Matsushima Bay


On Sunday we took a road trip with two friends to Matsushima Bay where we discovered hundreds of islands covered in trees, all the oysters one could ever ask for, a mesmerizing after-dark reflective pool, and shrimp-puff craving sea gulls.

But first we had to get there.  To get from Towada City, Aomori to Matsushima, Miyagi (two prefectures away from us but still in the Tohoku region) by car took about 4 hours of driving on toll roads.  Our total for a one-way trip on the toll road came to about $63, which we obviously split four ways.  Had we taken the shinkansen (bullet train), it would have cost us about $100 per person.

Matsushima Bay is one of only three official national scenic wonders in Japan.  We wanted to get a good look of the hundreds of islands that encircle the bay so we took a boat ride at around the same time the sun was setting.



These behaviorally conditioned sea gulls wanted snacks.  On every trip you can buy shrimp puffs to fling at the birds as they try to catch them in their beaks flying off the boat’s stern.

Here is our friend Bryan feeding sea gulls:

The shallow, cold water is an ideal location for oysters to live, die, and be eaten by tourists.

After our boat ride we were surprised to discover that something major was happening at a temple in the center of town.  Lights had been set up along a particularly scenic path through the woods.  It was breathtaking.  Then, at the end of the path, you encounter what appears to be a bottomless pit with trees growing inside.  You think the laws of gravity have been suspended but then you realize that it’s actually the most reflective pool of water you’ve ever seen.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  We really wish we had a tripod.  One of the trees was very vertical and had shed all its leaves.  Its bare branches, when reflected in the pool, looked like the tree’s roots extending deep into a hole with all the soil removed.  Definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

Like I said, next time we'll bring a tripod.

We left shortly after our walk in the woods and arrived home by 11:30 PM.  It was a wonderful trip.

Please click here if you would like to see all 185 photos we took in Matsushima.


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2 Responses to “Matsushima Bay”

  1. sarah austad Says:

    Gorgeous pictures. I could go for some of the oysters.

  2. Miyajima « Pacificloons Says:

    […] of Japan (one of the others is Matsushima Bay, a place Julie and I had the pleasure of visiting and blogging about in November).  It is a beautiful island famous for the floating shrine, an abundant population of […]

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