Aboard the “Basho Cruise”, Shiogama-Matsushima Bay, Japan


Maximizing my travel at Miyagi Prefecture, Tohoku Region, I visited another place in the region affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. But this time around, instead of going directly to the town, I boarded a ferry and follow the route explored by Japanese haiku master Matsuo Basho that inspired him to write a series of poem, as he traveled by boat from Shiogama to Matsushima Bay.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

Once again, the extremely helpful ladies at Sendai Tourist Information Desk called the ferry office and reserve an afternoon cruise on my behalf that will be departing from Hon-Shiogama bound to Matsushima.

After a less than 30 minutes train ride from Sendai (via JR Senseki Line), I arrived at Hon-Shiogama station and walked towards the ferry terminal. In front of the Shiogama Marine Gate, one of the staff was already waiting for me. How nice right? As if I was a VIP or something. A Japanese hospitality at its best.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

For a total of 1 hour cruise, the boat will travel around the coast of Shiogama-Matsushima Bay, with a Japanese speaker audio explaining the name of various islands.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

With Miyagi Prefecture facing the Pacific Ocean, it is no surprise that the region is blessed with some of the most beautiful island scenery in the country. For this reason alone, Matsushima Bay is considered as one of the Three Most Scenic Spot in Japan sharing the title with Miyajima and Amanohashidate.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

“Meotojima separated East and West yet their hearts are always together”- excerpt from one of Basho’s poem.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

The top portion of Niojima is a piece of art in the sea, created by the natural elements of wind, waves and rain.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

Four doors to the deep, blue sea, created by the waves hitting the island of Kanejima.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

Isejima, the most feminine of all the island in the bay.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

The other islands.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

These small islands scattered along the Matsushima Bay not only are scenic spots but most importantly they served as an important barrier, shielding the town people from the destructive 2011 tsunami disaster. It was reported that within a matter of month, the town of Matsushima was able to recover from the earthquake-tsunami disaster and now fully open for tourists to explore and enjoy.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

Apart from admiring how the works of Mother Nature can alter the look of an island, what I enjoyed the most on the cruise are the tons of gulls moving together with the boat.

With a contrast of blue ocean in the background, seeing the passengers feeding the black tailed gulls is comparable to wearing a 3D eyeglass for magnificent and enhance colored view.

These gulls are sure hungry and loved the potato snack.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

Shiogama-Matsushima Cruise is only one of the many things why you should start considering Miyagi prefecture on your travel plans. Be reminded, that as simple as paying for the cruise or having a coffee on one of the town restaurant will help for the recovery of Tohoku region.
shiogama-matsushima (basho cruise)

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8 thoughts on “Aboard the “Basho Cruise”, Shiogama-Matsushima Bay, Japan

  1. When I saw the first picture , I liked it , but thought oh.. ok .. one pretty frame of water.. When I scrolled down and reached those birds in the water, I understood, why people would love to take this trip!

    Stunning pictures, as usual. Thanks for sharing this pretty scenic spot.

  2. The seagull photos remind me of visiting Nagaski – buzzards were “hunting” french fries people dropped to the ground and I was able to take some really neat close-up photos.
    You take really nice pictures in general! Makes me wanna use boats and ferries more often…

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