Matsushima has been long celebrated as a place of romance, spirituality and elegance.
Explore the 260 small pine-covered islands which rise from the pale blue sea. Even the haiku master Matsuo Basho was left at a loss for words.
Matsushima’s landscape was seen as a sacred place which approached the beauty of paradise. The beauty and spiritual power of Matsushima attracted great monks, artists and powerful rulers.
The best way to appreciate Matsushima is by boat.
Daily cruises take passengers around Matsushima Bay, passing by islands like Nio and Kane which have been carved into delicate and intriguing shapes by the wind and water.
From December to March a cruise company offers special Oyster Lunch Cruises on weekends. In summer there are also special small boat tours between Matsushima and the dramatic stark white Saga-kei cliffs in neighboring Oku-Matsushima (Higashi-Matsushima City.)
From land, Matsushima can be appreciated from the Four Panoramic Views which offer visitors very different perspectives on the bay. They highlight the mystery, beauty and dynamism of the bay and its islands. Each direction offers a perfect balance of form and color as the small green isles of pine appear to float on the sea under a never-ending expanse of sky.
MAP A85 Matsushima Matsushima Miyagi-gun Miyagi
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U R Lhttp://www.matsushima.or.jp
On full moon nights, just after moonrise a gold wave of moonlight forms a glowing road over the bay to the moon. As the moon approaches its highest point, the road shifts from gold to silver.
In this shimmering white world the islands and pine trees exist only as shadows drawn against the sky and water.
Come enjoy the serenity of Matsushima’s sacred landscape by moonlight. Matsushima opens Kanrantei Tea House for special moon viewing events where you can watch the moon rise over Fukuurajima Island. A long red Fukuurabashi Bridge and Godaido Temple are also illuminated at night.
Zuiganji Temple is one of the greatest Zen Buddhist temples in northeastern Japan and is designated as a National Treasure.
It was established in 828 by Jikaku Taishi, and the temple as we know it today is the result of renovations undertaken in 1609 by Date Masamune, ruler of the Sendai area. It took 130 skilled craftsmen five years to complete the construction using lumber from Mt. Kumano from distant Wakayama Prefecture.
Highlights of Zuiganji Temple include the Sando approach that is lined with cedar trees and mysterious caves where monks once lived and prayed. The Hondo (Main Building) reopened in April 2016 and features gorgeous depictions of the natural world painted on sliding doors. The ornate Peacock Room is designated as a National Treasure.
MAP B91 Matsushima Matsushima Miyagi-gun Miyagi
T E L022-354-2023
U R Lhttp://zuiganji.or.jp(Japanese text only)
Next to Zuigan-ji Temple, Date Mitsumune(grandson of Masamune) is buried.
Beside calm atmosphere as Zen temple, the tomb house Sankei-den(national important cultural property) is painted with motif of western rose or gerbera, those are planted also in the western garden.
The first temple on the Sanriku 33 Kannon pilgrimage.
Night illumination for autumn leaves show the other appearance of Entsu-in.
MAP C67 Matsushima Matsushima Miyagi-gun Miyagi
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U R Lhttp://www.entuuin.or.jp(Japanese text only)
Godaido is a small worship hall said to be built in 807AD by Sakanoue Tamamuramaro. He was sent by the Imperial Court in Kyoto to conquer the Tohoku region. In 828AD, the founder of Zuiganji Temple, Jikaku Taishi, enshrined five Buddhist statues in this temple, which gave it its name.
Godaido is connected to the shore by two arched red bridges with deliberate openings between the planks to help people achieve concentration before reaching the worship hall.
Godaido was reconstructed in its present form by Date Masamune in 1604 and the first in the Tohoku region to be built in the Momoyama style of architecture. The hall is only opened to the public once every 33 years. Godaido is designated as a National Important Cultural Asset.
MAP D111 Matsushima Matsushima Miyagi-gun Miyagi
T E L022-354-2023
U R Lhttp://matsushima-kanko.com/en/
This tea house by the bay was once part of Fushimi-Momoyama Castle in Kyoto.
It was given to the Date family by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Masamune’s son Tadamune moved Kanrantei to its present location in 1645.
Kanrantei was used as a villa for the Date family and their guests to enjoy the cool of the evening and watch the moon rise over Matsushima Bay.
Today the tea house and neighboring museum are town-owned properties. Guests can enjoy green tea and seasonal sweets as they watch the ripples on Matsushima Bay, just as the Date family once did. It is also open for special evening events during full moons.
MAP E56 Matsushima Matsushima Miyagi-gun Miyagi
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Matsushima was once the memorial place for dead people, many memorial caves carved in tuff rock are found everywhere with toba or jizo.
Especially in Oshima, still 50 cave ruins are counted today and said to be the most was 108 caves.
MAP FOshima Matsushima Matsushima Miyagi-gun Miyagi
Small island about 6ha(15ac) connected by red bridge 252m(827ft) long.
Known as botanical treasure island, rich in many species of flowers, plants and trees.
Promenade and viewing place to see Matsushima Bay are set on the island.
MAP GFukuurashima Matsushima Matsushima Miyagi-gun Miyagi
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Sanriku Highway 5 min. from Matsushima-Kaigan IC
Tohoku Highway 30 min. from Taiwa IC
Matsushima-kaigan station on JR Senseki line (40 minutes from Sendai)
25 minutes walk from Matsushima station on JR Tohoku main line (24 minutes from Sendai)
White rocks are carved by wild waves, open sea shows a dynamic beauty.
Thus we know, Matsushima has great view of both inland bay and outer sea.