Matsushima Bay is considered one of the three most beautiful places in Japan. It is located 40 minutes by JR train from Sendai, which is only 1 hour 50 minutes from Tokyo by shinkansen. I strongly recommend you consider a weekend trip here in the next few weeks as the autumn colours reach their peak in late October. The Bay is full of craggy islands, covered with pine trees, and you can either walk across beautiful red bridge to see the main one, or take a ferry boat ride around the bay and see them all. Although Matsushima was not badly damaged by the tsunami, tourist numbers are well down - which is really hurting the locals...but makes it a particularly attractive destination at present: great scenergy, old temples (including the resting place of Date Masamune, the lord who put Sendai on the map), lovely craft shops, good food, and best of all, great onsen hotels where you can soak in the hot tub and enjoy the view. There are some good deals around at the moment.
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