From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kanejima, one of the many famous islands that dot the archipelago
The view from Godaido
Sagakei at Matsushima
One of the islands of Matsushima
One of the islands of Matsushima
Chōmei-ana in Komonejima, about five meters in height, was known in folklore that people who passed through there in a pleasure boat would live three years longer. However it collapsed in the Sendai earthquake.[1]
Ojima whose name is Utamakura. The red "Togetsukyō Bridge", about twenty meters in length, was wholly lost in the Sendai earthquake.[1]
Another view
Sea gulls at Matsushima

Matsushima (松島) is a group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. There are some 260 tiny islands (shima) covered in pines (matsu) – hence the name – and is ranked as one of the Three Views of Japan.

Nearby cultural properties include Zuigan-ji, Entsū-in, Kanrantei, and the Satohama shell mound.


A well-known haiku describes the islands as so striking that the poet is at a loss for words:

松島やああ松島や松島や Matsushima ya / aa Matsushima ya / Matsushima ya
   Matsushima ah! / A-ah, Matsushima, ah! / Matsushima, ah!

While often attributed to Matsuo Bashō, the earliest known publication is in the Matsushima Zushi (松島図誌), published in 1820 over a century after Bashō's death, which attributes it to the kyōka poet Tawara-bō (田原坊).[2] While Bashō did visit Matsushima in Oku no Hosomichi, its only haiku about Matsushima was written by his travel comparison Kawai Sora.[3]

Four views of Matsushima[edit]

There are four well-known spots to view the Matsushima, known as the Magnificent View (壮観, sōkan), Beautiful View (麗観, reikan), Enchanting View (幽観, yūkan), and Grand View (偉観, ikan).


Tourists can view the islands from up close on cruise boats.

(video) Several islands in 2008 before the Tōhoku earthquake changed their appearance.


Scenic view of Matsushima. Ukiyo-e woodblock print by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1898

The town is only a short distance (thirty minutes, about 14 km) from prefectural capital Sendai and is easily accessible by train. Matsushima-Kaigan Station is near the attractions such as Zuiganji and the waterfront. Matsushima Station, on a separate line is on the opposite side of the town.

2011 Tōhoku earthquake[edit]

Despite the proximity of Matsushima to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the area was protected by the islands and suffered relatively little damage.[4][5] The initial tsunami was 3.2 metres (10.5 feet) with the second 3.8 metres (12.5 feet). Electricity was restored by March 18, water fully restored by April 16th and the Senseki Train Line between Takagimachi Station and Sendai by May 28. Nevertheless, three people were confirmed killed in Matsushima (including by aftershocks) with 18 killed while out of town.[6]


Around the island travelers can go on a cruise and view the islands up close an around the Matsushima shore travelers can rent bikes.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 名勝・松島、崩落被害=「長命穴」消え、半壊の島も-国宝「瑞巌寺」は壁にひび (in Japanese). Jiji Press. March 19, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  2. ^ "松嶋図誌 / 鼓缶子 述 ; 東沢 図".
  3. ^ "Matsushima, ah! A-ah, Basho, A-ah! – Ars Docendi".
  4. ^ "Tsunami Spares Japan's Pine-Covered Islands". NPR. 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2011-04-18.
  5. ^ Martin, Alex, "Tsunami spared Matsushima but swept away bay's tourists", Japan Times, 17 August 2011, p. 3.
  6. ^ "Matsushima from Disaster towards Recovery Poster". Town of Matsushima. March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  7. ^ "About Matsushima - Miyagi Travel Guide | Planetyze". Planetyze. Retrieved 2017-08-15.

External links[edit]

Zuiganji at Matsushima
Three Views of Japan
Amanohashidate view from Kasamatsu Park01s3s4410.jpgMatsushima miyagi z.JPGItsukushima torii distance.jpg

Coordinates: 38°22′N 141°05′E / 38.367°N 141.083°E / 38.367; 141.083