Zuiganji Temple is one of Japan’s national treasures. Built in 828CE and restored in the Edo Period in the early 1600s by Edo-era magnate Date Masamune, the temple complex is situated near the Bay of Pines, Matsushima, one of the most beautiful sights in the Tohoku Region. A related temple, Godaido, is situated across the road, on the small island offshore.

Located within easy walking distance of Matsushima Station, the Zuiganji temple complex offers visitors access to the restored main buildings, the temple gardens, and the Seiryuden Museum. Time your visit right and you’ll also catch a few plum or cherry blossoms in the tempple courtyards. In the colder months, see snow fall on the moss gardens.

It’s best to allow between 90 minutes and two hours to get a proper look at the temple and museum. Opening hours vary by season: between April and September, the temple is open between 08:00 and 17:00. In the colder months, the complex closes earlier. The last visitors are admitted half an hour before closing.

Admission prices are ¥700 for adults over 15 years of age and ¥400 for children younger than 15. Large groups (35+) get discounts.