“Forty-Seven Tales of Matsushima” 

Sometimes a temple is much more than just a temple. Long before they became tourist attractions, Matsushima’s islands, monuments, stones, and temples were places of great spiritual and historical significance.

Prompted by a child who asked former Matsushima Board of Education Chief Shigeyuki Sato why Matsushima had so few folktales, Sato compiled stories stretching back more than 1000 years.

The Matsushima Goodwill Guide Association labored to translate these folktales into English and recently released a second edition of the “Forty-Seven Tales of Matsushima” to bring Matsushima’s history to new audiences.

This collection of history, folktales, and illustrations takes the reader from the islet of Oshima at the time of the wizard-like priest Kenbutsu Shonin to the tragic love story of Kotaro and Koren, whose legacy includes a special type of rice cracker you can still enjoy in Matsushima today.

The Matsushima Goodwill Guides stated they hope that this book will help foreign visitors learn about the region’s culture and the way of life of its people. 

Where can you find it? 

This limited edition of 500 is available for sale for 1200 yen at

  • Kanrantei Tea House*,
  • Zuiganji Temple,
  • Entsuin Temple
  • JR Kaigan Station Visit Japan information booth

*  Kanrantei Tea House also has a sample copy available for browsing while you enjoy tea and sweets.

 Matsushima Goodwill Guide Association

The Matsushima Goodwill Guide Association was established in 1986 to guide foreign visitors around places like Zuiganji and Entsuin Temples. Volunteer guides are available at Zuiganji Temple on Sundays from 10-3pm at no charge.  Volunteer guides can also be scheduled on other days by calling 022-258-1295 (English and Japanese.) There will be a charge for this service which includes transportation fees of the guide.