|Historic Scenic Spot, Filled with Water
Matsushima consists of numerous islands scattered around the blue ocean both large and small covered with pine trees. Matsushima has been loved for its beautiful scenery, and is one of Japan's Three Scenic Points, together with Miyajima in Hiroshima and Ama-no-hashidate in Kyoto. Matsushima is less than a one-hour train ride from Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture, the largest city in the Tohoku region.
Matsushima became well known in the early 17th century when Masamune Date, a famous feudal lord in the area, restored the Zuiganji temple, which was originally constructed in the 9th century near Matsushima. Later, around the end of the 17th century, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), who is considered the master of Haiku poetic literature, visited Matsushima and gave it the highest possible praise for its beautiful scenery in his book of journey entitled "Okuno Hosomichi."
There are about 260 islands scattered around Matsushima Bay both large and small, and the beauty of the scenery is beyond description. From a sight-seeing boat, you can see beautiful islands covered with pine trees and rocks shaved by the waves. On the coast, there are numerous historic cultural assets that present Matsushima's history of prosperity, such as Zuiganji temple-a fine example of 17th century Buddhist temple architecture.
Photos: (Top) The Matsushima Bay (Ministry of Foreign Affairs); (right) The Godaido Hall of Zuiganji Temple (Miyagi Prefecture).
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