Monday, July 15

Shiogama Minato Matsuri Boat Picnic

Watch the colourful boat parade from the water!


Shiogama’s ‘Minato Matsuri’ festival has been named one of ‘Three Great Boat Festivals’ of  Japan, and is one of the most exciting summer events along Miyagi’s coastline.


Every year on the ‘Umi-no-hi’ (Marine Day) public holiday in July, sacred omikoshi (portable shrines) are carried from Shiogama Shrine through the streets to Shiogama Port, where they are loaded onto colourful festival boats called ‘Ryu-maru’ (dragon boat) and ‘Hou-maru’ (pheonix boat). Accompanied by traditional music and a huge display of colourful flags, the festival boats lead a massive parade of over 100 local fishing boats around the port and out into Matsuhima Bay. 


On this tour, you can experience the highlights of the festival as the locals do! After exploring the festival action in town and watching the heavy omikoshi be carried down the 200+ front steps of Shiogama Shrine, you will board a local boat to watch the exciting boat parade up-close from the water! 


Sit back, relax and enjoy some local food and sake as you soak up the sun, sights and sounds of summer in Japan!


What’s Included

> Seat on local boat to watch the fireworks from the water
> Local 'obento' style picnic dinner & local sake
> Private English speaking guide

Not included

> Any additional meals and drinks
> Transport to/from the meeting and ending points
> Anything not included in the above included list

Meeting place



Meet at the ticket gates of Hon-Shiogama Station. Your guide will be waiting for you, holding the Tohoku Local Secret Tours logo: 



Head to Shiogama Shrine to watch the omikoshi (portable shrine) be carried down the front steps. 

It is a true physical challenge for the festival participants as they attempt to balance the heavy shrine on their shoulders, whilst navigating it down over 200 very steep, slippery stone steps! 


From here the shrines will be carried through the streets of Shiogama to the port area, where they will be loaded onto the colourful dragon and phoenix parade boats. 

Accompanied by traditional music and dancing, the festival boats will then lead a huge parade of local fishing boats waving large ‘Tairyobata’ (big catch flags) around the port area and out into Matsushima bay.



After watching the omikoshi make it safely down the shrine steps, head back to the station and jump on a local train to Tagajo Station. Here a local boat captain will be waiting to take you to nearby Shichigahama to board the picnic boat! 



Head out onto the water to watch the start of the main festival parade of the ‘Ryu-maru’ (dragon boat), ‘Hou-maru’ (pheonix boat) and over 100 fishing boats. 

Enjoy the action up close and away from the crowded shoreline! 

Whilst taking in the scenery, enjoy a local ‘obento’ style picnic lunch and wash it down with some local sake! 



Once the main parade has passed by, head back to shore. 

Your friendly captain will take you back to JR Tagajo Station.



Tour ends at Tagajo Station. 

Head back to Hon-Shiogama Station to watch the end of the festival (the omikoshi will be carried back through the streets and returned to Shiogama Shrine), or head back to Sendai Station (20 min train ride).



Hon-Shiogama Station
09:30~12:30 (3 hours)
2-10 persons
6000 (※approx. $56 USD)
Sign-up Deadline
Reservations accepted until noon of the previous day (July 14)
Cancellation Policy
Up to three days prior, no cancellation fee.
Two days prior: 20%
Day before: 30%
On the day: 100%
If the minimum number of participants is not met the event will be cancelled.


Basic Plan

Price 6000 (approx. $56 USD)

Are you looking for a ‘deeper’ kind of travel?

At Tohoku ‘Local Secret’ Tours we can also suggest custom-made itineraries to meet your travel needs! You want to experience what’s unique to Tohoku.
You want to visit the places where the locals go; the places not listed in guidebooks!
You want to meet and interact with local people. You want to take your time exploring Tohoku so you need a guide, or perhaps an English-speaking driver...
...whatever you need for your Tohoku travel, we have it covered!
Feel free to contact us with any inquiries. We will respond within two business days after receiving your message.

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Sunday, July 14
Shiogama Fireworks Boat Picnic
Monday, July 15
Shiogama Minato Matsuri Boat Picnic
August 3 – 6
Tohoku Summer Festival Marathon (August 3 – 6)
August 3~5
Summer Festival Fever in Aomori
August 5 -6
Star Festival Duo: Akita Kanto & Sendai Tanabata
October 4-6
Active Autumn in the Countryside
August 31
Omagari Fireworks Bus Tour (August 31)
Saturday, Sept 28
Sendai Festival Fever: ‘Suzume-odori’ workshop & after-party
June 23 (Sunday)
Photo Session at Tagajo Iris Festival
April 10-23 (Weekdays only)
Perfect ‘Hanami’ Picnic at Shiogama-Jinja (Shinto)Shrine
April 22 – 25
Spring in Tohoku (April 22 – 25)
Experience New Year in Japan
Beauty Pampering & ‘Pageant of Starlight’
[CLOSE] Matsushima by night: Autumn light-up!

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