Matshushima, a short train ride from Sendai on the northern Pacific coast, is considered one of the three most scenic spots in Japan. Matsushima Bay contains over 250 small rock islands shaped by the ceaseless slapping of waves and pine trees misshapen by the winds. (Matsu means pine and shima means island.) Many say that Matsushima reminds them of a large, life-size bonsai garden. The best way to see these islands is by sightseeing boat, which will provide you with up-close views. The small town is also known for Zuiganji, one of the Tohoku Region's most important Zen temples.