18 May 2019
After visiting a number of places that morning in Matsushima, the idea of having a break at a teahouse was very appealing. I was even more excited about this since I came across stories about Kanrantei throughout my visits to other historical places in Matsushima and Sendai. Even though it was a Saturday, there were barely any other visitors at the time of my visit so I almost had the place to myself.
Kanrantei (観瀾亭) was originally part of one of Japan’s most famous unifier – Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Fushimi Castle which is located in Kyoto. Hideyoshi gifted the teahouse to Date Masamune, the daimyo (feudal lord) who founded Sendai, though it was Masamune’s son – Date Tadamune who moved the teahouse to its present location in Matsushima during the Momoyama period.
The teahouse was built in the shion-zukuri architectural style and is known for its fusuma (sliding doors) which are decorated with paintings in gold. Kanrantei was used as a guesthouse to entertain the daimyo’s wives, visiting princesses and envoys from the Shogun. The name “Kanrantei” meant a place to view ripples on the water, but the teahouse is especially famous to view the full moon in autumn. In September, the teahouse has special evening hours for visitors to enjoy the full moon.
Kanrantei is a good place to take a break and enjoy the views of Matsushima bay while having green tea and Japanese sweets at 300-700 yen depending on the set you choose. I chose the zunda mochi set, a specialty of Sendai. A small museum – the Matsushima Museum is located at the rear of the teahouse and showcases the Date clan’s relics from the feudal times.
- April to October: 8:30-17:00 (last order 16:30)
- November to March: 8:30-16:30 (last order 16:00)
Admission fee: 200 yen
Kanrantei is just a 5-minutes walk from Matsushima-Kaigan Station, along the same side of the road as the pleasure / sightseeing boat pier. It is located opposite the main road of where Entsuin and Zuiganji are.
How to get to Matsushima-Kaigan station: From Sendai Station, take the JR Senseki Line (40 mins, 420 yen).