Miyagi, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:39PM
One of Japan's Top Three Most Scenic Views
Matsushima Bay is one of Japan's three most scenic views, and is a must-see while in Japan. The bay is dotted with over 200 small islands covered with pine trees. Sightseeing cruises are the most popular way to see the bay, and there are a multiple cruises that are anywhere from 20-50 minutes and cost less than $15 USD.
From Saigyo Modoshi-no Matsu Park, the view of Matsushima Bay is incredible. It is one of the most popular spots in the area to take in the view.
Oshima is also worth a visit. It is a small, pine tree covered island close to the Matshushima Pier. The island is accessible from a short bridge, which was destroyed in the 2011 tsunami but was rebuilt in 2011. The island is a perfect place for a relaxing walk- it used to be a retreat spot for monks, and meditation caves are still on the island today.
Zuiganji Temple is one of the most famous Zen temples northern Japan. It was founded in 828, and became a Zen temple three centuries later. The temple is known for its beautifully painted sliding doors, as well as the beauty of the temple grounds.
The Main Hall of the temple emerges at the end of the wooded path. Attached is the Kuri, the Zen kitchen where the meals were prepared in the past. The main hall and kitchen are both designated national treasures.
Across from the Kuri is the Seiryuden, also known as Zuiganji Art Museum. The museum exhibits some of the temple's treasures, including its golden fusuma sliding doors, and artifacts of the Date Clan, such as a life-sized wooden stature of Date Masamune clothed in his armor.
Fukuurajima, or Fukuura Island is a pine-covered island that is accessible by bridge. The island is accessible to the public, which many of the islands are not. There is a botanical garden and walking trails. This bridge was also damaged in the 2011 tsunami but was since rebuilt.
Entsu-in Temple is a beautiful temple in the area. There are four gardens- a rock garden, a rose garden, a moss garden, and a dry landscape garden. Various flowers and trees are planted all along the temple grounds, making for a beautiful view all year round.
Also in Matsushima is the Karentei, or "a place to view ripples on the water," a Momoyama-style tea house originally built in Kyoto by the shogun Toyotomoi Hideyoshi, but was moved to Miyagi when the teahouse was given to Date Masamune, the most powerful feudal lord in Miyagi. The house has sliding doors decorated in gold, and there is a small museum behind the teahouse with relics of this time period, like armor and weapons.
Godaido is a small temple just next to the Matsushima pier. It was built in 807, and contains five Buddhist relic statues only shown to the public every 33 years (the last time was in 2006). The outside of the temple has carvings of the twelve animals of the lunar calendar on the outside. The temple did not suffer any damage in the 2011 Tohoku disaster.