and bushes develop into shadows in opposition to the evening sky.

In order that was my journey and information to Matsushima. It’s so wealthy in historical past, unbelievable meals, and breathtaking surroundings that it’s effectively price a go to in case you are within the Tohoku area. In case you are fascinated about meals from Sendai, don’t miss my Sendai Meals Information and different Japan journey posts.

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