Why not see one of the “Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan” from the opposite side? ~ Walking on the islands in Matsushima Bay ~
The trip starts from the boat pier that serves as the “front gate” of Matsushima, one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan. After appreciating the beautiful islands in the bay from the boat, you will reach the adjacent Shiogama City. Fill yourself up in Sushi Kaido Street in Japan’s representative port town, and head for Urato Shoto Islands, which form the representative views of Matsushima Bay. Take a stroll while enjoying rare plants fostered in the islands’ warm climate, and scenery unique to port towns.
By watching the scenery opposite from the Matsushima Kaigan area side, you will be able to appreciate the magnificent views of Matsushima Bay transcending municipal boundaries.
The Matsushima cruise takes you on a trip around beautiful islands around the bay, allowing you to fully enjoy the refreshing sea breeze. Each course features its unique boat and route. As for regular courses, the Matsushima Bay round trip course (Matsushima Cruise Ship Operators’ Association) and the Shiogama course (Marubun Matsushima Kisen) are in service, both taking approximately 50 minutes. The winter lunch cruise and oyster hot-pot cruise are available in winter.
“Minato Oasis Marine Gate Shiogama” is a passenger terminal facility. Sightseeing boats to Matsushima, one of the “Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan,” and liner ships to Urato Shoto Islands leave from the Boat Pier. In the facility, there are souvenir shops selling local specialty goods from Shiogama and nearby areas including hot and fresh “sasakama” fish cakes, as well as restaurants serving excellent local dishes. This is a place for travelers to enjoy the distinctive features of Shiogama.
Ryuho-maru and Hoo-maru are the two Gozasen ships that carry and dedicate portable shrines to Shiwahiko and Shiogama Shrines at the annual Shiogama Minato (Port) Festival held on Marine Day in July. They can be seen from Marine Deck Shiogama connected to Shiogama Marine Gate.
Tanroku-en is one of the oldest confectionary shops in Shiogama, established in 1720 and now run by the 11th generation proprietor. The shop preserves the good old taste of Shiogama by following traditional manufacturing techniques passed down over the generations. The famous confection “Shihogama” in the shape of the Shiogama-zakura cherry blossom (a nationally designated Natural Monument) is a representative snack of Shiogama.
Shiogama port is one of Japan’s leading fishing ports. Among other catches, it boasts great yields of tuna, one of the highest yields in the country. Utilizing many kinds of seasonal fish landed, sushi restaurant owners with individual styles are making efforts to make Shiogama the No. 1 sushi city by competing with each other, highlighting each restaurant’s unique taste and techniques. Please enjoy the sushi of Shiogama, featuring Sasanishiki rice from the famous rice production prefecture of Miyagi and fresh seafood from off the Sanriku Coast.
The Urato Shoto Islands comprise four inhabited islands boasting a rich natural environment: Katsurashima Island, Nonoshima Island, Sabusawajima Island and Hojima Island. Visitors can reach each island from Marine Gate Shiogama by municipal liners. On Hojima Island is a forest of Machilus trees, a rare sight in this region. You will also find field mustard flowers grown to harvest seeds for Sendai Chinese cabbage (a traditional vegetable). If you visit Urato in spring, never miss the field mustard flowers, as well as the camellia tunnel on Nonoshima Island. In summer, a swimming beach opens on Katsurashima Island, while lavender flowers come into full bloom on Nonoshima Island.