The small town of Matsushima adds a rustic element to the big bay sprinkled with about 260 islets that are covered in pines. Known historically for its reputation of outstanding beauty, Matsushima’s namesake is self-explanatory: Matsushima means “Pine Islands,” which describes the view from the bay. Home to Zuiganji and Entsuin, the town is rather small, but has culturally important and naturally gorgeous sites to see. Home to fresh seafood, Matsushima’s famous oysters are available between October and March. The town’s small size makes Matsushima easy to enjoy with just a day trip, less than an hour from Sendai Station.

The bay can be viewed on a leisurely one hour cruise offering a close-up view of the famous islets of Matsushima. There are a few small islands connected by bridge for additional sightseeing and photo opportunities. For those staying overnight, the bay offers several hotels with onsen facilities.

What To See