Map around Matsushima
1) Kanrantei 2) Godaidou temple
3) Zuiganji temple 4) Entsu-in mausoleum
5) Ojima island 6) Soukanzan 7) Fukuura Island
8) Shidaikan (Four Great Views)
a) Ootakamori, b) Tomiyama, c) Tamon-yama
Matsushima is about 260 small islands in the range of about 10 km of Matsushima Bay.
It is located 20 km northeast of central Sendai city.
It has been known as one of "Three Views of Japan" for a long time.
(Other two spots are "Ama-no-Hashidate" in Kyoto Prefecture and "Miyajima" in Hiroshima Prefecture.)
"Matsu" means "pine tree", and "shima" means "island".
As its name suggests, most islands are covered with pine trees.
Originally, there were many hills in this area.
Tens of thousands years ago, the 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 feudal lord of Sendai area in the 16th to 19th centuries, used this bay as a military port, so some historical 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 several hotels.
The area is near Matsushima-kaigan station of JR Senseki Line, so we can visit Matsushima easily.
By great earthquake on March 11, 2011, large tsunami rushed this bay.
But, because many islands adjoin each other, the condition weakened the power of tsunami, so the damage of the coast area of Matsushima was relatively light fortunately.
Sightseeing spots around Matsushima-Kaigan station
The town around JR Matsushima-kaigan station is the most popular area.
There are some sightseeing spots and the pleasure boats cruising Matsushima Bay leave from here.
And there are many souvenir shops and hotels.
The main sightseeing spots are the following.
Matsushima Bay cruising
You should tour around Matsushima Bay by pleasure boat.
There are a lot of islands in Matsushima Bay, so you can enjoy the scenery on the sea.
A few companies operate some cruise boats.
They have various cruising routes.
Most boats leave from the pier near Godaidou temple.
Many of them cruise around the Bay and return to the pier.
Other boats are operated between the pier and Marine Gate Shiogama (A ship terminal in Shiogama city) near Hon-Shiogama station on JR Senseki Line.
It is convenient to visit both Matsushima and Shiogama.
Observatories on the hills
There are some observatories around Matshima Bay.
But each spot is a little distant from the town of Matshima-kaigan.
And, no route bus is operated.
Therefore, when you visit these observatory, you need to use a rental car.
Soukanzan is an observatory located about 2 km south of Matsushima-kaigan station.
It is on a top of 43-meter 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 two bays from here.
Shidaikan means "four great views".
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 a name of the impression of the view.
Scenery from Ootakamori
Scenery from Tomiyama
- Ootakamori (大高森)
It is the observatory on the top of a hill in the center of Miyato island.
It is located about 8 km east of Matsushima-kaigan town.
The observatory is at the level of 106 meters.
We can see Matsushima to the west, then the sunset is beautiful.
The impression name is Soukan (壮観, Magnificent View).
- Tomiyama (富山)
It is the observatory on the top of Mount Tomi.
It is located about 5 km northeast of Matsushima-kaigan 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 (麗観, Beautiful View).
Scenery from Tamon-yama
Scenery from Oogidani
- Tamon-yama (多聞山)
It is the observatory on the top of Mount Tamon.
It is located about 6 km south of Matsushima-kaigan town.
The observatory is at the level of 56 meters.
We can see wild waves of Pacific Ocean.
The impression name is Ikan (偉観, Grand View).
- Oogidani (扇谷)
It is the observatory on the top of Mount Oogidani.
It is located about 2 km south-southwest of Matsushima-kaigan town.
The observatory is also at the level of 56 meters, and is located to the west of Soukanzan.
The impression name is Yuukan (幽観, Enchanting View).
How to get here
By JR Senseki Line, get off at Matsushima-kaigan station.
About 30 to 40 minutes from Sendai.