Sunday, March 4, 2012

Souma and Sendai Part 4: Fukuura Island

Previously on JimbosJapan!

Fukuura Bridge 福浦橋
    After our boat tour of the bay and a delicious lunch of cow tongue, there was one last place in Matsushima I wanted to see and that was Fukuura Island. (福浦島)  Fukuura is a small, uninhabited island in Matsushima Bay about five minutes walking distance from the pier where the boat tours leave from.  You can see it plainly from the boats as well as from the pier because of the very long red pedestrian bridge running from the mainland to the island and I would guess it is a few hundred meters long.

Some sightseeing spots on the island.

    Access to the island isn't free unfortunately.  There is a Y200 bridge toll (about $2.50) which is, in my opinion, very much worth it.  There isn't much to actually see on the island itself, but the views of the bay from the island are well worth a measly $2.50.

The trails are even paved for the most part!

    On a side note, there is a little building (guard station?) on the mainland side of the bridge were the toll is paid and they sell soft ice cream (ソフトクリーム) inside and it is delicious.  Almost any tourist attraction in the Japanese countryside has a soft ice cream vendor present and it is consistently good throughout the country.  Some places even have local flavors like black sesame and blueberry.  I think on this particular day we had strawberry, which is not my favorite, but I'll take anything cold on a stick or in a cone in July in Japan.

Some island-to-island sightseeing.

A map of the island.
    After crossing the bridge and getting to the island side, we noticed a map of the island, which can be covered completely on foot in about an hour, if you walk every trail.  Fukuura is covered in trees, so the trails are very pleasant and shady.  As I said earlier, there isn't much to actually do on the island except walk and look at the bay.  There is a very small cafe which, incidentally also sells soft ice cream, as well as a small shrine.  There is also a large open field with a pavilion which I imagine people can rent for events like picnics or weddings, but I don't want to know how much something like that would cost! At least $2.50 for everyone to cross the bridge.

One of the only structures on the island, this cafe sells beer, sake, and ice cream, among other things.

    We saw the bay from a boat, ate some 牛タン and saw the bay from 福浦島.  We enjoyed our day out in Matsushima very much and I would love to go again sometime and maybe even set foot on some of those residential islands and take a peek at what life is like for the people there.

    BUT! Our journey has only just begun!  We drove across Tochigi Prefecture, up through Fukushima Prefecture, and then to the coast to meet Mayumi's grandparents.  We spent the night in a love hotel in Sendai, fed some crazy seagulls pringles, then fed ourselves some cow tongues.  What lies next for this crazy adventure?!  You'll just have to wait and see.

Fukuura Bridge, as seen from a small peninsula of Fukuura Island.

Island wayfinding.
One of many trails on Fukuura Island.

The most open space on the island, with a little pavilion structure.
A boat, passing yet another island in the bay.
Heading back across the bridge to town.


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