Easy trip from Sendai. How to access to Matsushima by Japan Rail Pass

Matsushimaside trip
Godaido is one of the best EASY-ACCESS view point. (C) JP Rail
Godaido is one of the best view point. You can get ther easily on foot from the station. (C) JP Rail

Matsushima is one of “Three Views of Japan” (Matsushima, Amanohashidate and Miyajima). There are more than 200 hundred broken islands in Matsushima bay. You can enjoy the scenery from the land or on the cruise boat. As probably you know, this region was damaged by the great earthquake in March, 2011. However Matsushima was not damaged very seriously because of many islands.

I strongly recommend you to visit Matsushima since it can be accessed from Sendai very easily. It is only 40 minutes trip by Senseki line local train. Of course it is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

I visited Matsushima on this past March. I show you how to get there.

At Sendai station (仙台駅)

Sendai is the biggest city in Tohoku region. You can access to Sendai by Tohoku Shinkansen. If you get on Hayabusa or Hayate from Tokyo, it takes less than 2 hours to get Sendai.

Shinkansen Central Exit. But don’t exit. (C) JP Rail

First of all, please refer JR East Sendai station map. After you get off Shinkansen, go to Central exit. There is another exit, South Exit. But you cannot transfer to local line at south exit. Once you reach Central Exit (above picture), don’t exit there and turn left to the end. You will see the escalator to downstairs. This is to the transfer gate.
At Sendai station, Shinkansens platforms are located at 4th floor. Shinkansen’s ticket gates are located at 3rd floor. Conventional line (local train) ticket gate is located at 2nd floor. And conventional line platforms are located at ground floor.
If you use Japan Rail Pass, you can exit from Central exit anyway. After go through central exit, you will see the stairs to the right. Go downstairs and you will see Conventional line’s central exit.

After go through the transfer gate, go down the concourse to the end. (C) JP Rail
You will see the big sign that says Senseki line at the end. (C) JP Rail

I mentioned the platforms of conventional lines are located at the ground floor. But only Senseki line platform is located at the underground.

After you see Senseki line sign, just follow the sign to the platform.

Senseki line (仙石線)

View How to access to Matsushima in a larger map

Senseki line connects Sendai with Ishinomaki (石巻) via Matsuhima-Kaigan (松島海岸). However this line was damaged by the great earthquake in 2011. The section between Takagimachi (高城町) and Rikuzen-Ono (陸前小野) is still closed due to serious damage. But you have no problem with access to Matsushima. Because Matsushima-Kaigan station is not located in closed section.

At Senseki line platform, take the train at platform #10. (C) JP Rail

Since there are only one platform and two tracks, #9 and #10, it is very easy to catch the train. Senseki line is a commuter’s route. So there is no limited express trains. You have only two choices, local and rapid. Rapid skips many stations and faster.

Apprx 45 minutes to get Matsushima-Kaigan from Sendai by Local
Apprx 30 minutes to get Matsushima-Kaigan from Sendai by Rapid

Both Rapid and Local are operated once every hour. There are many more local trains on Senseki line. But these trains are operated to Higashi-Shiogama station (東塩釜). This is two stations before Matsushima-Kaigan. So you can take these trains to Higashi-Shiogama. But you need to wait for another trains to Takagimachi (one station away from Matsushima-Kaigan) anyway.

Both Rapid and Local are commute trains and operated by same type of cars. (C) JP Rail

The trains are nothing special on both Rapid and Local. If you take these trains, you need to pay basic fare only. Even if you take Rapid, there is no surcharge.

Matsushima-Kaigan station (松島海岸駅)

It is very small station. There is only one platform and two tracks. When you go back to Sendai, take the train at #1. (C) JP Rail

This station is exactly located in the center of Matsushima. You can access to many attractions and points of interests from this station on foot.


  1. Kim ledch says:

    We are planning 4 nights in sendai giving 3 and a half days befor return to Tokyo how should we spend 3 full days in that area? A suggestion was Yamadera?

  2. Hello Takeshi,
    Is it possible to do a day trip to Sendai and Matsushima from Tokyo if started early morning and come back by late night(last day of JR Pass)? Please suggest
    Thanking you,
    Sara Louis.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi (JPRail.com administrator) says:

      Hi Sara,

      Yes, you can. It takes 1 hour 40 minutes to get Sendai from Tokyo by the Tohoku Shinkasnen. It takes another 40 minutes from Sendai to Matsushima. All trips are covered by JR Pass.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Eugenia says:

    Hello, I want to go from Sendai to Matsushima round trip, staying 3 nights at Matsushima.
    Could you please tell me which is the cost of the round trip without having the JR Pass?

    I want to make my calculations to see for how many days should I get my JR pass.

    Also, do you think for this round trip it is convenient to get a regional pass?
    How much would that be?

    Thank you for your help.

  4. Anne says:

    Hello Takeshi

    Using Sendai Area pass : I’m travelling from Yamadera to Matsushima in the morning. On my return I wish to get off at Yamagata.
    Question: using the above pass, the fares are covered from Matsushima to Yamadera. I wish to stay on the same train from Sendai and get off at Yamagata. How do I pay for the additional fare from Yamadera to Yamagata?


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Anne,

      You have two ways. You can show your pass on board to the conductor. You can pay extra fare for Yamadera to Yamagata. If you cannot see the conductor on board, just go to Yamagata and show your pass at the ticket gate in Yamagata station. You can pay extra there too.

      You don’t need to get off at Yamadera anyway.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Jo says:

    Hello, I have bought the JR East pass and am researching on some places to visit. Does the pass cover the trip from Shinjuku (where I’m staying at) to Matsushima? Also, can you recommend some places I can visit using the JR East pass?
    Thank you!

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