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47 Prefectures from A to Y MIYAGI a b c d e f G h i j k l M Miyagi Exploring the surrounds of Sendai n JUSTIN VELGUS o HE city of Sendai is one million strong, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Ōu mountain range. This gives the capital of Miyagi Prefecture unique geographical diversity. Depending on the direction you choose, an hour’s drive from the compact city center can place you in hills, mountains, plains or at the ocean. To enjoy the best of the abundant nature this region has to offer, many visitors make a trip from Sendai to nearby Matsushima. A p q r s t u v w x y z 30 T Miyagi 40-minute train ride on the Senseki Line will take you to Matsushimakaigan Station, where you can see the place where famed haiku poet Basho Matsuo was at a loss to describe the beauty before him. Matsushima literally means ‘pine island,’ and you can find some 260 large and small pine- covered islands dotting the bay. The best way to experience the breathtaking scenery is by an hour-long sightseeing cruise. The town of Matsushima also features several museums, hotels and historic buildings. Most of the historical structures are connected with Masamune Date, the legendary one-eyed samurai and feudal lord who One of Matsushima’s islands founded the modern city of Sendai around 1601. Not far from the pier, a narrow red footbridge with missing planks will lead you to Godaido Temple. This small temple was originally built in 807, but it was reconstructed by Date in 1604. Its lofty location overlooking the bay is matched by its mysterious interior, which houses five sacred statues that are shown only once every 33 years, most recently in 2006. Less than half a kilometer northwest of Godaido is Zuiganji, one of the most famous temples in the Tohoku region. The temple was first built in the ninth