Step back in time to the ancient Matsushima Bay
After visiting the site of the ruins of Tagajo Castle, one of Japan’s three greatest historic sites, you can try hands-on programs to experience ancient culture at Tagajo Shiyukan Museum. In Shiogama, while enjoying the old quaint streetscape lined with buildings established during the Meiji Era, head for the foremost shrine in the former Mutsu Province: Shiogama Shrine.
Why not come and imagine the ancient scenery of Matsushima Bay, steeped in the mysterious atmosphere created by old, beautiful buildings and historic places?
Tagajo Castle was established in 724 by Ono Azumahito, and the Mutsu Provincial Government and a navy base were located there. In the center of the huge castle area (approx. 900 m x 900 m) was the government, the center of political affairs and official ceremonies. It is one of Japan’s greatest historic sites, along with the site of Nara Palace (Nara Pref.) and the site of Dazaifu (Fukuoka Pref.).
An educational facility offering various hands-on learning programs (making a fire, making magatama stone beads, etc.), so that visitors, children and adults alike, can enjoy experiencing old people’s lifestyles and learning about history. In the exhibition room, you can gain an overview of the history of Tagajo from the Jomon Period to the Edo Period with the excavated items.
Constructed in the early Meiji Era (1868–1912) as a three-storied wooden building, which was very rare at that time. The rooms on the second and third floors boast a quaint setting, created by items including the ceilings featuring nuanced materials. The first floor is now used as a café, where the warm atmosphere of the olden days is retained.
The street in front of Omotezaka (Otokozaka) at Shiogama Shrine, constructed around 1700 by Date Tsunamura, is called Shiogama Kaido Street, and is lined with pleasantly old-fashioned, earthen houses of merchants in a traditional storehouse style. Under the concept of “the street itself is a field museum,” tanka inscriptions and meandering stream monuments have been developed and displayed.
The Shrines boast a history of over 1,200 years as the foremost shrine in the former Mutsu Province. Fourteen buildings (including the main hall) are nationally designated Important Cultural Properties, while the Shiogama-zakura cherry trees on the premises are a nationally designated Natural Monument. The stone stairway with 202 steps at Omotezaka and the gate in the cherry blossom season are popular photo-shooting spots.