Oku-Matsushima Trail Course

CONCEPT

Head to the land of whispering winds and blue seas and experience the ancient landscape of Matsushima

Trail to experience the ancient landscape of Matsushima, the land of whispering winds and blue seas

This landscape with water as calm as a lake, and dotted by countless islands, is so beautiful it seems like a painting.
Matsushima, one of the Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan, has an eastern part called Oku-Matsushima. It encompasses the largest island in Matsushima Bay, Miyato Island, and the Nobiru coastline which stretches along the Pacific Ocean. With its relatively mild climate, many camellia flowers bloom in early spring and wild windmill palm trees flourish, prompting a comparison with the famous Izu Peninsula near Tokyo. The still waters of the inner bay and the waves of the ocean make possible a wealth of activities; swimming, wind-surfing, fishing, and drag-net fishing, which can be enjoyed throughout the year. This area is also a Miyagi Prefecture International Tourism Theme Area.
The Oku-Matsushima Trail begins at the Aomina Visitor Center. Experience the history and nature from the prehistoric Jomon period to many of today’s most picturesque spots as you hike through Oku-Matsushima and Miyato Island. The start of the course is a trail dating back to prehistoric times. In the Satohama Historical Park, step back in time and visit the Satohama Shell Mound from the Jomon period, one of the largest in Japan. At Inagasaki Park and on top of Otakamori (one of the four panoramic views of Matsushima), you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Oku-Matsushima’s landscape. This course is also an opportunity enjoy delicious seafood and the warm hospitality of local residents.

Course details

Course map

Course highlights

1

Aomina Visitor Center

(Start 0.0km)

This is the starting and finishing point for the Oku-Matsushima Trail. Find local souvenirs here as well as drinks and snacks. Rest your tired feet in a footbath. With the Oku-Matsushima Pleasure Boat Visitor Center also inside this building, you can start your exploration of Oku-Matsushima here.

2

Otakamori Yakushido Temple

(0.5㎞)

This temple was built in 1915 half-way up the Otakamori hillside by then Miyagi Governor Masataka Mori. Inside there is a Yakushi Nyorai (Buddha of healing) statue made of unvarnished wood. When Kozoji Temple in the Igu District in Southern Miyagi was renovated, the center pillar was carved into Yakushi Nyorai, Prince Shotoku Taishi and 33 Kannon statues, and the Yakushi Nyorai was dedicated to the Otakamori Yakushido Temple.

3

The Historical Museum of Jomon Village, Oku-Matsushima

(1.0km)

This museum displays clay pots, bone tools, stone tools and costumes that were excavated from the Satohama Shell Mound on Miyato Island. The shell mound dates from the pre-historic Jomon period and is registered as a National Historic Site. There are hands-on activities to let you experience life in the Jomon period. The museum is dedicated to the wisdom and culture of the ancient Jomon people who lived as one with nature.

4

Satohama Historical Park

(1.8㎞)

The Satohama Shell Mound began before the Jomon period and continued until the Yayoi era, making it among the largest shell mounds in Japan. From the Azumaya hut in the observation area, the scenery is wonderful and you can view the same sea the ancient Jomon people once gazed upon. In spring there are yellow canola blossoms, and in summer soba flowers bloom in terraced fields.

5

Japanese Bay Tree

(2.1km)

Behind the Satohama Historical Park stands a large sacred bay tree. This type of tree is an evergreen related to the camphor tree. It grows in warm coastal areas from central-southern Tohoku to the south and has been mistaken for the similar-looking camphor tree.

6

Hatsutsuura

(2.8km)

Take in the view of the inner bay's peaceful surface as you enjoy a walk along the various embankments.

7

Riku no Oku-Matsushima

(3.1km)

Oku-Matsushima’s famous rock faces bear traces of their underwater origins. Even locations that are at present rice fields were once part of the sea.

8

Inagasaki Park

(4.8km)

From the viewing area in the park you can see the Zao mountain range, Matsushima Bay, the Oshika Peninsula, and on clear days as far as Soma in Fukushima. Also in the area are camellia forests whose red flowers and vivid green leaves contrast beautifully when they are in bloom.

9

Tsukihama Public Beach

(5.1km)

The transparent blue water and bright sand set this beach apart. In summer it is open for swimming and is popular with the public. As the waves are calm, the beach is well-suited for children and families.

10

Shinhama Promontory

(5.5㎞)

Beyond the path lies the beautiful blue of the sea. It is known as “the horse’s back” for the shape of the rock promontory. The sunny lookout point is a perfect place to take a rest.

11

A forest path which weaves a tale of time

(7.3km)

A forest path stemming from the Kannonji Temple, and in the story of a priest it is said to be "a path brought to life through the footsteps of those who travel along it”. A long time ago, it was used as a path to connect villages and also as a route to and from school. Enjoy a relaxing walk surrounded by abundant nature.

12

Otakamori

(8.4km)

This 105.8 meter mountain at the center of Miyato Island is one of Matsushima’s four panoramic views, known as the“Gorgeous View.” Prince Noriyoshi (1328-1368) and Sendai’s samurai ruler Date Masamune (1567-1636) praised the view from the peak. There is a 360-degree panoramic view of Matsushima Bay and the Pacific Ocean. At dusk, Matsushima Bay glistens in a beautiful golden light. In addition, there is a large stone dedicated to the protector Raijin (the god of thunder). This is also a good place to watch the sunrise.

13

Aomina Visitor Center

(Finish 10.0㎞)

This is the starting and finishing point for the Oku-Matsushima Trail.

Course altitude map

Places to Stay

  • Okumatsushima Lane Hotel

    1 night stay, incl. breakfast from ¥8,640 (incl. tax)
    Courtesy shuttle: Please enquire

    Address
    3-chome, 29-1 Nobirugaoka, Higashimatsushima City
    TEL
    0225-86-2501
  • KIBOTCHA

    1 night stay, incl. breakfast from ¥5,400 (incl. tax)
    Courtesy shuttle: Please enquire

    Address
    80 Nobiru-aza, Kameoka, Higashimatsushima City
    TEL
    0225-25-7319
  • Otakamori Kanko Hotel

    Room ¥4,000 (plus tax), room with two meals ¥7,000 (plus tax), meal-only ¥3,000 (plus tax)
    Courtesy shuttle: No

    Address
    3 Miyato Aza Kawara, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-88-2121
  • Sakura-sou Fishermen's Minshuku

    Room ¥3,880 (tax included), room with two meals ¥7,600 (tax included), meal-only ¥1,500 (tax included), other price options available upon inquiry, reservation required
    Courtesy shuttle: Yes

    Address
    25 Miyato Aza Sato, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-88-3206
  • Yamane Minshuku

    Room ¥3,500 (plus tax), room with two meals ¥6,500 (plus tax), meal-only ¥2,000 (plus tax)
    Courtesy shuttle: Yes

    Address
    38 Miyato Aza Misaga, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-88-3349
  • Kami no Ie Minshuku

    Room with two meals ¥7,000 (tax included), meal-only ¥3,500 (tax included)
    Courtesy shuttle: Yes

    Address
    16-1 Miyato Aza Tsukihama, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-88-4141
  • Shinhamasou Minshuku

    Room ¥3,500 (plus tax), room with two meals ¥7,000 (tax included), meal-only ¥3,000 (tax included)
    Courtesy shuttle: Yes

    Address
    31 Miyato Aza Misaga, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-88-2045
  • Nishi no Ie Minshuku

    Room ¥3,500 (tax included), room with two meals ¥7,000 (tax included), meal-only ¥2,500 (tax included), inquire for other price options
    Courtesy shuttle: No

    Address
    64 Miyato Aza Mura, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-88-2063
  • Shiosai no Yado, Chidorikan

    Room ¥4,000 (plus tax), room with two meals ¥7,000 (plus tax), meal-only (inquire for price)
    Courtesy shuttle: Yes

    Address
    11-1 Miyato Aza Yokoyama, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-88-2066

* Rooms and meal-only plans are all by reservation only

Places to Eat

  • Miyato Tsubame Shokudo

    Tsubame Set, butter chicken curry, cakes, etc.

    Hours
    Thursday 11:00-15:00 Friday, Saturday,Sunday 10:00-16:30
    Closed
    Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday
    Address
    5-1 Miyato Aza Kawara, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    080-9639-7218
  • Enmantei

    Seafood ramen, oyster ramen, clam ramen, sea urchin rice bowl, grilled innards set

    Hours
    10:30-19:00, Open daily
    Address
    8-4 Nobiru Aza Kitaakasaki, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    080-5579-3769
  • Oyster Shack Kaisendo

    Grilled oysters, fried oyster sets, etc.

    Hours
    11:00-15:00, Open daily
    Address
    71-38 Nobiru Aza Minamiakasaki, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-98-3715
  • Kibotcha Mori no Kitchen

    Higashi-Matsushima Gozen (with nori seaweed udon), Nobiru daily special, deep fried chicken rice bowl, etc.

    Hours
    11:00-21:00 (Weekdays from 11:30)
    Address
    80 Nobiru Aza Kameoka, Higashi-Matsushima City
    TEL
    0225-25-7319
  • Gen-chan House

    Hours
    Weekends and holidays, 10:00-15:00
    Address
    81-18 Sato Miyato-aza, Higashimatsushima City
    TEL
    090-7669-8759

Access

鉄道

  • ●Sendai Airport<Sendai Airport Access Line / shortest is 17 min.>
  • JR Sendai Station<JR Senseki-Tohoku Line or JR Senseki Line / shortest is 31 min.>
  • JR Nobiru Station
  • ●JR Tokyo Station<Tohoku Shinkansen / approx. 95 min.>
  • JR Sendai Station<JR Senseki-Tohoku Line or JR Senseki Line / shortest is 31 min.>
  • JR Nobiru Station

* JR Nobiru Station to Aonami Visitor Center, 15 min. by taxi (estimated fare ¥1,500)
* Next to JR Nobiru Station there are rental bicycles at the Iito Plaza.

レンタカー

  • ●Sendai Airport IC<Sendai Tobu Road to Sanriku Expressway / approx. 45 min>
  • Naruse Oku-Matsushima IC, via Oku-Matsushima Park Line / approx. 20 min.

タクシー

Oku-Matsushima Kanko Taxi Tel: 0225-88-3048

Local Highlights

Nori Seaweed

Higashi-Matsushima nori is of such a high quality it has won prizes in competitions and been offered to the Imperial Household many times. In addition to baked nori and seasoned nori, there are also other local products like salted nori, cooked with sweet soy sauce as tsukudani, nori salad dressing, and many more.

Nori Udon Noodles

In this Higashi-Matsushima specialty, udon noodles are infused with nori seaweed. This popular item is marked by its smooth texture and subtle nori flavor. Especially recommended are the chilled “hiyashi nori udon,” nori udon salad, and other variations made by the chefs of different restaurants. Dried noodles make a perfect souvenir and can be bought together with a special noodle soup.

Nobiru Baum Cake

Made with wheat and rice flour grown in the Nobiru area of Higashi-Matsushima, this type of Baumkuchen ring cake is made by the farmers themselves. Nobiru Baum comes in three varieties: soft, hard and children’s, with large sizes and ones that fit in the palm of your hand, making them perfect for souvenirs or sending as a present.

Oysters

These oysters are grown in the mineral-rich water from two Class A streams. They have a large and rich meat with a sweetly rich flavor. Enjoy them prepared in many ways at local establishments including grilled at a local oyster shack, in a nabe stew, or fried.

More to Enjoy in Miyagi

Experience the sea and sky to the fullest in Higashi-Matsushima

Higashi-Matsushima City is located in central Miyagi Prefecture, between Ishinomaki City and the town of Matsushima. Matsushima Bay has a reputation as a rich fishing ground with flourishing seaweed and oyster farms. The city is home to the Matsushima Air Base, if you’re lucky, you can see the Blue Impulse acrobatic squadron practicing in the sky above.

Enjoy Matsushima by Sea

Sagakei Gorge Pleasure Boat

See the Sagakei, known as one of the three greatest gorges in Japan, by boat. Its dramatic cliffs contrast with the serene beauty of Matsushima. Only by boat can you come face to rock face with these spectacular 20 to 40-meter rock cliffs.

Fare
Sagakei Gorge Course (60 min./ \2,200 adults, \1,500 elementary students)Minimum group size: Sagakei Mirai boat- 5 adults (minimum charge of \10,000 if less than 5); #2, #5 Saga boats 3 adults (minimum charge of \6,000 if less than 3)
Address
5-1 Miyato Aza Kawara, Higashi-Matsushima City
TEL
0225-88-3997
Hours
8:30-17:00 (daily, year-round)
First departure 8:45, last departure is 16:00 from April-September, 15:00 other months

Enjoy the Sky over Higashi-Matsushima

Blue Impulse

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Matsushima Air Base is home to the “Blue Impulse” acrobatic flight team (4th Air wing, 11th Squadron). They often perform practice flights in the skies above the city. At the summer air festival, the blue and white jets perform impressive acrobatic maneuvers and make drawings with their white smoke trails.

Learn about the Great East Japan Earthquake and Progress Towards Recovery

Higashi-Matsushima City Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Memorial Park, 3.11 Disaster Recovery Memorial Museum

At the 3.11 Disaster Recovery Memorial Museum in former JR Nobiru Station, you can learn about damage to this area from the Great East Japan Earthquake and steps towards recovery. In the prayer plaza there is a disaster and recovery monument to serve as a memorial for those who lost their lives.

Address
56-36 Nobiru Aza Kitayokei, Higashi-Matsushima City
TEL
0225-86-2985
Hours
9:00-17:00 Closed Every third Wednesday and for the year-end New Year’s holiday

Inquiries about the course

Oku-Matsushima Pleasure Boat Information Center (inside Aomina Visitor Center)  TEL 0225-88-3997
Higashi-Matsushima Tourist Association   TEL 0225-87-2322
Commerce, Industries and Tourism Department, Higashi-Matsushima City   TEL 0225-82-1111