Picturesque scenery of the sea created from islands floating atop the bay
North of Sendai, there is Matsushima, beautiful and picturesque scenery located in an inlet along the Pacific coast. Known as one of the Three Views of Japan for centuries, this area which has been designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty has continued to capture the hearts of many travelers. There are islands, big and small, floating on top the blue waters of Matsushima Bay, and the beauty of this wonderful scenery, retained from the wildness of nature such as the brilliant pines growing lushly on the small islands and the white rock walls made from the waves hitting them, has the taste of the real Japan. Full of various expressions throughout the four seasons and the passing of time, the area leaves a special impression on visitors.
Many historic sites left at Matsushima
The highlights of Matsushima aren’t just the areas of scenic beauty on the islands floating on the sea. There remain many famous temples that were built in the old times and continue to relate a sumptuous history. The first daimyo (feudal lord) of Sendai, Masamune Date, moved a teahouse, Kanran-tei that he had acquired from Hideyoshi Toyotomi to Matsushima to be used by generations of daimyo for enjoying the cool of the evening and moon-viewing. Then, there is Zuigan-ji Temple which was established in the 9th century and later became the family temple for the Date clan; Godai-do Hall in which the statue of Godai Myoo, an image that is rarely displayed to the public, is enshrined; Ojima Island which is reached by a vermilion-lacquered bridge, and is an island of grottos where monks practice their beliefs and the dead are worshiped via memorial services; and many other historic sites which can be enjoyed through a tour of the area.
From land or sea, the view is beautiful
There are various ways to enjoy Matsushima. If you want to view that perfect sight, the Four Views of Matsushima where you can get that panoramic view of the 260 islands on Matsushima Bay and The Park of the Pine Tree that Sent Saigyo Home where you can enjoy the perfect view of flowers and islands during the season of the cherry blossoms are famous. If you want to get an even closer view of the islands, then enjoy a cruise around the islands. Also, since rental bikes are available, it’s great to ride around the Matsushima shore. And Matsushima is famous too as a moon-viewing spot, but aside from the evenings, the view during sunrises and sunsets are also exceptional. You will want to take your sweet time enjoying the changing expressions of Matsushima hour by hour.