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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

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Matsushima

Top rated in Matsushima
Budget:
    • Uchi Matsushima Guesthouse
      Budget-friendly
      Uchi is situated in Matsushima, 200 metres from Zuigan-ji Temple. Guests can enjoy listening to music or watching TV in the common area. You will find a shared lounge at the property. There is a hot spring bath facility, a 5-minute drive from the property. Property prepares a coupon for the hot spring. A convenience store is located 10 minutes walk away from Uchi Matsushima Guesthouse. The property is a 7-minute walk from Matsushimakaigan Station. Guests can also enjoy sightseeing at Zuigan-ji Temple, or walk across the street to the boat pier and book a cruise ship tour.
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    • Matsushima Ichinobo
      Luxury
      Featuring free property-wide WiFi, a spa centre and a seasonal outdoor pool, Matsushima Ichinobo offers accommodation in Matsushima. The ryokan has a hot spring bath and sauna, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site. Every room at this ryokan is air conditioned and is equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. For your comfort, you will find yukata robes, slippers and free toiletries. There is free shuttle service, gift shop, and shops at the property. Zuiganji Temple is located 1.2 km away. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 30 km from the property.
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    • Matsushima Koumura
      Mid-range
      Located in Matsushima, within 1.4 km of Entsuin Temple and 8 km of Shiogama Fish market, Matsushima Koumura provides accommodation with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The ryokan features family rooms. All units are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, a hot tub, slippers and a desk. The shared bathroom is equipped with a shower and free toiletries. All rooms include a private bathroom, a hairdryer and bed linen. At the ryokan guests are welcome to take advantage of a hot tub. Popular points of interest near Matsushima Koumura include Matsushima Fish Market, Godaido Temple and Zuigan-ji Temple. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 34 km from the accommodation.
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    • Shintomi-tei
      Mid-range
      Offering Japanese-style rooms, Shintomi-tei offers public indoor/outdoor public baths and relaxing massages. Free Wi-Fi is available at the lobby area and free parking is on-site. A free shuttle is available from JR Matsushima Train Station, which is a 5-minute drive away. The air-conditioned rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floor and Japanese futon bedding. A flat-screen TV, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea are included in each. Guests can wear the provided Japanese Yukata robes and the en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer. Guests can purchase local gifts at the souvenir shop and enjoy late-night snacks at the karaoke bar. Japanese set menus are served for breakfast and dinner at the dining room. Shintomi-tei Inn is a 10-minute walk from Entsu-in Temple and Zuigan-ji Temple. Matsushima Bay is a 15-minute walk away. JR Sendai Train Station is a 35-minute train ride away.
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