For hundreds of years, Matsushima Bay has been celebrated as one of Japan's three most scenic views alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate. The bay is dotted by over 200 small islands covered by pine trees.
A good way to enjoy the bay is by sightseeing cruise. Multiple companies offer various courses, including circular cruises starting and ending at Matsushima and cruises that connect Matsushima with nearby Shiogama. Longer cruises will get you to the more remote areas of Oku-Matsushima which are less spoiled by industrial and urban development. Cruises last 25-50 minutes, cost between 1000 and 1500 yen and depart frequently.
Cruises depart from Matsushima Pier, a 5-10 minute walk from Matsushima Kaigan Station on the JR Senseki Line, and from Shiogama Pier (Marine Gate Shiogama), a 5-10 minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station, three stations ahead of Matsushima Kaigan Station on the same line.