About Michinoku Date Masamune Historical Museum
The Rikuo Date Masamune History Museum, located on Matsushima Island in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, is a historical museum that introduces the career of Date Masamune, the first lord of the Sendai domain, through wax figures. Date Masamune (1567-1636) was a famous local daimyo of Ou in the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the founder of the Sendai clan in the Edo period. As a result of smallpox in his childhood, he lost the sight in his right eye and was known as the one-eyed dragon.
The Rikuo Date Masamune History Museum houses more than 200 wax figures of the same size, recreating in 25 scenes the turbulent life of Date Masamune, who was born during the war years and laid the foundation for Sendai’s prosperity. Visitors can learn about the career of Date Masamune from the scenes of his birth to his first battle and the construction of Sendai Castle, etc. In particular, a wax figure of Masamune riding a horse is so lifelike and expressive that one feels that the horse is ready to carry Masamune to the battlefield.
In addition to the wax figure of Date Masamune, the museum also exhibits wax figures of 50 great men raised in Tohoku, including Shiko Munakata, Kenji Miyazawa, and Hideyo Noguchi, as well as wax figures of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Nobel Prize winner in physics Masatoshi Koshiba, and other popular figures of the past. The wax figures of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Nobel Prize winner Masatoshi Koshiba are also in the museum.
How to get there
(1) 8 minutes on foot from Matsushima-kaigan Station on the Senseki Line.
(2) 10 mins drive from Matsushima-kaigan IC on Sanriku Expressway.
I was very much looking forward to visiting the museum, and I read historical manga with my children to acquire some background knowledge. The museum provides detailed audio commentary while recreating the life of Masamune with many wax figures in realistic detail.
The facilities were more extensive than I had expected, but the pathways are narrow and you have to walk one way through them in order to get to the museum. Yet a group of more than five children and four adults with no masks rushed in from behind, coughing violently and without masks. The toddlers were sick and limp. A group of middle-school-aged children ran back and forth, coughing and talking loudly and unreservedly, taking up half the aisles of the facility and doing whatever they wanted. I asked the staff to walk in a group and put on a mask, but they didn’t respond well to my request.
The child cried in frustration. Thinking back, we didn’t even take his temperature at the reception. I am still angry at the negligent management, which would not have missed a violent coughing fit.
There is a Date Masamune reader and a photobook with detailed explanations of the facilities in the souvenir corner, both of which are surprisingly easy-to-understand and educational books that can be enjoyed by children and adults. There is also a sample of the book, which is highly recommended.
I bought the two books for 1,000 yen to make up for the time I didn’t get to experience the museum.