View of Matsushima, Inland Sea, c. 1910
“Godaido Temple is on a small pine-covered islet to the left of the landing stage and is accessible by two short bridges. The present structure was reconstructed by Date Masamune. In the temple are installed images of the five guardian Buddhist deities. The islet is often drawn in pictures as the symbol of Matsushima.”
– Japan: The Official Guide, Tourist Industry Bureau, Ministry of Transportation, 1962
“Godaido is very distinctive for its location on a small island on the coast of Matsushima, connected to the mainland by a short wooden foot bridge. The present building dates from 1604, built by the local feudal daimyo [lord] Date Masamune.
“The first Godaido temple was constructed in 807. In 828, five Nyorai statues were enshrined within its premised. These statues are disclosed to the public only once every 33 years (last disclosed in 2006). The hall’s exterior is decorated by small carvings of the twelve animals of the zodiac. The brilliantly carved decorations of the main building as well as in other buildings on-site have been designated as Japanese national treasures.”