The boats Ryuhomaru and Ho’omaru are the only ones in Japan that are dedicated for a festival. On this day, the normally placid waters off Shiogama are colored with rich reds and yellows, and streamers and flags flutter from these ships as they sail around the bay.
On the day of the Shiogama Minato Festival, the normally placid waters off Shiogama are colored with rich reds and yellows. This event is held every year on Sea Day, which is in July. A mikoshi (portable shrine) is a palanquin on which a god is carried; typically, several people carry such a shrine—but not in Shiogama. The mikoshi from Shiogama Shrine is brought aboard Japan’s only festival boats, the Ryuhomaru and Ho’omaru , which then lead approximately 100 ships around Matsushima Bay. The ships fly resplendent flags and streamers on this 5-hour procession. This sight is glamorous and majestic! The best viewing spot is the Shiogama Marine Deck, which is connected to Shiogama Marine Gate.
A large fireworks display is held along the shore the day before the festival.
ADDRESS Shiogama Shrine and around Shiogama
CLOSE Please inquire about the hours of the festival.
PARKING Please use public transportation.
PERIOD July (Sea Day)
Using local guides, we provide many tours that let you discover and experience
the wonders of Japan lying hidden in the “everyday” of the nearby area.
Spirit of Japanese Sake in Shiogama｜Sake and Sushi Pairing in Foodie Heaven Shiogama
Foodie Tour in Shiogama｜The ultimate 'Foodie' tour in sushi and sake paradise, Shiogama!
Perfect ‘Hanami’ Picnic at Shiogama-Jinja (Shinto)Shrine｜Enjoy the Spring tradition of 'Hanami' at a national treasure!
In the spring, Shiogama Sakura cherry blossoms bloom at Shiwahiko-jinja Shrine and Shiogama-jinja Shrine, a nationally designated natural monument. In the summer, the extravagantly colored gozasen boat crosses the bay with over 100 other ships. In the autumn, the leaves change color, and, in the winter, you can enjoy Sanriku Shiogama Higashimono and the abundant seafood that is offered in Shiogama, which boasts some of the biggest catches of fresh Pacific bluefin tuna in Japan. Shiogama is a seaside town that can be enjoyed all year round.
A port town where a rich food tradition meets the culture of a temple town.
Seafoods Akama Co., Ltd.／Shunsuke Akama
Shiogama is a port town where the rich food tradition that was brought about by the seafood that landed at its wholesale market meets the historic culture of a town built around Shiogama-jinja Shrine, the most revered shrine in Mutsu Province. Autumn and winter are seasons for Shiogama’s famous Sanriku Shiogama Higashimono, the brand name for its big-eye tuna, while its local sakes, Urakasumi and Abekan, have many fans across the country. The name “Shiogama” refers to a traditional cooking stove that is used for making salt and derives from the town’s long history of salt production. My company also produces “seaweed salt,” a salt that is rich in seaweed components and combines sea water from Kamanofuchi in Matsushima Bay with the bay’s sargassum seaweed. This year, Shiogama is introducing Gama Coins, a local electronic currency that aims to combine local currency and cashless payments. It can be used at all participating stores in the city, so be sure to give it a try.
Shiogama has many traditional specialties—including plentiful seafood, sake from a historic brewery, and the salt (seaweed salt) from which the city gets its name. Oyster and nori cultivation prosper in the Urato Islands that float in Matsushima Bay, and, at the local lodges, you can enjoy unique regional cuisine that is made with the island’s seasonal seafood. Visitors to Shiogama should certainly stay in the Urato Islands to fully enjoy the beautiful scenes of the bay and the delicious cuisine.
Located to the southwest of Matsushima Bay, Shiogama Bay has been written about in Japanese poetry since the Heian period, when it was called “Chiganoura.” Matsuo Basho is said to have visited this place and set sail for Matsushima from here. Sailing across Shiogama Bay, you can see the Urato Islands come into view: Katsura Island, Nono Island, Sabusawa Island, Ho Island, and others. In the untouched nature on these islands, one can enjoy seasonal flowers such as the tunnel of camellias or the meadow of field mustard flowers.
Tsudayu and Sahei
Tsudayu, 1744 - 1814
Sahei, 1762 - 1829
Tsudayu, a sailor from Sabusawa Island in the Urato Islands, was shipwrecked while sailing from Ishinomaki to Edo. During the Sakoku period of national isolation, he sailed around the world with Sahei, Gihei, and Tajuro.
Chonan Izumi no Kami
1580 - 1654
Chonan Izumi no Kami was from Awanokuni (now Chiba Prefecture). Around 1615, he moved to Sabusawa Island, where it is said that he built the foundation of Sabusawa Harbor.
1838 - 1900
Kikuchi Yuji was appointed as kocho (equivalent to a mayor today) at the start of the Meiji era. In 1885, he repaired the harbor and waterways of Shiogama, which had been struggling after the Meiji Restoration.
From Sendai Station
【TRAIN】 From Sendai Station approx. 30 minutes to Honshiogama Station on the JR Senseki Line
【CRUISE BOAT】 From Matsushima approx. 50 minutes by Matsushima Island Sightseeing Boat