I love day trips! A quick train ride from Sendai Railway Station to Matsushimakaigan (aka Matsushima Bay) and you arrive in a seaside town that looks out to 200 small islands. Known as one of the most scenic places in Japan and with some of the best sea food in Japan, I loved this place. The weather could have been a little better, but the atmosphere and people were amazing. Like most tourist towns it is crowded and noisy along the main strip, but once your got off the beaten path you could find some real treasures (a large koi pond, a 700 year old fern tree, Atago shrine, and the observation tower).
There were a few “not to miss” items like Buddhist deities carved directly into the rock, stone tablets engraved with poems written by Basho and Sora, and the monument of Raiken (Buddhist monk who chose the island of Oshima for his ascetic training and did not leave the small island for 22 years).
If I was to head back to Matsushima again I would make more of an effort to eat more of the local food and pay the money to go into the museums and temples.