Fukuurajima - the Lucky Inlet

Matsushima's island of complete bliss in photos

 By Andrew Kehoe   Jan 29, 2014

According to the English tourist map of Matsushima, Fukuurajima, “...is a natural garden covered with 300 kinds of trees and wild grasses, providing an atmosphere of complete bliss for roaming the island.” You read that right. Complete bliss. How could you miss it? Matsuo Bashō, one of Japan's most celebrated haiku poets, a man with complete mastery over language, was speechless when he came to Matsushima. You can be assured Fukuurajima played a part in that.

Fukuurajima is a combination of three words: fuku meaning luck, ura meaning inlet or bay, and jima (actually shima before a sound change) meaning island. I have chosen to translate Fukuurajima as the lucky inlet for this article, as I could not find an official translation.  

The small island can be toured in about 2 hours. It is best done late in the afternoon to catch the sunlight illuminating everything on the island in gold and yellows. Fukuurajima should be visited in early spring for cherry blossoms, early fall or autumn colors, after a good snow storm and in the middle of summer for green foliage. There is a tea shop and many places to sit and enjoy the view. At ¥200 this place is a bargain for anyone looking for the definition of natural beauty.

Read more about Fukuurjima in the accompanying article here.

Photography by Andrew Kehoe
JapanTravel Member

Join the discussion

Roger Smith 3 months ago
Fukuurabashi is known as 出会い橋, a place where you might meet the person of your dreams. For some reason some people have also thought of it as a break-up bridge, but in Matsushima that's supposedly a different one. The red bridge to Oshima Island is 縁切り橋, a place to break bad relationships.
Justin Velgus 3 years ago
Can't walk across it twice? So someone is getting left on the island? haha Or walk back separately I guess. This begs the question why the island is called the Lucky Inlet, except for someone that has been trying unsuccessfully to break up a relationship. Ah, Japan your mysteries, folklore, and logic never cease to amaze me.
Andrew Kehoe Photographer 3 years ago
My friend from Ishinomaki told me that it was if you walk across it twice with your lover, your relationship is doomed. So, first time, its like a romantic walk but you can't repeat the same experience if you try it again and your relationship will never be the same...good thing I'm not superstitious...
Wouter Thielen 3 years ago
Not this bridge, but I heard another legend, that if you walk with your lover over the Togetsukyou bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto, and look back, you'll be in trouble. So keep your eyes fixed to what lies ahead of you!
Justin Velgus 3 years ago
Local legend says if you walk across the long bridge with your lover you will have trouble with your relationship. With deep water on either edge, it's not the place to get into a fight!