SCENERY OF MATSUSHIMA.
The islands off the coast of Oshiu, collectively known as Matsushima, or the Pine Islands, are classed among the three most beautiful sights in Japan. Said to number 808 in all, they vary from imposing masses of considerable dimensions down to mere sea rocks, large and small alike being overgrown with pine trees of picturesque shapes. The neighbouring heights afford a commanding view of the entire archipelago stretching in an irregular line for over forty miles from the town of Shiogama to Kinkwazan, the parent island of the group. The sheltered coves and bays formed by the innumerable peninsulas and islets impart a tranquil beauty to the scenery, an effect which is enhanced by a light wooden bridge spanning the narrowest channel and tending to convert the whole view into the semblance of a beautiful garden.
These volcanic islands with their precipitous sides, rock-strewn beaches, and summits clad with wind-twisted pine trees form the favourite models for the islets of lakes in Japanese gardens. The grounds of the Daimio of Kuwana in Tsukiji, Tokio, formerly contained a number of pine-clad islands representing the scenery of Matsushima, and in numerous smaller gardens the same idea is conveyed by one or two tiny islets scattered in the lake.
Source: Supplement to Landscape gardening in Japan by Josiah Conder (1852-1920); Kengo Ogawa. Tokio: Kelly and Walsh, 1893.