Due to the continued global spread of the COVID19 virus and the associated impact upon public health and safely in Japan, reservations for all tours and experience programs will be SUSPENDED until May 2020, or until the situation improves and relevant restrictions upon travel are lifted.
We look forward to welcoming you back to Tohoku as soon as possible. In the meantime, please stay safe and well!
~ Inoutbound Sendai Matsushima Inc.
One night, Two days
From 18500 JPY
May ~ Oct
2 - 8 persons
Spend two days and one night as one of the islanders in the beautiful Urato Islands in Matsushima Bay!
Throw yourself into island life, soaking up the stunning scenery, savouring local flavours from blessings of the ocean and fields, and getting your hands dirty helping out with oyster farming activities! With few young people left on the islands to carry out the work of both agricultural and fisheries industries, make a difference through your visit by offering your time and physical help to benefit both the islanders and those visiting after you!
Be rewarded with warm hospitality, new experiences and new connections with the locals, who will make you feel right at home!
Meet your guide at passenger terminal ‘Marine Gate Shiogama’.
Jump aboard the Urato Islands Ferry bound for Hojima.
Along the way, the ferry will stop at Katsurashima Island, Nonoshima Island, Ishihama Wharf and Sabusawa Island. Take in views of the local aquaculture – oysters, nori and wakame – as you pass through Matsushima Bay, and enjoy the scenes of island life as you watch locals and visitors ‘hop’ between the islands.
Arrive at Katsurashima island, where your guide, Nobuyoshi-san, will be waiting for you with a friendly smile, potentially with an island cat or two in tow!
Spend the morning exploring the island with Nobuyoshi-san, discovering hidden spots that only a local would know as you learn about the fascinating history and culture of the Urato Islands including the local oyster industry!
Return to ‘Katsurashima Stay-Station’, the community centre of the island, and tuck-in to a delcious ‘obento’ style lunch box full of fresh ingredients from the land and sea of Urato Islands, made with love by the ‘Urato Mother’s Club’, a group of local women working in the fisheries industry of the islands.
Fuelled-up on island blessings, it’s time to show your gratitude and get to work!
Head to the island’s ‘oyster shack’ and meet your next local guide, Haruo-san, a local oyster farmer and guesthouse owner.
Learn about the history and culture of the local oyster industry as you try your hand at shucking oysters (no where near as easy as it looks!!) . Develop a new appreciation for the oyster farmers and the ‘Mukiko’ (oyster shuckers) who can shuck literally thousands of oysters in a day, some at the ripe age of 85+ years young!!
After all that hard work, it’s time to settle down for the evening and enjoy the quiet of island life. Embrace the serenity of ‘island time’ and watch the sun go down over Matsushima Bay.
Spend the evening at your ‘second home’, chatting with the friendly owners of ‘Pension Onigahama’, one of the guesthouses on the island. Enjoy a delicious meal featuring local ingredients and a quiet glass sake in the ambient lounge looking out over the pacific.
Awaken to another beautiful day on the islands! Enjoy some ‘island time’ before breakfast and saying goodbye to the Suzukis at Pension Onigahama.
Meet-up with Haruo-san once again, and switch back into ‘oyster-farmer’ mode! There are few young hands on the islands to support the local agricultural and fisheries industries. Use your visit to make a difference by providing your time and two hands to support farmers like Haruo-san in preparation for the next phase of oyster cultivation! Pictured below are scenes from assisting with moving the ‘seed oysters’ (baby oysters!) from the ‘nursery’ onto ropes, ready to be submerged back in the ocean to grow to maturity!
Leave something behind not only for the islanders, but future visitors to enjoy!
After all that hard work, reward yourself with a delicious lunch with Haruo-san featuring the fresh oysters you shucked the day before!
‘Island time’ flies by, and before you know it you’ll hear the approach of the Urato Island Ferry heading back to the mainland.
Say goodbye to the islands – but not for long. Your new friends will be waiting to welcome you ‘home’ to Urato Islands soon!