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.

The approach to the temple's main hall proceeds along a long, straight path flanked 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 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




Hotels around Matsushima

Top rated in Matsushima
    • Matsushima Ichinobo
      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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    • Uchi Matsushima Guesthouse
      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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    • Komatsu-kan Kofu-tei
      Located right in front of Matsushima Bay, Komatsukan Kofu-tei offers accommodations with free wired internet access. Guests can refresh in the public hot-spring baths and enjoy traditional multi-course meals in their rooms. A free shuttle is available from JR Matsushima Kaigan Train Station, which is a 5-minute drive away. The air-conditioned rooms feature a TV, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags. Most rooms have tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding, while some rooms come with a private open-air bath. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer. Guests can enjoy the public indoor/outdoor hot-spring baths or reserve a hot-spring bath for private use. Massages can be requested for an extra cost and local souvenirs can be purchased at the gift shop. Luggage storage and laptop rentals are available at the front desk. Local fresh seafood and ingredients are offered in the traditional multi-course meals. Kofutei Komatsukan is a 10-minute walk from Godaido Shrine and a 15-minute walk from Zugan-ji Temple.
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    • Matsushima Koumura
      Located in Matsushima, within 10 km of Shiogama Shrine and 24 km of Sendai City Community Support Center, Matsushima Koumura provides accommodation with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The property is around 1.4 km from Entsuin Temple, 22 km from Sendai Toshogu and 23 km from Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi. The ryokan features a hot tub and a concierge service. All units are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a desk. The private bathroom is equipped with a hot tub, a hairdryer and slippers. All rooms at the ryokan are fitted with a shared bathroom and bed linen. Guests at Matsushima Koumura can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Sendai Station is 24 km from the accommodation, while Sakuraoka Daijingu is 25 km away. The nearest airport is Sendai Airport, 35 km from Matsushima Koumura.
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    • Matsushima Petit Hotel Bistro Abalon
      Located on a hilltop, Petit Hotel Bistro Abalon boasts sweeping views of the ocean and Matsushima Islands, renowned as one of the Three Views of Japan. It offers Western and Japanese-style rooms, a garden and free WiFi at all areas. A free shuttle runs to/from Matsushima Kaigan Station. Free private parking is available on site. Air-conditioned rooms at the Petit Hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV, a fridge and an attached bathroom. Yukata robes and complimentary green tea are provided. Japanese-style rooms feature a terrace, a tatami (woven-straw) floor and traditional futon bedding. A Western-style Kaiseki course meal featuring fresh local Miyagi and Matsushima seafood are served for dinner upon reservation, at least 1 day in advance. There are 2 private baths available at the property, one is for family use, and the other bath features a goemon traditional Japanese bathtub. The bathtub for family use is 120 cm wide and 160 cm long. Matsushima Petit Hotel Bistro Abalon is a 7-minute walk from Matsushima Kaigan Station, and a 15-minute stroll from Zuigan-ji Temple.
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    • Shintomi-tei
      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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