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Showing posts with label Matsue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matsue. Show all posts

Friday, October 14, 2011

Matsue Station

松江駅, 松江, 島根県

JR Matsue Station in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture is a main point of access for visitors to the city. JR Matsue Station is on the Sanin Line which actually runs all the way from Kyoto to Shimonoseki. From Matsue Station there are regular trains to Izumo, Yonago, Gotsu, Yunotsu, Hamada and Masuda.


The tourist information is in a booth just outside the main station entrance and there are a number of hotels close to Matsue Station.

Visitors to Matsue can enjoy Matsue Castle, Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence as well as a boat trip along the castle moats.




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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Original Japanese Castles

日本の城

There are only about a dozen completely original Japanese castles still in existence.

Matsue Castle

These castles remain more or less in their original state and are not reconstructions after castles were destroyed either at the beginning of the Meiji Period or during World War II.

Japan's twelve original castles include Hirosaki Castle in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, Matsumoto Castle, Inuyama Castle, Himeji Castle in Hyogo, Bitchu-Matsuyama Castle, Hikone Castle, Matsuyama Castle, Uwajima Castle, Matsue Castle, Maruoka Castle, Kochi Castle in Shikoku and Marugame Castle.

Nijo Castle in Kyoto is not considered original as the present buildings date from the late 19th century as the castle buildings were burnt down a number of times in its history.


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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yuushien Garden

由志園

Yuushien Garden is a beautiful Japanese walking garden with restaurants on the small island of Daikonshima in the Nakaumi lagoon near Matsue. Famous for its peonies, the garden has plants flowering in all four seasons. May is the time to see peonies en mass.

A classic Japanese circuit garden with pine trees, carp-filled ponds, island and bridges; there are beautiful camellias in spring, hydrangeas and iris in summer, red maples in autumn and, of course, snow-covered scenes in winter.

Yuushien Garden

Yuushien Garden has 3 restaurants (Tel: 0852 76 2255 open -11am-4pm) "Zen", "Momiji" and "Shobu" which offer a variety of tasty set courses made from local ingredients: maguro donburi, beef donburi, soba noodles, eel, tempura, seafood. Ginseng, a Daikonshima specialty is used in many dishes.

Yuushien Garden

There is also a shop selling local Japanese food delicacies including peony jam, rice crackers (senbei) and Japanese confectionary.

Yuushien Garden
1260-2 Yatsuka-cho
Matsue City
Shimane
Admission to the garden: 600 yen
Hours: 8.30am-5.30pm

Yuushien Garden

Daikonshima is connected to the mainland by bridges. Buses from Matsue Station take about 25 minutes. The nearest station is JR Sakaiminato and then a bus.

The images for this article were kindly summitted by a reader and if you have an attraction in Japan you would like to see presented on this site please contact us with the details and any photos you may have, we'd be happy to publish them.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Kachoen Matsue Vogelpark

花鳥園

Kachoen Matsue Vogelpark is a recommended attraction if you are visiting Matsue in Shimane Prefecture in south western Japan. The park is a superb presentation of flowers and birds in a lovely natural setting.

Birds on display that visitors can get up close and friendly with include ducks, emus, parrots, pelicans, penguins, swans and a seemingly endless variety of tropical birds. Birds of prey including eagles, hawks and owls are also shown to visitors by their expert handlers.

Kachoen Matsue Vogelpark

The large flower gardens include beautiful plantings of begonias, fuchsias and geraniums.

Matsue's Kachoen is part of a larger chain of bird and flower theme parks with sister sites in Kobe (Tel: 078 302 8899), Fujinomiya city in Shizuoka (Tel: 0544 302 8899) and Kakegawa Vogel Park also in Shizuoka (Tel: 0567 62 6363).

Kachoen Matsue Vogelpark is popular with couples and families especially on weekends and public holidays.

Kachoen Matsue Vogelpark

There are restaurants serving local food and a cafe on site.

The images for this article were kindly summitted by a reader and if you have an attraction in Japan you would like to see presented on this site please contact us with the details and any photos you may have, we'd be happy to publish them.

Access

Kachoen

52 Ogaki-cho
Matsue-shi
Shimane
690-0263
Hours: 9am-4.30pm
Admission: Adults 1050 yen; 6-12 year old children 525 yen

Take the train to Matsue Vogel Park Station from Matsue or Izumo on the Ichibata Railway Kitamatsue Line. Matsue Vogel Park Station is the 5th station on the line heading west from the terminus at Shinjiko Onsen Station in Matsue.


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Monday, March 02, 2009

Izumo To Matsue By Train

出雲ー松江の電車

Izumo and Matsue in Shimane Prefecture in south west Japan are connected by two railway lines.

Dentetsu train, Shimane

The JR San-in Line runs south of Lake Shinji and the Ichibata Railway Kitamatsue Line runs to the north of Japan's 7th largest lake. The JR San-in Line is the quicker of the two routes between the cities and is handy for Tamatsukuri Hot Springs and the small town of Shinji near Izumo Airport.

Dentetsu Izumo Station, Shimane

The Ichibata Railway Kitamatsue Line is good for Matsue Vogel Park, Matsue Water Village Museum & Garden and the terminus at Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Station is slightly nearer to Matsue Castle, the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence.

Akaimachi Station, Shimane

The JR San-in Line actually runs between Kyoto and Shimonoseki via Fukuchiyama, Tottori, Yonago, Matsue, Izumo, Yunotsu, Hamada, Masuda and Hagi.

Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Station, Shimane

The Ichibata Electric Railway has two lines. The 40km line between Izumo and Matsue and an 8km spur from Kawato Station (on the Kitamatsue Line) to Izumo Taisha-mae Station, near Izumo Taisha. The Ichibata Railway Izumo Station is to your right as you exit the main JR Izumo Station.

JR Train, Shimane


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Meteor Plaza Shichirui

メテオプラザ

There were violent thunderstorms along the Shimane coast near Mihonoseki on the night of December 10th 1992, so when Mr. Matsumoto and his family in Sozu village heard a loud noise they thought nothing of it. A little later they were amazed to discover a hole running through their house from the roof down through 2 storeys and the floor. Next morning under their house they discovered a 6.8 kilogram rock that is now officially named as the Mihonoseki Meteor.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

The meteor is on display in its own museum, part of the Meteor Plaza complex in nearby Shichirui. The unusual building, designed by Shimane architect Shin Takamatsu, houses an indoor seawater swimming pool, a 500 seat auditorium, and the terminal for ferries to the Oki Islands as well as the museum.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

The ovoid-shaped structure represents the meteor and inside it is a cavernous cinema that shows a couple of videos on the meteor. The narrow cone represents the trajectory of the meteor's descent to earth, and inside it the meteor itself is on display in an other-worldly blue light. The actual museum is quite small and has lots of photos, maps, and press clippings as well as sections of the roof, tatami etc from the house that the meteor passed through.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

The museum does not get many visitors. The ferry terminal is busy with daily ferries to the Oki Islands, the swimming pool is made good use of by all the local schools, but the auditorium is rarely used. The building is already showing wear and tear and is starting to look quite drab.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

Worth visiting if you are particularly interested in modern architecture or meteors, or if you have time to kill while waiting for a ferry, but otherwise not worth making a special trip. The museum is within reach of Matsue city.

Meteor Plaza
Matsue-shi, Mihonseki-cho, Shichirui 3246-1
Tel: 0852 72 3939
Open: Thur - Tue, 9am to 5pm
Entrance: 600 yen adults

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Matsue Buke Yashiki

武家屋敷, 松江, 島根県

The Buke Yashiki in Matsue is located on the Shiomi Nawate, the street bordering Matsue Castle moat to the north of the castle that also contains the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence.

Matsue Buke Yashiki, Shimane

A buke yashiki is a residence of a samurai, and this area was where the samurai serving the Lord of Matsue, Daimyo Matsudaira, lived.

Matsue Buke Yashiki

The residence was home to a samurai named Shiomi and his family and servants. The house remains exactly as it was when built in 1730. Shiomi was a middle-ranking samurai with an income of 1,000 koku, considerably less than a similarly ranked samurai from a richer region, so his property was somewhat more austere.

Matsue Buke Yashiki

Visitors can not actually enter the house, but because of the nature of traditional Japanese homes with their multitude of siding screen doors, one can peer into most parts of the dwelling and view the objects of daily use and also weapons.

Matsue Buke Yashiki
Tel: 0852 22 2243
Open every day
Apr-Sept 8:30am - 6:30pm
Oct-Mar 8:30am - 5:00pm
Entrance: 300 yen (50% discount for foreigners)

Matsue Buke Yashiki

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Jozan Inari Shrine Matsue

城山稲荷神社, 松江, 島根県

If you are visiting Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, almost certainly a visit to Matsue Castle will be first on the list of sights to see.

Probably after that you will head for the Shiomi-Nawate, the street along the castle moat with a cluster of other tourist sites such as the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence.

Jozan Inari Shrine Matsue

The best way is to walk 10 mins through the Jozan Park. At any time of the year it's a pleasant walk, but in April when the cherry blossoms are blooming it's astounding as there are several hundred cherry trees in the park.

Jozan Inari Shrine Matsue, Shimane

After leaving the castle keep and descending the hill on the north side, the path joins a small road. Passing the large torii (gate) on your left that leads up to the Gokoku Shrine, you soon see a group of vermillion torii on your right.

Jozan Inari Shrine Matsue, Shimane

Pass through the torii and you see the steps leading up to Jozan Inari Shrine. Don't be put off by the long flight of stairs, as the climb will reward you with a gallery of hundreds of fox statues.

Sometimes erroneously called the "fox god", foxes are in fact the messengers of Inari. There are hundreds of the tiny white ceramic foxes, and dozens of larger stone statues, green with age, camouflaged by the greenery.

This was Lafcadio Hearn's favorite shrine, and Hearn's house is just a stone's throw away across the moat.

Jozan Inari Shrine Matsue

One your way out you may want to stop off at the priest's house and buy an ofuda. Ofudas for most shrines are simple, narrow strips of paper with writing on, but the ofuda here is large and illustrated with a unique design. An unusual souvenir or gift.

Jozan Inari is the home of the Shikinnenn Shinkousai Festival, one of three greatest boat festivals in Japan, involving more than 100 decorated boats. The festival only occurs every 12 years and the next one is from 16th May to 24th May this year (2009).

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Matsue Local History Museum - Kyodokan

松江郷土館(興雲閣),島根県

The Matsue Kyodokan (local history museum) is located in the grounds of Matsue Castle.

Matsue Local History Museum - Kyodokan

The museum features displays of local history including old black & white photos of Matsue, local crafts and documents etc. The collection is hardly earth-shattering, but worth the entance price (which was free when I last visited).

Matsue Local History Museum - Kyodokan

The building itself is far more interesting, and is a wonderful example of Meiji Period architecture that incorporated Japanese design elements combined with western architecture.

Matsue Local History Museum - Kyodokan

It was built in 1903 for the princely sum of 13,489 yen by architect Risaburo Izumi, who also designed a bathouse in Yunotsu that now houses the Shinyu Gallery.

Matsue Local History Museum - Kyodokan

Local people referred to it as the "Russian Palace".

Matsue Local History Museum - Kyodokan

It was built for Emperor Meiji, who in the early years of his reign conducted six grand tours of Japan. Many towns built places for him to stay on the off-chance that he would visit. He never did come to Matsue.

Matsue Local History Museum
1-59 Tono-machi
Matsue-shi
Shimane
Open daily 08:30 to 17:00
Tel: 0852 22 3958

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Matsue Shimane City of Water

松江島根県

Horikawa, Matsue Shimane City of Water

Situated on the shore of Lake Shinji, Japan's 8th largest lake, and with the large Matsue Castle moat (horikawa) connecting to the Ohashi, Kensaki, Kyohashi, Yonago, and Kitada Rivers, Matsue, the Prefectural capital of Shimane, is known as the "City of Water."

Horikawa, Matsue Shimane City of Water

While comparisons to Venice are a little far-fetched, the waterways of the city are very pleasant and contribute to the ambiance of the city.

Horikawa, Matsue Shimane City of Water

One of the best ways to view Matsue is by boat, and there are 3 points around the town where one can board the Horikawa Boat Tour; in front of the main entrance to Matsue Castle, at Ohashi Bridge south-east of the castle, and Horikawa Fureai Square, north-west of the castle. The round trip takes 40 minutes, though one can get off at any point and reboard later.

Horikawa, Matsue Shimane City of Water

The trip circles the castle and passes other tourist sites such as the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum, Matsue Buke Yashiki and Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence. The long, narrow boats are covered against inclement weather, and in the cold months there are kotatsu to keep you warm.

The boats pass under 16 bridges, though be warned some of them are very low and so the roof of the boat is lowered, forcing the passengers to lie down!

Horikawa, Shimane

The boats depart every 15 minutes, though in the off-season you may get a boat all to yourself.

The cost is 1,200 yen for adults, 600 yen for kids, though as with most tourist sites in Matsue there is a 50% discount for foreign visitors.

January - June, 9-5
July - August, 9-6
September - October, 9-5
November - February, 9-4.
Tel: (0852) 27 0417

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum Matsue

小泉八雲記念館

Just up the street from the Lafcadio Hearn Old Residence in Matsue is the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum.

Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum Matsue

The building displays a selection of Hearn's original manuscripts, including a letter he wrote on the day he died in Tokyo - to a Japanese friend at the front during the Russo-Japanese War. Also on view is Hearn's specially-designed desk, his quills and inkpot and a number of his treasured Japanese pipes.

The displays have both Japanese and English explanations and the museum provides an excellent insight into the writer's life, especially if combined with a look at Hearn's former house a few doors away.

Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum Matsue

The Japanese-style building was built in 1984 and replaced a smaller, western-style museum first erected in 1935.

Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum
322 Okudani-cho
Matsue
690-0872
Tel: 0852 21 2147
Hours: 8.30am-6.30pm April 1-September 30; 8.30am-5pm October 1-March 31
Admission: 300 yen; 150 yen for foreigners

Take a bus from Matsue Station to Koizumi Yakumo Kinenkan-mae bus stop.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence Matsue

小泉八雲旧居

Across the moat from Matsue Castle and next door to the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum, is Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence - a delightful, small samurai house and gardens, where the writer lived from May-November 1891.

Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence, Matsue

It was here that Hearn began work on two of his most famous books: Kwaidan, a collection of ghost stories, and his classic Glimpses of Unfamilar Japan.

The tatami mat rooms are left open to the gardens when the weather is fine. Hearn's writing desk is preserved near the smaller of the two gardens, with a pond, at the back of the house.

Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence Matsue

"There are large rocks in it, heavily mossed; and divers fantastic basins of stone for holding water; and stone lamps green with years. There are miniature hills, with old trees upon them; and there are long slopes of green, shadowed by flowering shrubs, like river banks; and there are green knolls like islets." Glimpses of Unfamilar Japan, Vol II

The atmosphere is genuinely one of the late nineteenth century when Hearn lived in the house. The peaceful place lends itself to contemplation, as you sit on the floor and gaze at the beautiful gardens.

Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence, Matsue

Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence
9am-5pm (March-November); 10am-4.40pm (December-February)
Admission: 350 yen

Take a bus from Matsue Station to Koizumi Yakumo Kinenkan-mae bus stop.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Kachoen Kakegawa

花鳥園、掛川

Kachoen in Kakegawa in Shizuoka Prefecture is a large bird and flower park, which has overtaken Kakegawa Castle as the small town's biggest tourist attraction.

Man with bird in hand!

Visitors get the chance to feed and interact with birds in a semi-natural environment of greenhouses (supposedly Japan's largest), lotus ponds and outdoor spaces.

Kachoen Kakegawa

Kakegawa's Kachoen is part of a larger chain of bird theme parks with sister sites in Kobe (Tel: 078 302 8899), Fujinomiya city in Shizuoka (Tel: 0544 302 8899) and the huge Vogel Park (Tel: 0852 88 9800) in Matsue in Shimane.

Birds on display include owls (thankfully tethered or caged), emus, penguins, as well as a range of tropical birds such as flamingoes, parakeets and toucans.

Kachoen Kakegawa

If Hitchcock's The Birds scared you to death, this may not be the place for you, but for those not suffering from ornithophobia, Kachoen is an interesting and fun day out.

Access

Kachoen
Kakegawa City
Shizuoka
Tel: 0567 62 6363
Hours: 9am-4.30pm
Admission: Adults 1050 yen; 6-12 year old children 525 yen

Kachoen is a 10-15 minute walk south of Kakegawa Station or get on the loop bus that follows the southern route.

Kakegawa is a stop on the Tokaido shinkansen before Shizuoka and is easily accessible from Nagoya (1 hour) or Tokyo (1 hour, 50 minutes). By car, exit the Tomei Highway at Kakegawa IC.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Matsue Castle

松枝城

matsue castle I had to go up to the Prefectural capital, Matsue, yesterday, and with a few hours to kill I decided to finally make a visit to the castle. Built in 1611, Matsue Castle is one of only a handful of castles in Japan that has not been destroyed by fire or war. Most Japanese castles are replicas or reconstructions.

For 230 years, until the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the castle was home to the Matsudaira Clan, a junior branch of the ruling Tokugawa.

After paying the 600 yen entrance fee, a woman came running out of the office and gave me some change. Apparently thanks to the Yookoso Japan campaign there is a hefty discount for foreigners to all Matsue's tourist sites.

matsue

From the top floor of the castle there are fine views over the city and surrounding area. With a population of about 150,000, Matsue is not so big, and is actually quite a pleasant city.

matsue horikawa
A pleasure boat trip around the extensive castle moat is very popular with visitors. With the moat, canals, rivers, and Lake Shinji (7th largest lake in Japan), some call Matsue the Venice of Japan, but that, I think, is an exaggeration.

kitsune
In the shadow of the castle lived Matsue's most famous son, Koizumi Yakumo, better known as Lafcadio Hearn. The Greek-American writer spent one year here, teaching English, at the end of the 19th Century, and his home is open to tourists. While here he wrote "Glimpses Of An Unfamiliar Japan", which I heartily recommend to anyone who plans to visit this part of Japan.
Hearn's favorite shrine, Jozan Inari, is within the castle park, and is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of fox statues.

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