[Flashback] Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture 2010

I debated whether or not I should post these photos but I can’t stop but to think of Matsushima, one of the three views in Japan. Located in Miyagi Prefecture, Matsushima is a group of 260 islands, in various sizes, covered in pine trees. With the earthquake last Friday, I have seen many sources that this scenery is now gone and 600 people were killed in this area. I saw twitter feeds saying that the tsunami came through Matsushima and now it is empty and it doesn’t have the same feel that it did last week before the earthquake hit. For the latest updates on Japan’s situation and road to recovery, I am translating Japanese media into English on my twitter feed @gokatayama. Feel free to follow me and join in on the conversation.

82 responses

  1. newenglander

    i came upon your page while doing a search for pics of matsushima city. i was there in may 2010. i visited with a friend in tokyo then we went to her hometown in kurihara city to stay with her family for a week. they took me to this very place. almost a miracle or something, but other than major water damage and some surge damage this particular part of town has survived. just up the road in higashi-matsushima is where the shocking tragedy happened. so of course it is a matsushima tragedy and i should say that is what is on my mind most. however, matsushima city is spiritual for japanese and as a visitor i sensed it’s power and beauty so only natural people would be worried about it. i immediately thought of kurihara and matsushima when i heard breaking news and saw tsunami vids coming out. but i have seen pics on the net that suggest that these scenes you photographed are still intact. one satellite photo showed lots of flooding and mud but i did not see any buildings crushed or destroyed and even the ferry boats were neatly docked as they were the day i took one. i think they may have had fortune on their side. of course there is a long clean up ahead but matsushima city i think survived miraculously.
    http://www.konishigaffney.com/images/matsushimaaerialimage5.jpg this photo is taken from this page verifying it as after the earthquake. http://www.konishigaffney.com/news.html . this shows water damage but honestly the entire area you are referring to, and is the world famous park, is intact. i even see the parking lot across the street from famous shrine and we parked our car. you can even see the white lines for cars to park in between! even the long wooden walkway out to the island is intact. it’s only a few feet above water. it’s a miracle i think. i realize the hills come sharply down to nearly waterfront so it would be literally a one minute run to safety but this does not fully explain how this all could be so intact given the water surges just nearby that destroyed highashi-matsushima completely. sorry for long comment but i thought i’d let you know.


    March 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

    • Keith,

      Thanks for the comment! Oh ok, I had a buddy over there who told me that the view is completely damaged and has a different feel to it but I guess it wasnt after all. Thats very good news. Thank you so much for your comment.



      March 18, 2011 at 9:39 am

      • Hi. I live in Japan as well. Nothing seems to be the same after the March eleventh Earthquake. Yokohma is dark during the nights because of the closed businesses. I hope they could get the power fully restored. The convenient stores are running out of products to sale. I went into a few stores and the shelves were wiped clean.

        March 21, 2011 at 1:54 am

  2. Beautiful pictures. My heart goes out to all impacted by the devastation … this is truly heartbreaking.

    March 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

  3. mack



    March 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm

  4. okorare

    the lord char do his miracle

    March 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm

  5. Very beautiful!

    March 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm

  6. I am just trying to find out if Japan is a communist country. One of you said on here that she was wondering how Japan was going to like her being “Freshly Pressed”.

    March 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    • Japan is radically anti communist

      March 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    • Japan is NOT a communist country. how does that have to do with anything about my post? Thanks,

      March 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      • I’m not sure about the commenter, but I know that at least two people I’ve talked with recently amazingly confused Japan with China. Perhaps that is an explanation.

        March 22, 2011 at 6:09 am

  7. Your pictures are beautiful. And a fitting “tribute” to Japan and its beauty and couragous people. Stunning.

    March 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

  8. The Seagull

    So quiet and peaceful. Thanks for posting.

    March 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

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  10. Casey

    These are amazing photos. Everything looks so peaceful…

    March 19, 2011 at 12:20 am

  11. such a tragedy that has happened in japan. your pictures are breathtaking and amazing. great post and worth the freshly pressed

    March 19, 2011 at 12:23 am

  12. J Roycroft

    I like your photographs. Congrats on FP

    March 19, 2011 at 12:46 am

  13. Despite what we know or might not know, these are interesting pictures. I enjoy the one with the red bridge the most.

    March 19, 2011 at 1:27 am

  14. Beautiful pictures! Whether the area is damaged or not, it is always good to have pictures for memory. Congrats on being FP!

    March 19, 2011 at 2:16 am

  15. BEAUTIFUL photos. Thanks for sharing.

    March 19, 2011 at 3:14 am

  16. Hmm,,,, What a nice picture, but now 😦

    March 19, 2011 at 3:21 am

  17. These are some great photos. Thank you for sharing!

    March 19, 2011 at 3:38 am

  18. SWK

    Either way, these are some beautiful pictures.

    March 19, 2011 at 4:15 am

  19. Great pictures! I am an independent travel agent who is new to blogging and am looking for followers. My blog name is Dream Come True Travel. Thank you for the support!

    March 19, 2011 at 4:48 am

  20. vixstar1314

    wow beautiful photographs you had taken.
    It is very sad that Japan is going through such a difficult time.
    But what Japan has still got is the strength to re-build their nation because the people stand together.
    And many will pray for them and help too.
    Thanks for sharing.

    March 19, 2011 at 4:58 am

  21. John

    I visited this spot in 1986 and Sendai as well, strolling in the botanic gardens with a doctor I met from the university. How sad to think it has all tragically changed.

    March 19, 2011 at 5:29 am

  22. John

    Please notify

    March 19, 2011 at 5:30 am

  23. Thank for the sharing.
    The nice scenery is gone now, hopefully everything will be back to normal next week!

    March 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

  24. These are great photos. I really love the balance and composition. Thank you for sharing. I really hope everything will be okay soon.

    March 19, 2011 at 9:47 am

  25. Jessica

    These are beautiful pictures! It’s such a tragedy given what has happened to Japan with the tsunami and earthquake. I haven’t been to Japan but from what I see of all my years looking at pictures, Japan is a country of beauty and rich culture. I hope to see one day Japan will be fully restored to its former glory – if not, better. Donations to Japan is really needed, some people are just too selfish to cough up even $1 when they spent $600 on an iPad 2.. sigh. 😦

    March 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

  26. jomacodo132

    nice shoot of pictures men, vey nice to know that there’s still people carrying about japan.

    March 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

  27. I am deeply mourned by the loss of such magnificent places and so many people. I know the world is weeping as we hear news of the tragedy in Japan.
    Our hearts go out to the families that where effecting by the earthquake and Tsunami! This event, that is further more on-going, will definitely be bringing the world much closer, I’m sure.

    March 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm

  28. callmealbert

    one day i hv to go to beijing… ;DD

    March 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm

  29. samiasingh

    Ive never been to Japan but these photos remind me of the Japanese paintings. I respect your culture a lot. Nice photos.


    March 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  30. Great pictures! The devastation in Japan is immeasurable and I hope and pray for the safety of the survivors and wish a speedy reconstruction. I hope that life returns to normal as soon as possible

    March 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

  31. Arus aliran sesat kembali deras menabrak Aceh. Reaksi keras dari masyarakat muncul. Ulama, pemerintah, Ormas Islam, hingga masyarakat bergeming. Semua ikut ambil bagian dalam upaya melawan penyimpangan akidah ini.

    March 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm

  32. It’s sad.

    March 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm

  33. Such beautiful photographs and to think it is all gone… so sad!
    Thanks for sharing these…

    March 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

  34. I should thank you for posting these photos. It help me to realized the beauty of the area, before the tsunami.

    Best prayer from Indonesia

    March 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm

  35. elmer

    These are great shots and of course, eerie. Take good care of those.

    March 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm

  36. newauthoronamazon

    Thanks for the photos…the area looks so calm and beautiful. Time is the best healer …possibly after some time it will look like
    this once again.

    March 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  37. It’s lovely images of what used to be can be preserved in photographs.

    March 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

  38. It looks so serene and breathtakingly beautiful. The massive destruction seems so unreal at times. Great photos!

    March 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm

  39. Thank you for posting these. Every time I think about the gravity of this tragedy, the losses, I feel close the tears. People, places, history–so much is gone that can’t be replaced.

    March 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm

  40. Just shows you we are not in control at all and things we take for granted can change at any moment. Great post.



    March 20, 2011 at 12:24 am

  41. Pingback: [Flashback] Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture 2010 – By Go Katayama « Ujval's Lounge

  42. Carmen Sterba

    I was checking to see if Matsushima was hit in the tsunami since it is so close to Sendai. I was here about 10 years ago because it is so beloved by the poet Basho when he visited during his trip to the Far North while writing the prose poem of his travels, Oku no Hosomichi.

    “Well, it has been said many times, but Matsushima is the most beautiful place in all of Japan. . . . Matsushima has gathered countless islands: the high islands point their fingers to heaven, those lying down crawl over the waves . . . . Some islands seem to be carrying islands on their backs, others to be embracing them, like someone caressing a child . . . . The landscape creates a tranquil, soft feeling, like a beautiful lady powdering her face. Did the god of the mountain create this long ago, in the age of the gods? Is it the work of the Creator? What words could a human being use to describe this?”

    Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho by Haruo Shirane, p.220


    March 20, 2011 at 4:07 am

  43. pingu98

    Great photos, I’m visited in 2004 and am just digging out my old photos for a similar retrospective blog post. I walked from Tendo in Yamagata prefecture to Sendai, met so many nice local people and enjoyed the beautiful scenery all the way. I can’t believe the destruction caused by the tsunami in such a peaceful place.
    I hope they’re all able to get back on their feet soon!

    March 20, 2011 at 5:37 am

  44. Thanks for this. We were planning to go there in May! We’ve travelled twice before in Japan but have only trained through that area so this was the year. Sad for us but devastating for them.

    March 20, 2011 at 8:18 am

  45. The photos are wonderful, Japan is a place I’ve alwys wanted to visit, and the tsunami has made mem want to see it recovering to its former state. I would love to visit it soon.

    March 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

  46. Pingback: [Flashback] Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture 2010 (via Go Katayama – Freelance Photographer in Beijing) | The Calculable

  47. God bless your land

    March 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm

  48. AryanMolaeimehr

    nice and beautiful photos i love it

    March 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  49. great shots! We are with Japan!

    March 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  50. Mind blowing…..

    March 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm

  51. Superlike! Thanks…. Nice pictures

    March 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

  52. such beautiful photos you took! you deserved to be on FP’ed! great job.

    March 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm

  53. hollie264

    These are stunning! They definately beat my photos.


    March 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

  54. Thank you for sharing your photos.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:50 pm

  55. vry nice pice pictures ….n may b this is d part people forget bout ….i really feel sad for all the people who lived der…..hope your photographs help to grab attention of all to this region….may god bless them all.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

  56. Such beautiful, peaceful photos. Hard to believe in the devastation. Thanks for this post.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:56 am

  57. Katie Gou

    These photos are amazing, the serenity really pulls you in. I guess you would never have known at the time that your the photos you were taking would become historical, charting an area as it once was. My heart goes out to the people of Japan and all of those affected by this. It is heart wrenching.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:24 am

  58. Beautiful pics…

    March 21, 2011 at 4:49 am

  59. Beautiful pictures. Good to have them to remember.

    March 21, 2011 at 6:17 am

  60. chocolatespacemonkey

    love these. good luck!

    March 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

  61. I don’t think there is anything inappropriate about showing photos of beauty, especially if the beauty is thought (or known) to be gone. Sadly, we probably appreciate and value beauty – and life – the most when they are lost or absent.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:19 am

  62. waduh……..

    March 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

  63. WOW fantastic picture good job and thanks for sharing

    March 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  64. awesome picture dear.i love it……….

    March 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

  65. Nice photos and… all the (relatively) best 2 Japan. http://calogeromiratraveland.wordpress.com

    March 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm

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  67. Melissa

    Thank you for posting these beautiful pictures! I came here randomly and have really been touched by this. Thank you for sharing.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm

  68. Thanks for sharing!

    March 22, 2011 at 2:43 am

  69. Thank you for sharing the pictures. I spent two months in Japan, and I loved the country.
    I am deeply saddened to hear about the devastation.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm

  70. Pingback: [Flashback] Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture 2010 (via Go Katayama – Freelance Photographer in Beijing) « Random Musings

  71. they pictures are really pretty.. I never visited japan before but have always wanted to go.. its soo sad i just wish the Japanese people the best a quick recovery..

    March 26, 2011 at 3:42 am

  72. I was new in the world of bloggers so please guidance yes, And thank you for sharing these on your blog .

    March 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm

  73. I’m not sure about the commenter, but I know that at least two people I’ve talked with recently amazingly confused Japan with China. Perhaps that is an explanation

    April 21, 2011 at 11:27 am

  74. Patty Noakes

    My sister and family were ther during the earthquake. Search on facebook for her story. Matsushima Relief Fund. They areall safe and 6 are reprted deade or missing. Very blessed. We are sending money to the town to help rebuild.

    April 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm

  75. Patty Noakes

    PS My sister’s husband and daughter were on on of the smaller islands when it struck. They had to run across the red bridge you show to escape the tsunami. They ran very fast!

    April 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm

  76. tokyobling

    Hi. I was in Matsushima a couple of weeks after the Tsunami, I haven’t posted much about it on my blog yet but I will, once I get around to it. A bit much these days! Good to read all the comments on this post and good to read your blog as well.

    Matsushima was, comparatively, untouched. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. Compared to the town before and after it on the main road, it’s almost unbelievable how lucky Matsushima was in surviving the tsunami. Could it have been the minor islands shielding the city? I was there like you, in 2010, and again in 2011.

    Keep the great posts coming!

    May 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm

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