Top things to do in Matsushima

Buddhist Temple in Matsushima


Tōhoku’s finest Zen temple, Zuigan-ji was established in AD 828. The present buildings were constructed in 1606 by Date Masamune to serve as a family temple and the Hondo (main hall) has been beautifully restored to…
Sweets in Matsushima


On the 2nd floor, with huge windows overlooking the bay, this light-filled, minimalist cafe specialises in castella, a moist, sponge-like cake originally brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century.…
Bakery in Matsushima

Aizawa Bakery

Tucked away on a residential street a few blocks back from the main thoroughfare, this tiny, one-room bakery does a seriously good sourdough, as well as delectable croissants and pastries worthy of a Parisian boulan…
Island in Matsushima


You can't miss the 252m-long red wooden bridge connecting Fuku-ura-jima to the mainland. The shady trails here, which wind around the island through native pines and a botanic garden, make for a pleasant hour-long s…
Buddhist Temple in Matsushima


Date Masamune constructed this small wooden temple in 1604. Although it stands on an island in the bay, connected to the mainland by two short bridges, it was miraculously untouched by the 2011 tsunami. The temple d…
Japanese in Matsushima

Santori Chaya

Perennial local favourites from land and sea such as kaisen-don (mixed sashimi on rice) and gyūtan (chargrilled cow's tongue) feature here, along with seasonal specialities such as Matsushima's famous oysters. Seati…
Gifts & Souvenirs in Matsushima

Matsushima Yukitakeya

Opposite the ferry terminal is this chic bakery and gift shop selling handmade jewellery and homewares, and delicious baked goodies, including hand-sized rice crackers.
Religious in Matsushima

Zuigan-ji Tōdō

The approach to Zuigan-ji is lit with candlesticks to honour the ancient shrine.
Notable Building in Matsushima


This pavilion was presented to the Date family by the daimyō (domain lord) Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the late 16th century. It served as a genteel venue for tea ceremonies and moon-viewing parties – the name means ‘a pl…