Located only half an hour by train from the Tohoku's largest city Sendai, Matsushima is a group of more than 230 islands (shima) covered in pines (matsu) and is ranked by the Japanese as one of Japan's three great views (along with Miyajima and Amanohashidate). The small town is also home to Zuiganji Temple that was founded by the Tendai sect in 828. The current structure was built by Sendai lord Date Masamune in 1606, and is one of Tohoku's finest Zen temples.
The famous Japanese traveler and haiku writer Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) allegedly lost his words here, exclaiming only: "Matsushima ah! A-ah, Matsushima, ah! Matsushima, ah!"

 
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