Marine Gate Shiogama is the arrival and departure station for a pleasure boat service that connects Shiogama Port and Matsushima, a group of islands ranked as one of the top three views in Japan.
While waiting for the ferry, visitors can browse the shops that sell local produce or try the restaurants that offer fresh fish and sushi. The observation deck on the rooftop has a 360-degree view of the city of Shiogama.
To board, you must purchase a ticket at the first-floor counter. Since there are several routes to choose from, pick one you like by studying the information board. The price differs according to the class of the cabin.
Although upper deck cabins cost extra, they are recommended because the view is better.
All the cabins are clean and comfortable, but the higher you go, the fewer the seats.
Try stepping out on deck after the ferry departs. You may be surprised to see seagulls following the boat hoping to be fed a snack. Feeding the birds is not discouraged, but be warned: Their numbers multiply quickly when snacks are offered. It might feel a little scary with so many birds hovering and grabbing food directly from your hand, but it is fun to observe them up close.
Soon, islands of various sizes appear on your right and left. Each one of them is interesting. There is an impressive island with contrasting bare white rock surface and green pine trees, as well as one with four large caves created through erosion by seawater.
Legend has it that the renowned feudal warlord Date Masamune (16th-17th century) liked one of the islands so much that he once said he would pay a fortune to anyone who could bring the island to his mansion.
Cultivation farms for oysters, a local specialty, and seaweed also come into view.
The ferry ride is highly recommended since it offers a truly fine view of Japan.
Marine Gate Shiogama
1-4-1 Minato-machi, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture