Saturday, May 23, 2015

TRAVEL TO MATSUSHIMA

So this year, I am fortunate enough to head back to Japan.
I went to the usual city, which is Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo (since Osaka and Tokyo have two of the big airport, which is Kansai Airport, Narita and Haneda).
But using Jr Rail Pass, I decided to head to other place.

I've fallen in love with Sendai since the first time I head there in 2013.
It's a nice city filled with friendly people, and the fact that it was build by Date Masamune just makes it more fun for me.
In 2013, I've visited most of Sendai's historical place, so I decided to head to the nearby place, MATSUSHIMA.



I reach Matsushima from Tokyo in about 1 hour (depends on what shinkansen you take).
First, you need to head to Sendai (Miyagi) Station.
From Sendai, take the JR Senseki Line Local to head to Matsushimakaigan.
Takes about 39 minutes before you reach there, there are some more interesting places beyond Matsushimakaigan, but I decided to stop there.
The journey is quite interesting, since that was the first time I've ride the character train.
I deliberately choose to take the Cyborg 009, because that's the one that I'm familiar the most.

Where's Joe? He's on the other side...

According to wikipedia, Matsushima is a group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. They have about 260 tiny islands covered in pines, and it is ranked as one of the Three Views of Japan. I can't agree more...
The view there is amazing... And I always love small, quiet, and peaceful town.
Not many international tourist come here, so I guess people were surprised to see me there (though they just realized that when I told them I don't speak Japanese...)
The Tourist Information Center opens at 9.30, but since I arrived in 9, I decided to walk around by myself.
Matsushima is not that big and you can seen it all by walking.

By paying 1000 - 1500 Yen, you can join a tour by boat to get a view of the small islands located in Matsushima.
Since I am prone to seasick (and decided to use my money for food), I decided to skip it.
But one place that had my attention ever since I've reach Matsushima is...

DATE MASAMUNE HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Definitely eye catching.... XD

But the first place that I make a stop at is Zuiganji Temple.
It takes my breathe away...
Seeing all those awesome and tall tree, serene place... really remarkable.
There are some construction, for renovated, but still that place is amazing.
The place is full with school children, and some of them tries to talk to me even though I don't speak Japanese.
At least they tried to converse in English... ^^a
There's also some local stores around, where you can find (delicious) local food or other omiyage.

Tall, impressive trees....

After visiting that, I ask around and one of the local shop's staff kind enough to give me a map of the area.
That map helps me a lot, since I don't want to go back to the Tourist Center, then head back here.
Time is precious for me... :)
Relying on the map, I visited the Godaido Hall.
Even though it is said "Hall", I think it is too small to be called "Hall".
It was built in 807, and contains five statues, which only displayed to the public once every 33 years.
The last one was at 2006.... So that means they will show in again in 2039.
............... Woah
You can get a great view of Matsushima Bay here, really nice.

Fukuura Island, anyone?

I can also see the red bridge lead to Fukuura Island (Fukuurajima).
The bridge was damaged during the tsunami of March 11, 2011. 
But it's been repaired and to cross it, we have to pay 200 Yen and walk 252 meter to reach it.
If you think 200 Yen is worth it to see the view of the bay and to walk around in the nice botanical garden (like me), go ahead.
Take time to walk slowly, enjoy the peacefulness of the land... that makes forget to take a picture.

Not far from that, I found my destination....
MICHINOKU MASAMUNE DATE HISTORICAL MUSEUM

Easy to find, just follow along the road!

If you are a fan of Date Masamune, like me, you will have a full history of him in this place.
Show the passport to get price cut, tourist only pay 500 Yen.
There's a lot of diorama that shows you Masamune's life, from his birth (that gives me a heart attack with the baby's crying) until his death.
There's also a wax figure of him once you enter the museum.
For a warlord, I think he looks pretty nice. ^^a

Date Masamune 

Not far from that, you can find a rest area which sells Gift and food.
Here, you should definitely try.. MASAMUNE PARFAIT!
It's a parfait that resembles Masamune's helmet, and I wolfed it down because I am hungry.
..... Yeah, my usual mistakes, forgot to take a picture before I gulp it down.
But you can search it in the internet, it have a crescent shaped... cookies (I think?) and the taste is quite good.
.... Or maybe because I am just hungry and anything taste good when I am hungry.

Speaking about food, other delicacies that I tries are Sasakamaboko (which I tried when I went back to Sendai Station) and alo Gyu-Tan Curry.
Sasakamaboko is made from fish, and it taste a bit like Otak-otak... without the peanut sauce.
But my favorite food is gotta be the GYU-TAN (Beef Tongue).
Some people might think this is a strange food, but I've been eating Beef's Tongue since I was a child, and it's one of my favorite food.
So I dare to say Sendai (and Matsushima) is my food paradise. XD

 

The guy on the left is grilling some Gyu-Tan, taste good.
They also have the BBQ flavor... so tempting.
The food on the right is Sasakamaboko.
It taste quite food eating plain, but I think I should've eat it with sauce...


And of course, the Gyu-Tan jerky.
It's tough and takes almost hours to chew... XD
But I loves the taste (and the package) since I've tasted one back on 2013, so I buy it again....
I also bought the instant Gyu-Tan Curry to eat back home.
And it taste... delicious!!! <3
I cursed myself why did I only buy 1, I should've buy 2... or 4.
After that, I head back to Sendai Station and heading back to Tokyo.
... While munching on Zunda mochi in the train.

Overall, Matsushima is a worth place to visit.
There are quite a variety of places to visit, and all within walking distance.
Sipping tea while enjoying snacks under a tree is really a nice experience.
I don't mind heading back here again and again.... :)

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