I headed to another recommended tourist spot in the Miyagi prefecture- Matsushima bay to see the famous clusters of little islands. It is also a place where oysters are farmed and the seafood is fresh. I was hoping for a bright, hot sunny day (what is summer without the heat?) but all I got was a cool. cloudy drizzle all day long. (–|||) Not very good for the ice cream business.
Islands of Matsushima- taken from the port. Eew, where's the sun and blue waters?
I bought a boat ticket for 1400 yen (abt SGD 15) which will circle in between the cluster of islands back to port. It was fun especially when the seagulls started flying really close to the boat to be fed with prawn crackers by the passengers. (I was wondering if I could throw a pellet of Xylitol into a seagull’s beak and see what happens) The wind was sooo refreshing and the smell of the sea is lovely unlike the pungent stink of the sea back home….
The wind was superb and I don't care if my messy hair is even more messed up!
...And the seagulls are rushing to get a bite of the prawn sticks. Not the passengers' fingers I hope...
The passengers and I were zipping between port and starboard to get a glimpse of each island that came to view. It’s amazing how each island looks like a bonsai pot afloat on water. Date Masamune really knows the nice spots to capture for his domain. I wasn’t paying attention to the names of the islands the PA guide was explaining because I was too busy running to and fro trying to snap a nice picture of each island that emerged into view.
This seagull stayed put through out the boat trip when the other seagulls flew away after the prawn crackers were finished. I wanted to call it 'Kojiro'.
Looks like someone seated on the rock... as the PA guide claimed...
There are holes carved out of the base of this island. Reminds me of mouse holes...
After the boat ride, I was hungry and headed to the nearest restaurant from the port. I pointed at a set meal called ‘Masamune teishoku’… Ah, what a sucker I am for anime/game characters. It was a little pricey, 2200 yen (about SGD 24) but I think it’s reasonable because… there’s 4 big juicy oysters (size of a rambutan) batterfried with bread crumbs, sashimi (scallops, tuna, prawn, squid and octopus), rice, preserved stuff and miso soup with seaweed and fish cake. When I bit into the oyster, it burst with juices dripping out of my mouth. I don’t really like shellfish but this… I could eat this!!!
Masamune Teishoku, very fresh, very oishii...!
I also went to visit Kanrantei, Date Masamune’s guesthouse which offers a beautiful view of Matsushima bay and its islands. It was given to Masamune by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the building was moved to its present location by Masa’s son, Tadamune.
View from Kanrantei.
I also went to Zuiganji temple which is built by Masamune Date. The main temple is unlike Nikko where the restoration works are carried out regularly. Paint has already faded from the wooden carvings. However, the inner sliding doors with gorgeous paintings on them were still shining like gold. The gardens and tall cedar trees are breathtaking too.
At the gate of Zuiganji temple with my umbrella
Zuiganji Temple: built by Date Masamune. It also houses the tablets of his 20 followers who followed Masa in death.
Little kids sliding down the steps for fun. Kawaii---(^^)
The main hall...with kids running around the corridor...
Garden and Seiryuden which houses buddhist and historical artifacts.
Goddess of Mercy housed opposite of Seiryuden
Caves with carvings of kannons
One of the many carvings from the caves
After that, I headed to Gobaido hall where it sits on a small island, or to be more precise, a rock. This rock is connected to the mainland by 2 red bridges. The rafters have wood carvings of the 12 zodiac animals (very proud to say I discovered it myself without reading the pamplets, if it ever was written).
Bridges leading to Gobaido
Gobaido- There are wood carvings of 3 zodiac animals on each side of the shrine.
The bell which is hit with the rope. Not much of a sound. The 3 zodiac animals on the front of the shrine are snake, horse and goat.
The center wood carving is that of a horse. Unfortunately it is blocked by the sign of the shrine.
My zodiac: the boar ^^
I headed towards the looooooooong red bridge (525m) which connects to Fukuurajima island. But when I reached the mouth of the bridge, I saw a sign stating that a toll of 200 yen is to be paid for access to the bridge. Too lazy to walk…and too stingy, I decided to give it a miss. Anyway the lady selling souvenirs told me all you do there is ‘sampo’ (take a stroll).
The sign at the bridge.
Fukuura bridge and island...