Legendary temples and shrines, iconic coastal landscapes, and delicious seafood
The Matsushima area, located just 30 minutes northeast of Sendai by train, is centered on the iconic Matsushima Bay, known as one of the Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan thanks to the hundreds of pine-clad islets that dot the bay. There are many ways of taking in the view: from the water on a sightseeing cruise or SUP tour, from a panoramic vista along the Oku-Matushima Olle trail, from the window of a fashionable hilltop cafe like Le Roman, or from the hot spring baths at Matsushima Onsen hotels. You can even set foot on the islands—some like Fukuurajima are accessible by bridge from the mainland. Though nowadays the area is best known for the scenery, historically Matsushima was a place of worship that Buddhists would make pilgrimages to. That history can be appreciated at sites like Godaido Temple, Oshima Island, and Zuiganji Temple. On the southern side of Matsushima Bay is Shiogama, known as the Sushi Capital of Japan thanks to its concentration of sushi restaurants and the fact that Shiogama Port lands the largest catch of maguro tuna in all of Japan. You can watch the catch being auctioned off every morning at the Shiogama Fish Market.