Shiogama is one of the place that was heavily affected during the Great Eastern Earthquake. A lot of infrastructures got destroyed during that sad event but instead of sulking and feeling bitter about the disaster, the strong people of Shiogama got up collectively in build the city back to its glorious days.
Shiogama have the Fishmarket and Shiogama shrine as its main tourist spots however there’s more to these than just this two tourist spots. If you want to see how old and new Japan this is one of the places here in Japan that you have to visit! The warehouses, ryokans, little shrines were renovated, some old pieces still remain. The roads leading to the new establishments like hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. were already cemented while the road leading to the “Old” Shiogama were brickroads.
While we were roaming around the street, we found a store that sells old style Japanese toys and candies. Nothing beats vintage items!
Next stop we went to one of the oldest ryokan in town. It was heavily damaged during the disaster. The people of Shiogama help together and put money just to have it restored because of its rich history. The first floor of the ryokan is now a café while the second floor serves as a mini museum for the some artifacts from the fast. Different rooms were designed by color and design. The smell of tatami is enticing (I am not an addict, I just really have a hypersensitive nose so I have heightened sense of smell) in each room. Plus the furniture in the past were still there. What I love about these rooms are wood in graving,the glass designs, and the sakura design in the ceiling.
The trip in ryokan gave us an idea of what Japanese inns were like during the old days. Our tour guide brought us to one of the famous omiyage (souvenir) shops in Shiogama. She was so nice she even bought us dorayaki (doraemon’s fave food) for snack. Shiogama and Sendai have almost the same souvenirs so I did not bother to buy anymore.
The smell of salt also lingers in the city (in a good way) since Shiogama is a coastal area. And Shiogama comes from the word shio meaning salt. Until now the town still produces salt using old techniques by boiling saltwater in a fire. Aside from the salt and it large fish products Shiogama have so many restaurants that serves sushi, ramen, etc. It is always a great idea to combine Shiogama and Matsushima together when you have free time for a whole day because of proximity. It’s like getting the best of both worlds in one go.