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Castles and Samurai

In rural Shimane, find the home of the gods and the birthplace of Japan.

Discover Matsue

Visit traditional Matsue, a stunning castle town nestled just off the coast of the Sea of Japan. Matsue Castle is at the absolute heart of the city. It was initially built over 400 years ago, and the city was later built around it. Matsue Castle is one of only twelve remaining original feudal castles in Japan. Where most castles have needed reconstruction, Matuse Castle still has its original wooden keep intact, along with other facets of the building. Enjoy exploring and admiring the views from the top of the tower, or consider taking a boat ride on the original moat surrounding the castle, where the guides can tell you more about Matsue’s history. The interior houses a museum with traditional artifacts and weapons.

On the edge of the castle grounds, Shiomi Nawate Street remains a relic of the Edo era. The street is considered to be one of the most aesthetic historic streets in Japan, as the residences have been preserved and maintained since that period. visit a samurai residence, to see how the samurai lived and browse through their original household items and personal belongings. Matsue History Museum, located east of Matsue Castle, offers even more of a glimpse into the town’s heritage and visitors can indulge in Japanese confections at Tea Shop Kiharu and find souvenirs at the Museum Shop, Enishizuku.

Matsue Vogel Park is a serene destination offering lush green hills, views of nearby mountain peaks, and close proximity to Shimane’s National Treasures. It serves as a perfect base for exploring the Izumo area and enjoying the nearby Tamatsukuri Onsen.

Izumo Taisha Shrine, known as the “Home of the Gods,” holds immense significance in Japanese mythology and Shinto beliefs. It is believed to be the gathering place for the gods during the annual Kamiari-no-Sai festival, where deities from all over Japan assemble for important meetings. The shrine’s architecture and sacred atmosphere provide a profound spiritual experience for visitors seeking a connection to ancient Japanese traditions and seeking blessings for various aspects of their lives.

The Lafcadio Hearn Museum in Matsue showcases the life and works of the renowned Western author who resided there. It includes his former residence and offers insights into his influential books like “Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan” and “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things,” bridging cultural understanding. A must-visit for tourists exploring Hearn’s connection to Matsue and his literary contributions.

The Adachi Museum of Art, located in nearby Yasugi, houses a remarkable collection of nihonga (modern Japanese paintings) by renowned artists like Yokoyama Taikan. With its six stunning gardens, over 1,500 exhibits of Japanese paintings, pottery, and other art forms, and recognition with a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide Japan, the museum offers a captivating and elegant artistic experience.

Tea plays an important part in the day-to-day life of Matsue. The city is home to one of Japan’s largest tea festivals. There is a bustling confectionary industry here, with artisan sweets created to accompany bowls of earthy matcha. Try the brightly colored Wagashi (traditional sweets) alongside a cup of tea for an authentic local experience.


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