Literally translated as “Islands of Pine,” Matsushima is just that: a bay full of rocky islands topped with the poetic silhouette of pine trees. With some 260 islands, large and small, dotting the tranquil coastline of northeastern Japan, Matsushima has long been the subject of many a haiku, and is ranked as one of the three top scenic sites in Japan. Take for example, the one by Basho: “Matsushima ah! Aaah, Matsushima, ah! Matsushima, ah!” Even Japan’s quintessential haiku poet was stunned to wordlessness by the beauty of this place.
But behind the postcard-perfect scenery are recent wounds from the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Although the islands in the bay lessened the impact of the massive waves and protected the town, there were still over 3,000 homes that were significantly damaged. Despite the calamity, the people in and around Matsushima have been quietly recovering and rebuilding their communities. Tourists are coming back and revitalizing the local economy. If you’ve been looking for a way to support tsunami-hit Japan, come visit this area with its stunning scenery, out-of-this-world seafood, and its many historical and cultural activities.
May 25, 2016
Matsushima Tourism Office
98-1 Azachonai, Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi-ken