28th August 2015: Matsushima and Sendai {Japan, summer 2015}

The day started in Matsushima [松島], the Pine Islands, where there are… lots of pines. And temples. We paid the small fee to cross the bridge to the biggest island, Oshima [雄島] and headed off there, to just walk around it. There were pines and other trees, but I am no tree expert, so… I could identify the pines… However, there were nice views and it was a good way to start the morning, even if I was not feeling 100%, as I had a small accident coming out of the station that ended up with me sprawled on the floor. Not fun.

This bridge survived March 11, although a smaller similar one was destroyed. In general, the area was quite spared by the tsunami.

A walkable bridge with concrete ground and vermillion guards that crosses the bay towards a rocky island with small pines

View from Oshima into the bay:

A view of the bay. There are pine branches in the foreground, and two small rocky islands with more pines

After the main island, we visited a few of the temples around. First, Zuigan-ji [瑞巌寺], which has some really cool cave altars.

A standing Buddha in front of a cave sanctuary.

Entsuin [円通院] – Mausoleum of Date Mitsumune.

Main building of a temple. It's made of wood so old that it has turned white-grey

Back in Sendai, our first stop was the combini Ōsaki Hachimangū [大崎八幡宮], also known as the Black Shrine, as it was supposedly erected to enshrine the kami of war. It was ordered by Date Masamune, who was a very important figure in the history of feudal Sendai.

Shrine, built in black with golden decoration

Though we did not make it to Date’s mausoleum, we did see the sculpture erected in his honour up on the ruins of Aoba-jō [青葉城]. Here are the Date Masamune memorial on the ruins of Aoba Castle

Statue of a samurai, riding a horse. The samurai has a crescent decoration on his helmet. The horse is mid-step, with its front right leg bent

View of Sendai from Aoba Castle:

A view of the skyline of Sendai with a line of trees in front of it

Afterwards, we headed back to the station as we had to catch the 19.30 train, since we had an appointment in Ginza [銀座] at 22.00. We had a reservation for VAMPS Joysound special karaoke booth, which was normal karaoke, but in a room decorated with VAMPS stuff and a special video, along with some themed drinks. Just one of those cute fandom money-drainers activities.

The Vamps karaoke booth and theme drink