Matsushima and its bay are the most popular coastal resort destinations in Tohoku. Matsushima owes this distinction to an infatuation in Japan with oddly shaped rocks, which the bay has in abundance. Hordes come to see the 250 small, pine-clad islands scattered about the bay. Long ago it was such a sublime and tranquil scene that it was fondly written of by the 17th-century haiku poet Basho. Overpopularity and a bit of pollution aside, the bay is still beautiful, and it makes for a worthwhile side trip from Sendai.

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