Matsushima is a group of islands in central Miyagi prefecture (which is in Tohoku area, the northern region of Japan) with beautiful sceneries where the famous Japanese poet Basho Matsuo loved. With more than 3 million annual visitors both from other parts of Japan and from overseas, Matsushima is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Japan.
Therefore, not only the beautiful view of the island but also delicious food are important attractions of Matsuhima.
In this article, I will introduce my recommendation of must-try foods in Matsushima.
Oysters, oysters, and oysters!
Matsushima is the most famous as a production of oysters alongside Hiroshima. The season of oysters are at their best is October to March, thus, if you are planning to enjoy oysters in Matsushima, plan your trip in winter.
“Kaki goya”, literally means “oyster house” is the most common way to enjoy oysters, where provides all you can eat oysters for 1 to 1.5 hour. Also, the annual Matsushima Oyster Festival is held over the first weekend of February on Matsushima beach, where oysters and local sake served to all people free of charge. It’s a fun event to participate!
Matsushima has a great environment to farm anago, conger eels. Anago from Matsushima is sold very expensive at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. The best season to enjoy anago is early summer to autumn. The best dish to enjoy this fluffy anago is Anago Don – anago rice bowl! Try the huge Anago Don in summer and autumn!
Sushi in Shiogama
Shiogama is a small town that is located on the opposite side of Matsushima, where siteseeing boat cruise stops. There is a variety of tours but I recommend to take the ones that stop at Shiogama, get off the boat, and enjoy sushi here! Shiogama is a town where the largest numbers of sushi restaurant located per population in Japan. There are cheap conveyor belt sushi restaurants to fairly luxury ones, so you are able to choose the restaurant that suits your budget.
Kaisendon, sashimi rice bowl is another speciality of Matsushima. With fresh fish from the sea, sashimi portions are large that they do not fit in the bowl! When I had it, especially squid and yellow tail were tasty. The ingredients vary by the seasons, and what is best for the season is put into the bowl!
Street foods, grilled seafood, Sasakama, and Zunda (Edamame)
You cannot avoid being tempted by those street foods. Just walking by the beach, your mouth can’t stop watering with the scents of delicious food here! Sasakama is a local cuisine of Miyagi prefecture around Sendai, it’s a fish cake shaped like a leaf of bamboos. Zunda is another word for edamame, which is also the major local speciality around here. There are zunda manju, zunda soft serve, zunda mochi… and much more! Many of them are intended to be eaten while walking around, so forget about losing weight, and have a bite!
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