Another Side of Matsushima

Matsushima, a well-known tourist place in Miyagi prefecture, is famously called one of the three scenic views of Japan (Nihon sankei). Even though it is close to Sendai (only 30 minutes away by train), I had to admit I never had the desire to go there. Whenever I look up about Matsushima, it always shows me pictures the pine-islets and sunny weather together — almost the same combination and it did not encourage me to go. But then one day I decided to capture the beauty of Matsushima in different way. I set out deliberately on a sunny-cloudy day, hoping to get dramatic clouds in black and white. And I was satisfied by the results. This blog post shows what we could see if we travel there during less-appealing weather.

It was still sunny when I arrived in Matsushima station, around 4pm. I completely skipped going to Zuiganji, a temple that is said to be a must see, simply because I did not want to bump into crowd of people. Guessed I was blessed that day — hardly any tourist flocked the area. So I went straight to Oshima Island to view the bay from opposite side.

In this island I found quite an unobstructed view to the southern part of Matsushima Bay. Several small islands stretch as far as eye can see. Unfortunately sometimes sunny weather and sea give rather boring scenery, so I turned my back and set out to see Godaido, the symbol of Matsushima instead. It was already cloudy at this side.

Having fully explored Oshima Island, I walked towards Godaido while taking pictures here and there. I could see how tourism is the vein of the town of Matsushima, since the pathway along the coast provides great view into the sea. I suppose it would be great to see the whole bay aboard the various ships ready to take you for short excursions. Alas I was too cheapskate to try =).

A man nonchalantly walks down the pier with swagger.

Next destination was Fukuura Island. This is a much bigger island connected to the mainland via a long red-fenced bridge. In Fukuura we could walk along the path that is basically circling the whole island. One hour is all it takes to see every corners of the island.

It was getting dark when I explored the island. The sun has been engulfed by the clouds so pretty much the light has gone away. I stopped here and there along the path, but by the easternmost part of the island lies an observation deck in which I spent the longest. This spot gives the best view of the various small islands around the bay.

My favorite view from the observation deck in Fukuura Island.

When I decided to leave the island the sun has already set. The once occasionally-dim path was now almost entirely dark. It was hard to believe it was just around 7pm when you could hardly see everything around you under the shadows of the trees. The moment I got out to the island entrance though, I was welcomed by the light-up upon the bridge. These next four photos were probably my most favorites for the day.

View of Fukuura Island bridge from the island shore.
Fukuura Island bridge light-up at night.
Fukuura Island bridge and the nearby resort.
A dock for small boats, lit with lamps.

At approximately 8pm I decided to call it a day. It was nighttime and there was not much to see anymore in Matsushima. Plus I was starving I could eat a horse. Anyways I found important lesson in that even though the weather is not favorable for traveling, the idiom ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ rings true in this case. I got some unexpected great shots this time. I would try to go traveling next time even if it is raining, cloudy, or even snowy. Though for the latter case I might have to really force myself to do it hehe…

Useful links:

Matsuhima official website (English)


9 thoughts on “Another Side of Matsushima

  1. Nampak enak itu hotate tsubuyaki. Jika ada rezeki nak cuba juga.Indah pemandangan Matsushima di ambil waktu senja.
    InsyaAllah kami menginap di Sendai pada 18-20 bulan ini. Moga masih lagi belum gugur daun nya. Moga masih peak koyou season.


    1. Hi Diana,

      I regret to tell you that the autumn peak for Tohoku came a bit sooner that expected this year. The leaves have started to fall as of now. That being said, some places still have their full colors so keep your hopes high! End of November Sendai still has plenty to offer, so I hope you could really enjoy your trip.



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