I made the journey out to visit Matsushima, one of the three most scenic spots in Japan alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate. Matsushima is located in the Miyagi prefecture, half an hour via train from Sendai or 2.5 hours from Tokyo, and is known for its pine-covered limestone archipelago. From Tokyo, take a bullet train to Sendai Station. From there, you can take the Tohoku line to Matsushimakaigan Station.
Taking a sight seeing boat is an absolute must! A 10 minute walk from Matsushimakaigan Station are boat tours that depart on a regular basis. They offer different routes and packages. My tour lasted about an hour and circled around Matsushima Bay, allowing me to admire a considerable amount of islands. Each island had it’s own unique characteristics, so there was never a boring moment!
Along the shore, you can spot an intriguing red wooden bridge that leads up to Godaido Temple. It’s a small Buddhist temple that houses statues of Godaimyo, and is only opened up to the public every 33 years, last being opened in 2006.
If you’re up for a nice walking trail, you can visit nearby Fukuurajima, one of the pine-covered islands accessible from the main land. In order to get there, you’ll need to purchase a ticket before crossing Fukuurabashi Bridge. It’ll take roughly an hour to loop around the island. Fukuurajima has a garden, some views of the bay, and a small temple called Benzaiten Temple adorned with rows of daruma.
A few other points of interest are the Date Masamune Historical Museum, Kanrantei Tea House and Matsushima Museum, and a number of temples such as Zuiganji Temple. There are plenty of sites and things to do in the area. If you have enough time for everything, then why not check it all out?
Have you been to Matsushima? If so, what were some of your favorite spots?