Nestled between Nakaumi and Shinji lakes, Matsue is a historic castle town nicknamed the “City of Water”. It’s home to one of Japan’s few remaining original wooden castles and the former home of author Lafcadio Hearn, as well as the highly-acclaimed gardens of the Adachi Museum of Art.
Things to do in Matsue
Experience one of the best gardens in Japan at the Adachi Museum of Art, where floral displays are transformed throughout the seasons. The museum exhibits a rotating collection of 20th-century paintings, together with a permanent exhibit of works by the celebrated Nihonga-style painter, Yokoyama Taikan.
Green thumbs should also visit the beautiful Yushien Garden on Daikonshima Island in the middle of Lake Nakaumi. This traditionally-designed garden features tranquil streams, waterfalls and stone lanterns, as well as indoor and outdoor exhibits of flowering Japanese peonies.
Nicknamed the “black castle”, due to its darkly-coloured exterior, Matsue Castle is one of only a few Japanese castles whose original donjon tower remains intact. Admire the 17th-century weaponry and artefacts on display in the main keep, then jump aboard a boat to cruise along the surrounding moat.
Learn about the life and work of Lafcadio Hearn at the former residence of this Greek-born author who spent much of his life in Japan. Discover his role in introducing Japanese culture to the west through “Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan”, with exhibits including his former desk and Japanese pipe collection.
Getting around Matsue
Izumo Airport is 40 minutes by train from Matsue and Yonago Kitaro Airport is an hour’s drive east. There are overnight trains from Tokyo to Izumo, with connections to Matsue, while the city is compact enough to explore on foot or by bicycle.