There are three famous “scenic spots” in Japan. Matsushima is one of them. While there certainly are plenty of other areas in Japan which are just as gorgeous, Matsushima sure can hold its own. Why is that? I’ll let Matsuo Basho tell you what’s up:
A-ah, Matsushima, ah!
Those were his exact words when the famous poet first laid eyes upon the beautiful islets. Matsushima is just off the coast of Sendai and is absolutely covered in lush forests. It’s also home to some of Japan’s most fantastic sunsets. If you want a great area for hiking, camping, or small temple viewing, Matsushima is a must. Perhaps one of the most iconic areas of Matsushima is the Godai-do, or the temple of five elements. It’s a small unassuming temple set upon a boulder. It’s connected to the mainland by an arching vermilion bridge and is surrounded by large pine trees. This is an ideal area to look out on the ocean and daydream.
Being right by the ocean, Matsushima is a fantastic place for a boat ride. check for times and ticket prices before you get there if you want to partake! I know what you may be thinking. Wasn’t the coast of Sendai destroyed during the 2011 tsunami? Not completely. Matsushima miraculously suffered very little damage at that time. Despite this, there was a noticeable decline in tourism following the tsunami. Matsushima is still going strong and is more than ready for the tourists to come back and take in the bounty of nature. Matsushima may not have the most impressively large temples in all of Japan, but where it lacks in size it more than makes up for in the quite beauty of nature. Here simplicity is beautiful.