Matsue Castle tower and cherry blossom in Matsue, Shimane, Japan
Holidays to Matsue, Japan
Head to Matsue and you’ll uncover a world of history, culture and epic sunsets. This charming city is best known for its 17th century castle, which dates from 1611. It’s one of the country’s few original castles which has not been destroyed by fire or war and as such offers amazing and unique historical and cultural context. Once the home of the samurais Matsudaira clan, today the six-story wooden castle is home to a display of arms and armour. The top floor is worth the hike up for the views over the city and Lake Shinji. The surrounding park is good for a wander too, look out for the fox statues in the Jozan Inari Shrine. Learn more about the castle at the nearby Matsue History Museum and the Matsue Horanenya Museum.
Across the castle moat you’ll find a street lined with samurai residences. You can visit some of them and check out the collection of weapons and other samurai artefacts. As well as samurai culture, the city is also deeply connected with author Lafcadio Hearn, known by the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, who wrote books including ‘Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan’, in which he describes Matsue. You can visit his old residence and then head next door to the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and see his original manuscripts, desk, quills, ink pot and several of his favourite Japanese tobacco pipes. If you prefer art to literature, you can see paintings by Monet and wood-block prints by Utagawa Hiroshige, as well as works by modern Japanese artists, at the Shimane Prefectural Art Museum.
To uncover more about the tea culture here, head to the Tanabe Art Museum and peruse a fine collection of tea ceremony utensils. Opening in 1979, the museum is based around the collection of Tanabe Choemon XXIII, once a prefectural governor of Shimane. To try out the tea culture here visit the Meimei-an Teahouse which, dating from 1779, is considered one of the best preserved teahouses in the country. For an overall sense of Matsue take a cruise; the waterways of the city are pleasant and offer great insight into the city.
Check out one of the country’s best-preserved castles
Explore Edo-period samurai residences
Learn more at many galleries and museums
Matsue Trip Ideas
Here are some trip ideas that include Matsue. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777