Zuiganji (ގ) is one of the Tohoku Region's most famous and prominent Zen temples, and is well known for its beautifully gilded and painted sliding doors (fusuma). Zuiganji was originally founded in 828 as a temple of the Tendai sect, and was converted into a Zen temple during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333). After years of decline, Zuiganji was restored to prominence by the feudal lord Date Masamune who rebuilt it as his family temple in 1609.

Upon entering the temple grounds, the approach to the main hall proceeds along a long, straight path flanked on both sides by cedar trees (many of them were unfortunately damaged by the salt water of the 2011 tsunami and had to be felled). An alternate path detours off to the right of the entrance and by a number of caves that were used in the past for meditation and today contain statues.

The temple's Main Hall emerges at the end of the approach path. It can be entered by visitors who then follow a circular course through the complex to view the various rooms with their celebrated paintings on the sliding doors. Attached to the hall is the Kuri, the Zen kitchen where the meals were prepared in the past. Both buildings are designated national treasures.

Across from the Kuri is the Seiryuden, also known as Zuiganji Art Museum. The museum exhibits some of the temple's treasures, including its golden fusuma sliding doors and artifacts of the Date Clan, such as a life-sized wooden stature of Date Masamune clothed in his armor.

Getting there and around

Zuiganji is a few steps from the pier of Matsushima, and a 5-10 minute walk from JR Matsushima Kaigan Station.

How to get to and around Matsushima

Hours and Fees


8:00 to 17:00 (closes 30 to 90 minutes earlier in winter)


No closing days


700 yen (includes entrance to the museum)