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.

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


21 Jul

As people in Japan treated themselves to grilled eels on eel-eating day Friday, many were faced with a larger bill amid soaring prices for the endangered fish. (Japan Today)

20 May

Osaka Prefectural Police have arrested an organized crime member for allegedly referring customers to a business in the Tobita Shinchi pleasure quarter of Nishinari Ward, reports Nikkan Sports (

27 Feb

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)

21 Jan

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 (