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Matsushima Bay mapMatsushima Matsushima is about 260 small islands in the range of about 10 km of Matsushima Bay, and is located 20 km northeast of central Sendai city.
It is known as one of three most scenic spots in Japan.
"Matsu" means "pine tree", and "shima" means "island".

Original hill area had sunk into the sea, then the peaks of the hill became the islands.
Most islands are made of soft rocks, then the waves have washed them and we can see the white or gray rocky islands covered with pine trees.

Date Clan, the lord of Sendai region in the 16-19th centuries, used this bay as a military port, so some buildings and temples for Date Clan were built around here.

Most popular area is located on the northwest coast of Matsushima Bay, and there are some sightseeing spots and hotels.
It is near Matsushima-kaigan station on JR Senseki Line.
And most pleasure boats leave from here.

By great earthquake on March 11, 2011, tsunami also rushed this bay.
But many islands weakened the power, so the damege of Matsushima shore area was light fortunately.

Kanrantei /1/

KanranteiIt is a palace of Date Clan, and is located near Matsushima Bay and 0.3 km east of Matsushima-kaigan station.
In the end of the 16th century, Masamune Date, a leading warload in this region, got a tea-ceremony house in Fushimi Castle in Kyoto from then shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
Masamune moved it to the Date's residence in Edo (Tokyo), then Tadamune, a Masamune's son, removed to here in the mid-17th century.
In the Japanese rooms, there are gilded sliding screens and gorgeous pictures are painted on them.
It is said that it was used as an entertainment or accommodation facility for important people.

Godaidou temple /2/

GodaidouIt is a Buddhist temple. It is located 0.2 km east of Kanrantei, and it is on a small island and we can visit there across a bridge.
Originally it was built in 807, after that Priest En'nin enshrined five Buddha statues in this when he founded Zuiganji temple. Current temple is rebuilt in 1604 by Masamune date.
The five statues are exposed only once every 33 years. The last exposition was in 2006. (We cannot see them until 2039.)

Zuiganji temple /3/

See the page of Zuiganji temple.

Entsuuin mausoleum /4/

Entsuuin templeIt is a mausoleum of Mitsumune Date, a son of 2nd lord Tadamune Date, and is on the west of Zuiganji temple.
He was both a good warrior and a good scholar, but died in Edo in 1645 at a mere 19 years of age. One theory holds that he was killed with poison by then government.
This mausoleum was built in 1647. It is very unique that some pictures of Western roses have been painted inside the mausoleum.

Ojima island /5/

OjimaIt is a small rocky island located 0.5 km southeast of Matsushima-kaigan station.
It is about 200 meters in length and 40 meters in width, and is connected with a bridge.
In the 12th century, Priest Kenbutsu performed the ascetic practices for 12 years in this island.
Then there are many rocky caverns carved Buddha statues inside and some small temples and monuments are built in the island.

Soukanzan observatory /6/

SoukanzanIt is an observatory located about 2 km south of Matsushima-kaigan station. It is on a 43-meters-high hill, and on a cape between Matsushima Bay and Shiogama Bay.
"Soukanzan" means "a mountain that we can see two sceneries", as the name suggests, we can enjoy both sceneries of the bays from here.

Shidaikan /7/

Shidaikan"Shidaikan" means "four great sceneries". Around Matsushima Bay, there are four nice observatories.
These are distantly-positioned each other, and we need to climb the top of each hill on foot. Each spot has the name of impression.

Ootakamori /7a/ : It is the observatory on the top of a hill in the center of Miyato island. It is located about 8 km east of central Matsushima town.
The observatory is at the level of 106 meters. We see Matsushima to the west, then the sunset is beautiful.
The impression name is "Soukan" (spectacular view).

Tomiyama /7b/ : It is the observatory on the top of Mount Tomi. It is located about 5 km northeast of central Matsushima town.
The observatory is at the level of 117 meters. There is a temple and we can enjoy the view there.
The impression name is "Reikan" (beautiful view).

Tamon'yama /7c/ : It is the observatory on the top of Mount Tamon. It is located about 5 km northeast of central Matsushima town.
The observatory is at the level of 56 meters. We can see wild waves of Pacific Ocean.
The impression name is "Ikan" (magnificent view).

Oogidani /7d/ : It is the observatory on the top of Mount Oogidani. It is located about 2 km south-southwest of central Matsushima town.
The observatory is also at the level of 56 meters, and is to the west of Soukanzan.
The impression name is "Yuukan" (subtle view).

Matsushima Bay cruising

I think you should tour around Matsushima bay by pleasure boat.
In Matsushima Bay, four companies operate some cruise boats. They have various cruising routes.
Most boats leave from the pier near Godaidou temple. Some boats are operated between the pier and "Marine Gate Shiogama" near Hon-Shiogama station on JR Senseki Line.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to Sendai city


By train on JR Senseki Line, it takes 27-40 minutes from Sendai to Matsushima-kaigan for Ishinomaki. (Both rapid train and local train are OK.)
To Hon-Shiogama, it takes about 26-30 minutes.


On the Sanriku expressway, from Sendai-Higashi entrance to Matsushima-kaigan exit about 17 km. It takes about 15 minutes.
Then about 3 km to central Matsushima town.

Inside painting of Kanrantei
Godaidou temple
Zuiganji temple
Entsuuin mausoleum
Ojima island
A view from Soukanzan observatory
Photo by "Mada minu fuukei o sagashite"
A view from Ootakamori
A view from Tomiyama
Photo by "Mada minu fuukei o sagashite"
A view from Tamon'yama
A view from Oogidani
Photo by "Mada minu fuukei o sagashite"
Sunset at Matsushima
Marine Gate Shiogama One of strange rocks in Matsushima Bay

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