Rising from the brilliant waters of Matsushima Bay, approximately 260 small islets topped with iconic pine trees make up the beautiful views of Matsushima. Popular for centuries, it is famously ranked as one of the 3 most beautiful views in Japan, known as Nihon Sankei, and has long been celebrated in Japanese art and literature. Matsushima is matched by the stunning views of Miyajima in Hiroshima and Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture, but it shines with natural beauty, literally meaning a bay scattered with “pine islands.” A magnificent sight of bright blue waters, Matsushima’s pine-clad islands face the Pacific Ocean and are cut by rugged cliff faces, organically carved by the ocean and time. Weave between them taking in the gorgeous views during a boat tour, cruising around at water level, or visit one of the 4 Grand Views of Matsushima around the scenic bay. Walk the red bridge to Fukuura Island for a view on foot, or visit the 1000-year-old Zuiganji Temple, a local national treasure. Only a 30-minute train ride from Sendai, after some breath-taking sightseeing (particularly beautiful at dawn), be sure to taste some delicious local oysters famously harvested from Matsushima Bay.