Japan 2016, part 6: Shiogama and Matsushima

October 17th, 2016

The past few Japan posts have been about my stay in the Tohoku region, with us staying in Sendai and taking day trips from there. You might remember that back in 2011, Japan was hit by a major earthquake and tsunami, and the Tohoku region was greatly affected. It took many lives and caused a terrible amount of destruction. It was especially bad along the Sanriku Coast, and I wanted to make sure I visited a couple cities along it. It’s been 5 years, so the cities have mostly bounced back since, but any tourism helps these areas!

On August 8th, we visited Shiogama, which is on the Sanriku Coast and is largely known for its fishing industry. It’s also known for having highest number of sushi restaurants per capita in Japan! We started by looking around the fish market, and though I read you could order sushi and food there, we didn’t find many places.

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Instead, we went back on the train and into the main part of the city, where we had lunch at Sushitetsu. We each ordered the sushi set, and it was really good! (By the way, I’m mostly using thumbnails the rest of the post, so click for full size images!)

We wanted to do more afterwards, but unfortunately, it started raining. We went back to Sendai instead, where we had another Sendai specialty: zunda. It might sound weird because it’s edamame paste that is used in desserts, but it’s common for Asian desserts to use beans (like red bean or mung bean). The desserts aren’t too sweet and give off a slightly savory taste.

We ordered a shake and a cake roll, both with zunda in it. The drink with the cake roll is green tea, and the ice cream is vanilla, so no zunda in those.

August 8th was also the last day of the Tanabata Festival (which I wrote about in part 4), so we spent the rest of the day enjoying festivities in the park.

On August 9th, we went to Matsushima, another city along the coast, since we didn’t get to it the day before. It’s also known for seafood, oysters specifically, and Matushima Bay is known as one of the top three scenic places in Japan.

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We started the day by going to the Matsushima Fish Market, which had more food stalls in it than the Shiogama one. We ordered fried oysters and oyster burgers. The fried oysters were really good, but the oyster burger wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It was basically mashed oysters, put together as a patty, and then fried. Didn’t really taste like oyster anymore after that!

From there, we went to Matsushima Bay to take a boat cruise around the small islands. The cruise was about an hour long and was a very relaxing way to see the bay! We also took a short visit to Oshima island before leaving, which is accessible by bridge.

Afterwards, we went back to Sendai and tried to take a Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo, which proved more difficult than we thought. It might have been because the Tanabata festival had just ended and everyone was leaving, but we had to take a later train than planned. That’s ok though because we still arrived in Tokyo before dinner.

Our last hotel of the trip was right by Tokyo Station, and Tokyo Station has a lot of stuff in it. It has different themed sections, one of which is Ramen Street with several different ramen restaurants. We went there to try Rokurinsha, another famous tsukemen place (dipping ramen).

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This one was great! One of my favorite ramens during the trip, though it made me so incredibly full. Being back in Tokyo means that it’s nearing the end of my Japan trip. My next entry will go over our day trip to Yokohama!

14 Responses to “Japan 2016, part 6: Shiogama and Matsushima”

  • Michelle says:

    That’s amazing about the food. I can’t stop repeating it, you know? The water looks so peaceful!

  • Holly says:

    I studied a lot about the events in 2011 when I was at university. I’m so glad to hear that many of the towns have recovered.

    Matsushima Bay looks very pretty. I love a good boat trip. I find being on the water so relaxing.

  • Ella says:

    How amazing! Sushi! Oyster burgers?! That’s something I’ve never heard of. The boat trip looks amazing. What a beautiful area to be in. It is wonderful to know that after 2011 the cities have bounced back into place. :)

  • Nancy says:

    It’s great to see a place rebuilding itself after a disaster. With Shiogama being the fishing industry, you can get the freshest sushi off the boat! All of the nigiri looks so delicious and clean! Uggg I need to give this place a visit one of these days. I never had zunda before. I’m kind of curious to see how it taste line in the shake XD.

    Ahhh, oysters haven! I never heard of an oyster burger before. It sounds delicious though! The bay looks so beautiful.

    I’ve been taking my DSLR out for pictures lately and thought there’s something wrong with me for taking blurry pictures. Looking at your pics, it’s a normal thing! I’m a bit relieved because I thought I messed up big time :’)… Except it’s just me who’s not used to the whole photography thing XD.

    • Cat says:

      On the blurry pics thing, do you mean like how some parts of the photo are sharp but others are blurred? (Like how the cake roll is sharp, but the ice cream and green tea are blurred?) It’s related to depth of field, and a high aperture (low f-stop) will cause more blur on things that aren’t on the same depth of the focused object :)

  • Pauline says:

    It’s nice to know that the city has recovered since the disasters in 2011. That looks like a lovely plateful of sushi – hope it was good :D I’ve never heard of zunda before but it looks great!

    Matsushima Bay looks so beautiful – I bet it looked even more incredible than the photos! :D Thanks for sharing your experience again, Cat!

  • Jan says:

    Looking that Bowl of Ramen at the end… T.T Now I really want a bowl for myself. Matsushima Bay looks really pretty. And my favorite shot is of that Lady working with the fish.

  • Tara says:

    It’s good to hear that the Tohoku region has recovered some from that disastrous earthquake and tsunami! I want to visit Sendai just because that’s Hanyu Yuzuru’s hometown (one of my favourite figure skaters, haha!), but now I also want to visit Matsushima Bay for the scenery! I didn’t know it’s one of the top scenic places, so thanks for writing and sharing about the place.

    And RAMEN!!! Girl, I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, and now I want some Japanese ramen. Such craving now!

  • Ongaku says:

    Uh, yeah that oyster burger does not sound too good.LOL Then again I have no idea if I like oyster or not since I haven’t been lucky enough to try it… Wow, what a fun trip. I’m glad you post these cause I can kind of live it through the photos you post and stuff. :) For some reason I have learned with my snack boxes from Japan that I’m not a fan of the matcha flavor stuff. I have gotten use to the red bean paste though. haha

  • Becca says:

    It’s good to hear that the areas affected by the earthquake have bounced back some! You always hear about the initial destruction but don’t ever hear about the clean-up and rebuilding of the city afterwards.

    Oh my goodness, all of the food is so pretty! I’m not sure how I feel about the more savory dessert – but it makes me kind of want to try it because I’ve never had a savory dessert before. It’s always sweet!

    Matsushima Bay is gorgeous! You always take such great pictures. Taking a boat cruise would be the perfect way to see the area. It sounds like it would be relaxing! We did an island cruise when we visited Greece and it was so relaxing and beautiful. I’m imagining it was fairly similar.

    I still can’t get over how much stuff you packed into your trip! You need to plan my trips Cat ;D

  • Elisa says:

    Fishing industry! ermagehd, imagine all the fresh sashimi and salmon and tuna and uuurrrghhh imagining them makes me drool. I remember going to a wet market in china (I don’t exactly remember the place but it’s far from the city) and every corner of the wet fresh market sold huuuuge frozen fresh salmon and by huge, i’m referring to like 1-2kg++ of salmon :P

    I wonder how edamame paste taste like, hm that’s interesting… and you’re so lucky you get to eat japanese roll cakes! Japanese makes such good, soft and fluffy roll cakes :9 I can’t imagine oyster in burgers though ugh… that kind of turns me off lol

    I love the big league like Tokyo where everyday is a busy day but seeing places like this one just gives me that nostalgic, airy feeling…if that makes sense. it’s also awesome to know that they have recovered from the natural disasters; it always amaze me how Japan recovers fast from tsunami and earthquake.

  • Joy says:

    It seems like your trip has been packed full!

    I would love to go to Japan someday but I am so intimidated by language barrier. Maybe I will get over it someday.

    All of the food looks so good too! Your photographs don’t help, lol!

  • Liv says:

    Wow Matushima Bay is beautiful! I’d love to visit the Japanese coastal villages because it’s so scenic! I also want to try their local sushi as well as the zunda cake roll. I’m hungry looking at it!

    My family recently was taking a cruise in the sea near Japan (while I was here in the USA by myself haha) but they weren’t allowed to dock because of the typhoon. :(

  • Bhairavee says:

    It’s such a beautiful place! The food looks amazing!

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