Now, after the earthquake and tsunami
Matsushima islands are known as one of three best scenic spots in Japan, and also have been the inspiration for many poets and artist through out the history of Japan.
Basho was one of them. When he visited the islands during his journey of the "Narrow Road to the Deep North", Basho did not write haiku there, but Sora, his travel companion did. Basho included it in his journal. Reason why Basho did not write haiku is not known. Some say that he was too overwhelmed by their beauty to find words of haiku.
Matsushima isles are a bit north of Sendai city, and could not escape the attack of the earthquake and tsunami. I did some web-search to find out the extent of the damage. Though there is limited news about it, it is clear that the damage is pretty extensive. Many islands were bathed by the tsunami, lost beautiful pine trees, Island rocks collapsed.
I happened to find a tweet by a person living in Sendai. She says that despite the damage, Matsushima will recover soon, and is a beautiful place so please visit there.