On a narrow street just off the main strip in the heart of the sightseeing area of Matsushima sits a little guesthouse. Uchi, meaning home in Japanese, owned by Eiju Nakamura, is not your typical lodging spot in Japan.
For starters, Eiju speaks English fluently and lives in the guesthouse he operates. Eiju is a very generous and outgoing person. If you ask politely he will be more than willing to drive you to local destinations around Matsushima. And if you want to buy the ingredients necessary to make Japanese dishes, he will go with you to the local grocery store to help you with your shopping needs. He can also answer your questions specifically about Japanese culture.
Being that Uchi is a guesthouse and not a hotel or Ryokan (Japanese inn), there are a few differences. The toilet, shower, and basin facilities are all communal. There is also a common area where you can meet with other guests staying at the guesthouse. In the common area, you can cook, chat, or even listen to Eiju's large collection of vinyl records of Jazz, Soul, and many others. Usually, at a Ryokan, they serve a full breakfast in the morning as part of the lodging fee.
Uchi has a light continental breakfast for the guest including bread and jam as well as coffee. As an added bonus, with each booking Eiju has a complimentary drink for each guest to try. Drinks include (Wine, Japanese beer, Japanese sake, and Japanese soft drinks).Uchi has a light continental breakfast for the guest including bread and jam as well as coffee. As an added bonus, with each booking Eiju has a complimentary drink for each guest to try. Drinks include (Wine, Japanese beer, Japanese sake, and Japanese soft drinks).
Uchi guesthouse has 3 different rooms depending on your accommodation needs. There is a single room that charges ￥3800 a night, a double at ￥7200 a night (￥3600 per person), and a triple at ￥10200 a night (￥3400 per person). It is also worth noting that during high season and weekends there is a ￥200 surcharge for lodging.
To put this in perspective, most business hotels charge anywhere from ￥5000+ sometimes without any amenities or free Wi-Fi (Uchi guesthouse has free Wi-Fi). You get that and more at Uchi, not to mention you need not Japanese language skills to reserve a room, ask questions, report a problem.
Getting to Uchi is easy from Sendai, but choosing which train you want to ride may be a little difficult. No matter which train you choose, the ticket will cost you ￥410. Senseki Line: The Senseki Line on track 10 is the slowest of the bunch because it is a local train with many stops. It takes about 40 min on the local. Get off at Matsushima Kaigan Station and follow the sidewalk all the way until right before the second traffic light and turn left. It is about 50 m from the turn on your right.
Tohoku (Main) Line: The Tohoku Main Line is located on Track 1, 2, and sometimes 4 or 5. This one is by far the fastest at 25min with minimal stops. However, it stops at Matsushima Station and not Matsushima Kaigan Station. From Matsushima Station, go out the main entrance and walk to the traffic light. Turn right and turn right again right after the train bridge. Follow that road (about 1km) all the way to a "T" and turn left. Uchi guesthouse is about 200m from the "T".
Train Issues: The Senseki-Tohoku Line has replaced the Senseki Line Express. As a word of caution, It does not stop at Matsushima Station or Matsushima Kaigan Station. It will stop at Takagi-machi Station which is a long walk from Uchi Guesthouse. (If you accidentally stop here, call Eiju and he'll pick you up at the Station.)
The Tohoku (Main) Line has a specific branch that goes to the city of Rifu. You do not want to take this train as it stops in Rifu and returns to Sendai. The final destinations on the trains you want to take are Ichinoseki (Not to be confused with Ishinomaki) and Kogota. This train also has the least number of train times as compared to the Senseki Line.
The Senseki Line has a train that stops at Higashi-Shiogama Station, which means you might have to wait a long time while you transfer as the next train might be the Senseki-Tohoku Line.
Costs: Single ￥3800 a night Double ￥7200 a night (￥3600 per person) Triple ￥10200 a night (￥3400 per person) Train Fare ￥410
If you are still unsure about how to get there, check out the video below.
You will not be disappointed staying at Uchi in Matsushima.