“Matsushima ah! A-ah, Matsushima, ah! Matsushima, ah!”. The speechless admiration from Matsuo Bashō, the great poet in Edo period, is exactly the same expression I had at first glance of the beautiful Matsushima.
In my recent trip to Japan, I had one quick stop in Sendai and decided to go on a boat trip to be amazed by the beautiful scenery of Matsushima. And I was not disappointed at all! One of the three most scenic spots in Japan, Matsushima groups hundreds of small islands in the Miyagi Prefecture, some of which can be visited or passed by boat, navigating through Matsushima Bay.
I took the popular route from Sendi to Matsushima Bay by using JR Senseki line to Hon-Shiogama, then walked about 5-10 minutes to Shiogama Pier, hopping onto a sightseeing boat to view the famous islands along the bay. But you can also do it the other way around by traveling to Matsushima first then taking the boat to Shiogama.
Both Japanese and English audio guides are provided for visitors to understand the history and the importance of each spot passed along the trip.
One of the islands I enjoyed in this passage to Matsushima was Kanejima, also known as Bell island. The name reflects the sound of the big waves that hit the island. It has also been eroded by the waves, causing the breaks into 4 entrances, allowing me to witness the beauty of the nature.
The other highlight is Godaido temple, located outstandingly and considered as the Matsushima symbol. The shrine faces the blue, opening to a panoramic view of Matsushima bay.
You will see that Matsushima is also a Zen space since there are Buddha statues and meditation sites around here. I had a chance to roam in a Zen temple called Zuiganji. Since the very first step, I could feel the serenity embracing the place.
A Zen garden stands inside the temple, inviting me to appreciate the tranquility, shutting down from the chaotic world outside. Highly recommended in the season of fall when you can seize the moments of colorful leaves!
I was truly in awe of these beautifully peaceful spaces. Definitely want to come back and recommend that you guys visit the Zen and stunning Matsushima!