The town faces Matsushima Bay, famous for some 260 tiny islands (島 – shima) covered in pines (松 – matsu) – hence the name — and ranked as one of Japan’s Three Great Views. The town did not suffer significant damange due to the Great East Japan Earthquake; the tsunami damage was minimal. The temples, shrines, and sight seeing destinations are still there and still worth the trip. …WikiTravel
Zuigan-ji Temple (瑞巌寺). 8AM-3:30PM (sometimes later). Matsushima’s top Zen temple with over a thousand years of history, but not a top choice for relaxation: tickets are sold from vending machines and guides shouting into megaphones herd tour groups through the temple, which has been turning into a museum with everything of interest partitioned off and/or packaged in glass cases. The approach with its moss-covered Kannon statues is atmospheric though. Repairs on the main temple roof started in 2009 and are projected to last 5 or more years. ¥700.
Kanran-tei Pavilion (観覧亭). Originally built in Kyoto by famed Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi, this was eventually moved to Matsushima by Date Tadamune in 1645 and is the largest Momoyama-style tea house in Japan. An excellent place to stop for a ¥200 cup of tea (traditional Japanese sweets included) and a view of the Matsushima coastline.
Fukuura Island (福浦島; Fukuura-jima). Connected to the mainland by a long bridge, the island is crisscrossed in all directions by paths small and large, paved and muddy, well-trod and overgrown. A circuit of the island won’t take more than an hour and there are some very sparsely beautiful spots to be seen. An interesting anecdote, there is a local superstition that crossing the bridge with a girlfriend/boyfriend will cause a breakup.…WikiTravel
It’s an underappreciated nuance of Japanese culture that the public employment office is known as “Hello Work.” It’s an incredibly cute and festive name that you could easily imagine Rip Taylor shouting as he fires puffs of confetti into the air. (Japan Today)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested three persons, including a former member of a bosozoku group, over the alleged extortion of a male adult video (AV) star, reports Nikkan Sports (tokyoreporter.com)
Sendai High Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that found the Higashimatsushima government in Miyagi Prefecture responsible for the death of a municipal elementary school girl in the March 2011 tsunami. (Jiji)
Sendai District Court ruled on Thursday that the city government of Higashimatsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, is responsible for the death of a student at a municipal elementary school in the March 2011 massive tsunami. (Jiji Press)
Scandal-tainted former trade minister Yuko Obuchi and former Justice Minister Midori Matsushima retained their Lower House seats in Sunday’s snap general election, after focusing their campaigns on regaining voter trust. (Japan Times)
With less than a month until the end of the current Diet session, the government may be forced to give up on passing legislation promoting casino resorts in light of other legislative priorities.
The resignation of two scandal-scarred ministers could rapidly erode public support for a cabinet that faces a host of tough decisions, including a consumption tax hike, the restart of nuclear reactors and diplomatic bargaining with distrustful neighbors. (Nikkei)
The resignation Monday of Yuko Obuchi, Japan’s industry minister, was a heavy blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the cabinet he named last month. And there are concerns in the government and ruling parties that Obuchi is only the first in a string of coming cabinet resignations. (Nikkei)
Feeding black-tailed gulls has been a popular activity on the sightseeing boats that cruise around the Matsushima islets, considered to be one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan, but local authorities banned the practice this month in a bid to protect the islets’ famous pine trees from withering as a result of nitrogen in the droppings of the gulls, who have bred in large numbers in the area. (The Japan News)