Things to do in Matsushima, One of Japan's Most Scenic Views
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Tips and local guide.
Matsushima is city located east of Tohoku Region and is well known to have one of three best scenic views in entire Japan.
1. Matsushima Bay Sightseeing Cruise
We went to the sightseeing boat pier just before 9AM. It usually cost 1,500 yen per adult but since we booked it online, we bought the tickets for only 1000 yen each. The cruise takes approximately 50 mins. And even though it was Obon week, one of Japan’s longest and major holidays, the number of tourists is significantly less due covid-19. The facility requires tourists to wear masks, go through the thermal inspection, and hand sanitize as precaution.
If you’re planning to go for the cruise, just a piece of advice, check the weather beforehand because it’s pointless to do it when it’s raining.
It is said that there are over 200 pine tree covered islands around Matsushima bay and also because of these small islands, Matsushima received less damages compared to the neighboring cities during the 2011 tsunami disaster.
The view is breath taking and the cruise is so comfortable. It’s clean and passengers coming on board is regulated. There is also a small lounge bar and a couple of vending machines inside the boat which makes everything so convenient.
2. Eat Oyster Buffet at Yakigaki House
The local oysters here are said to be one of Japan’s best and we weren’t disappointed. We even had an oyster “tabehodai” or an all you can eat oyster buffet only for 2,800yen including unlimited rice and clear soup. My two most favorite seafood in the world is sea urchin and oysters, it’s not so healthy, but it’s nice to indulge yourself once in a while.
3. Walk around Fukuura island
Fukuura island is connected by a 252meter long bridge from mainland. The view of the bridge connecting the island itself is a charmer. It’s the first thing that will catch your eye when you arrive at the bay.
Walking around the entire island may take approximately an hour and this one of the activities in this trip I enjoyed most because we get to explore areas where most of the tourists don’t go to like this small beach. There is also a nice view deck where you may relax and enjoy the view of the ocean and the other islands along the bay.
4. Visiting Zuiganji Temple Cave Ruins
Entrance to the temple is chargeable but just walking around the ruins is free. The walkways is surrounded by huge cedar trees and the caves where Buddhists used to do meditation is quite compelling. The place feels very peaceful. The Zen temple is said to be founded in year 828AD during the Heian period. Then rebuilt in 1609 by Feudal lord Date Masamune as his family temple.
There are also a lot of shops and restaurants around the area but always bring cash as most of the places don’t accept cashless payments. Also take note that all the places on the list we visited are withing Matsushima bay area which means each spot is just a walking distance from the other other. We did the whole tour in less than 4 hours. And the highlight of this tour for me is probably exploring Fukuura island. Our hotel is approximately an hour drive from Matsushima so we tried to do the activities as early as we could and use our time efficiently.