Matsushima, Miyagi (Tohoku Region)

I loved Matsushima since the minute I first set my eyes on it. Coming from a fishermans’ town myself, with a grand father who earned his living by fishing whilst fighting the sea , I saw the charm in the weathered faces of the locals.

Sea people are different to inland people. There is a certain je ne sais quoi that one can feel. Even the rules of ;etiquette are not the same, but in a way, it is a refreshing sort of way.

Godaido Hall is a small pavilion which receives you with welcoming arms on your arrival to Matsushima by boat. Visiting it feels almost like a pilgrimage that one must do as soon as one reaches shore to look back at the bay that has been left behind.

Zuigan-ji is meant to be the greatest Zen temple in the Ohshu area. Founded originally in the 9th century, it became a Zen Temple during the Kamakura period. The current building was completed in 1609 by the lord of Sendai´s region.

Its gardens are populated by a mix of meditation caves, Buddhism sculptures and beautiful trees that welcome visitors in their walk to the temple.

Matsushima has earned a reputation for the best place to visit if you want to have the freshest of oysters.

Kaki don (steamed oysters on rice) is a local speciality but you could opt for fresh raw oysters, kaki tempura or many other alternatives offered in the local restaurants instead… For anyone travelling to Japan this autumn, oyster season, it is a worthy place to visit.

The Matsushima archipelago

shiogama boat

Althought this is one of the three most famous scenic spots in Japan, I must admit that until we arrived in the boat, I had never heard of the Matsushima Archipalego. Part of the Miyagi prefecture, my family have frequently visit it, particularly to enjoy the oysters’ season to which we arrived on time!

shiogama matsushima

The archipelago consists of about 270 Island some housing beautiful little homes some rocks with ever changing interesting shapes which illustrate the books that you could buy in the little boat that takes you around them.


The area is well known, as I said, for its oysters, but during our trip, we were also told that most of the seaweed consumed in the country comes from the area.


Both oysters and seaweed, had provided a good living to its inhabitants, who enjoyed life surrounded by the beauty of the sea.


Photography by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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