Matsushima Area Summer Festivals Part 1

June 18 to July 2

Ayame (Iris) Festival in Tagajo
This festival takes place in Tagajo’s expansive Iris Garden which features 3,000,000 Irises of 650 varieties. On weekends this festival also includes outdoor tea ceremony, traditional events and hands-on activities.
Entry fee: Free

Hours: daily 10am-4pm
The Iris Garden (多賀城跡あやめ園) is accessible by car or train. 

The parking lot has spaces for 160 cars.
By train it is a 7 minute walk from Kokufutagajo Station on JR Tohoku Line


Sunday July 17th and Monday July 18th (Sea Day)

Shiogama Minato Matsuri
Shiogama hosts one of 3 major sea-themed festivals in Japan.

Sunday: Fireworks Show

On Sunday, the night sky over Matsushima Bay will be lit up with a large fireworks display between 8 and 8:50pm.
Where to watch: The best place to watch it is from the area around Marine Gate, or even better- watch the fireworks from out on the bay from a sightseeing boat!
Boats depart from Shiogama Marine Gate at 6:30pm and return at 9pm. Adult tickets are 2500 yen. Purchase tickets at Marine Gate.

Monday: Minato Matsuri (Shinto Festival)

Between 10am and 7pm on Monday 7/18 (Sea Day, a national holiday) is the main event. Watch people dressed in white carry a one-ton portable shrine down the steep steps of Shiogama Shrine and then out on the water! They will take the shrine around the bay and by evening finish the festival by carrying the float back up to the shrine. Watch elaborately decorated and colorful dragon and phoenix themed boats as they travel around the bay followed by smaller boats with large decorative flags.

Where to watch: You can view these boats from Shiogama’s Marine Gate boat terminal or for the best view, buy a ticket for a sightseeing boat and watch the boat parade from the water!
Boats depart from Shiogama Marine Gate at 12 noon. Tickets are 1500 yen. Purchase tickets at Marine Gate. Details.

Marine Gate Shiogama is a 7 minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line.) 

Shiogama Shrine is a 15 minute walk from Shiogama Station (JR Tohoku Line) or Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line) 

August 6-8

Sendai Tanabata

This is one of the great festivals of Tohoku (northeastern Japan) and the biggest Tanabata festival in Japan. 
The festival is kicked off by a big fireworks event at Nishi Park the night before, August 5th from 7-8:30pm. 
From Augsut 6th-8th, downtown Sendai is decorated with large and beautifully crafted paper and bamboo streamers.

This holiday celebrates the ancient story of two deities (the stars Vega and Altair) who are separated in the heavens the whole year except for this period. 
Come stroll the streets of Sendai wearing yukata (a light summer robe) for a traditional experience.

Come stroll the streets of Sendai wearing yukata (a light summer robe) for a traditional experience.


The Tanabata streamers are easy to find in the covered arcades in downtown Sendai.
5 minute walk from Sendai Station (west exit.)

Map for Nishi Park Fireworks:

Coming soon: Matsushima Umi no Bon Festival (August 15, 16), Higashi-Matsushima Summer Matsuri (August 27) and more!