A Fantastical Ferry Ride from Sendai to Matsushima in Japan: 2003

NOTE: In March of 2011 a magnitude 9.1 earthquake struck east of Sendai, creating a tsunami that wiped out most of the city and caused severe damage to the nuclear power facility, the radiation eventually travelling along the Japanese current to the northwest coast of North America.

In 2003 we travelled to Sendai and took a 50-minute ferry ‘tour’ to Matsushima past many of the 260 unique landforms and islets between Sendai and Matsushima.

Ferries sailing back and forth from Sendai to Matsushima in Japan do a tour of the unique landforms with sea arches and isletsTied up at the ferry dock was a fantastical rooster boat. This rooster 'bird' boat in Sendai acts as a ferry to the seaside village of Matsushima, JapanHowever, we were directed to board this gorgeous peacock boat.This peacock 'bird' boat in Sendai acts as a ferry to the seaside village of Matsushima, JapanDetail of the peacock head. Sendai to Matsushima ferry tour: detail of the peacock headSeagulls perched on the peacock tail.Sendai to Matsushima ferry tour: detail of seagulls perching on the peacock tailThere were a variety of islets highlighted on the tour itinerary that I’ve included at the bottom of this post.
Ferries sailing back and forth from Sendai to Matsushima in Japan do a tour of the unique landforms with sea arches and isletsComorants resting on a balanced rock. I assumed that this probably hadn’t survived the tsunami, but from the handout brochure below I saw that it is called Niou-jima Island, and from Google I learned that it is still there. Ferries sailing back and forth from Sendai to Matsushima do a tour of the unique landforms and isletscomorants125wI wanted to be in a much smaller boat to explore these hidden areas and islands, many of which contain shrines. 
Ferries sailing back and forth from Sendai to Matsushima in Japan do a tour of the unique landforms of the many isletsWhat can I say? I have ferry boat envy.fantastical dragon ferry going back and forth from Sendai to Matsushima, JapanA sea stack in the background, along with several sea arches in the foreground.Ferries sailing back and forth from Sendai to Matsushima in Japan do a tour of the unique landforms with sea arches and isletsA weathered islet.
Ferries sailing back and forth from Sendai to Matsushima in Japan do a tour of the unique landforms and isletsThe seaside village of Matsushima was spared the worst of the 2011 tsunami because the many islets that protected it.Two islets joined by a red bridge leading to a temple in MatsushimaThe 50-minute trip showed us many of the islands in between Sendai and Matsushima. The islands have their own names, each relating to a Japanese legend. As the above photos are all scanned I don’t have any sense of order and can not tell you which is which.  (Click to enlarge.)Matsushima ferry notes: from Sendai we took one of the fantastical ferries to Matsushima

The next page… Matsushima ferry notes: from Sendai we took one of the fantastical ferries to Matsushima

More of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: On the Water.

29 responses to “A Fantastical Ferry Ride from Sendai to Matsushima in Japan: 2003

  1. What a great blend of natural sights and man-made boats! My favorite picture is of the cormorants on the rock — Great capture! Thanks for participating with such remarkable photos.

  2. This is an absolutely gorgeous spot in Japan, Elizabeth! I had no idea how beautiful it is. Yes, it is sad and tragic about the damage from the tsunami. Your photos give us a sense of our loss. I also love the ferry boats. What terrific decorations!

    • I suspect that ferries as magical as these will never be seen again – they were a trip into a wonderland… However it appears that most of the islets survived so those unique landforms are still there.

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  4. Thank you for sharing photos of such beautiful places. Tsunamis create such havoc and destruction. In spite of everything, human beings are helpless.

  5. I mentioned the tsunami, partially because there’s an exhibit of related artworks at the local museum of Anthropology for the 10-year anniversary of the tsunami. I haven’t made it there yet but coronavirus has been lightening up somewhat so I’m hoping to go soon.

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