Completed in 1611 and one of only 12 remaining original castles nationwide, Matsue Castle was built over a five-year period by Horio Yoshiharu, feudal lord and founder of Matsue. It was designated as a national treasure in 2015.
The elegance of the castle’s swooping roofs and decor is often compared to the wings of a plover bird (‘chidori’), which has led to the castle’s nickname, Plover Castle (‘chidori-jo’). There is a museum inside, and the top floor offers a panoramic view of the castle grounds and the city.
Horikawa Sightseeing Boa
This boat tour circles the castle’s historical inner and outer moats, passing points of interest which you may not see otherwise. The boat also passes under particularly low-built bridges from time to time, meaning the passengers need to duck down as the roof lowers. Kotatsu heaters are placed in the boat during winter and passengers can literally experience the “warmth” of Japanese tradition.
Karakoro Art Studio
Clearly recognisable by its Greek architecture, the Karakoro Art Studio is a former bank that was restored and reopened as a craftwork centre containing both workshops and retail outlets. At this atelier, and among other workshops, you can have a go at creating your own magatama (comma-shaped beads) or wagashi (Japanese confectionary), two special products of Matsue. The heavy vault doors in the basement remain as they were when the building was used as a bank, and vault is sometimes used for special events!
Lake Shinji Pleasure Cruise
While a stroll along the lakeshore already provides an interesting view of the lake, you can also enjoy the lake’s scenic beauty from the cruise boat, which also runs a special sunset cruise. This sightseeing boat takes visitors on a one-hour tour around Lake Shinji. There are five or six tours per day, and the last tour each day, the ‘Sunset Cruise’ is particularly popular, as it offers the opportunity to view the vibrant colours of the sun streaked sky and lake surface from closer to the action.
Designated Lake Shinji
Sunset viewing spots
The Lake Shinji sunset spot features include terraces on the path running adjacent to the lake. Sitting there one could marvel at the sight of the sun setting against Yomegashima. On the other side of the road from the terrace there is 36 space car park from which one can use an underground crossing to safely reach the viewing terrace.
[Car Park Spaces 36]
Yuushien is a traditional Japanese-style garden located in the centre of Daikonshima Island. Unlike the garden of the Adachi Museum of Art, it is designed as a walk-through garden with ponds, streams and small waterfalls. Its main attraction, the peony flower, blooms in winter and spring, and the garden is resplendent year round with a variety of seasonal blooms, such as irises and hydrangea in summer, and sasanqua and “momiji” foliage in autumn. Peonies are also kept in a hot house, where their blossoms can be viewed all year round. The volcanic rock of Daikonshima is also incorporated in the garden’s design. There are three restaurants and a tea-room from which you can enjoy the garden scenery.