Saturday, April 3, 2010

Nihon Sankai - Matsushima

The Three Views of Japan, or Nihon Sankai (日本三景) is a list of 3 famous views in Japan.

The Three Views are:
- Amanohashidate of the Kyoto Prefecture
- Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Matsushima of the Miyagi Prefecture

Amanohashidate (天橋立), which roughly translates to bridge in heaven, is a 3.6 kilometer long, pine tree covered sand bar.

Miyajima, or also called Itsukushima, is an island off Hiroshima Bay. And the most famous "view" is the floating "Torii" of the Itsukushima Shrine. The Torii is built in a low-lying area such that when the tide is high, the Torii looks as if it is floating on the sea.

Matsushima (松島), is famous for some 260 tiny islands covered with pinetrees (Hence the name - 松=pine and 島=island).

I have seen pictures of Amanohasidate and have been to Miyajima. In my opinion, Matsushima is the most special of Nihon Sankai.

The best way to view Matsushima would have been on a low flying helicopter, I think. But since that option is not available the last I checked, the next best option would be to see it from the coast and then take a ferry around the bay area. There are plenty of islands.. but not all the islands are close to one another.. so the view is not as awe inspiring as one would imagine.

But it is still a very pretty place.. and very worth a day's trip from Sendai.

Matsushima is also famous for its oysters. The oysters in the region are the smaller ones, ideal for cooking (I actually think they will be ideal for "ou-lua", or oyster omelette). January to March is the best time to visit Matsushima for the oysters.

One of the many islands at Matsushima Bay

Every island looks different yet similar because of the pinetrees. 
I wonder how the pinetrees got there..

On a cruiseboat with seagulls flying alongside for tidbits from tourists

Pinetrees are beautiful - green and they sway so elegantly in the wind

A very yummy fried bread with oyster filling and oysters for omiyage (souvenirs)

An all oyster meal - oysters grilled with 3 different miso paste and deep fried oysters. 
They actually use the smaller Matsushima oysters so each one is packed filled with small 
oysters. Even the grilled oysters were like that (don't let the shells mislead you..)

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