Welcome to Matsushima
Matsushima (松島) is heavily romanticised by Japanese travellers due to its status as one of Japan's Three Great Sights (Nihon Sankei). It was also immortalised by the poet Matsuo Bashō, who revered its glorious bay's 260-odd pine-covered islands, battered by wind and sea to form a kind of Zen rock garden in the ocean. When the sun sets and a storm rolls in, the effect on the islands is mesmerising. The main village itself has some fine ancient temples, impressive ryokan, seafood shacks and a quaint by-the-sea feel. Try to avoid the high-summer weekend crowds.