MatsueMatsue (松江) is an old castle town at the heart of Izumo Province (present-day Shimane Prefecture), and with a population of approximately 207,000 is its largest city.
Situated between the shores of Lake Shinji and an inner sea, the city is rich in canals and is often called "City of Water".
Matsue and its surrounding area is rich in cultural assets and historical sites, and many of Japan's most ancient legends are set in the area.
Matsue has been the political, economic, and cultural capital of the region for much of the past two millennia. At the time of the agriculture-based Yayoi civilization, between the third century BC and CE, and even earlier, during the Jomon civilization, much of whay is now Matsue was underwater.
A large inland sea covered much of the area. As a result, most of the archaeological sites associated with the ancient Izumo tribe and the origins of Japanese civilization are found on higher ground, on the city's southern edge.
The younger city center developed from 1607 with the construction of Matsue Castle.
Land of MythsMany of the myths compiled in the Kojiki, Japan's oldest collection of Myths, dating from the early 8th century take place in the province of Izumo. All the gods of Japan descend upon Matsue before going to their annual meeting at the Grand Shrine of Izumo (in neighboring Izumo). The entrance to the Underworld, ruled over by the god Susanoo can also be found in Matsue.
Lafcadio Hearn and the Irish connection
Hearn wrote about his life in Meiji Era Matsue and chronicled many local legends and ghost stories he has become Matsue's favorite son, and the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and his former residence are among the city's most popular attractions.
Matsue’s Hearn connection led the national government to proclaim it one of Japan’s three top international tourist cities, along with the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara.
Because of Hearn's Irish roots there are cultural connections between Matsue and Ireland and an Irish festival and parade is held yearly.
Most visitors to Matsue will arrive at Matsue Station.
Matsue city center is split into two parts by the Ōhashi River(大橋川). The river forms a natural division between the ancient and modern parts of Matsue.
Matsue Station, most hotels, shops and restaurants are clustered in the southern part, while most historical sites and attractions are found in the northern part.
The city center is not too big and most attractions are at walking distance.
Matsue Tourist Information CenterHas maps and pamphlets in English and can offer advice on what's happing around town.
Matsue History Museum Tourist Information Office
Matsue Goodwill Guides
The northern side of the Chugoku area of Japan on which Matsue lies is called the San'in and the southern part (on the Hiroshima side) is called the San'yo. The San'in and San'yo are separated by a range of mountains which results in quite different weather on both sides.
In the San'in there is much more precipitation than in the San'yo with quite some snowfall in winter. Summers are hot and humid with lots of rainfall during rainy season (June to mid-July), making spring and autumn the ideal times to visit.
By planeMatsue is serviced by two nearby airports: Izumo Airport (IZO) and Yonago Airport (YGJ).
Izumo Airport has flights by JAL to Tokyo Haneda, Osaka Itami, Fukuoka and the Oki Islands.
Shuttle buses to Matsue Station are scheduled to connect to every arriving flight. A one way trip takes 30 minutes and costs ¥1000.
Yonago Airport has flights by ANA to Tokyo Haneda and Asiana flies to Incheon International Airport in Korea three times a week.
Shuttle buses to Matsue Station are scheduled to connect to every arriving national flight. A one-way trip takes 45 minutes and costs ¥960.
Trains operated by Japan Rail depart from Yonago Airport station approximately once every hour. To get to Matsue travellers should transfer at Yonago station. A one way trip to Matsue costs ¥740 by regular train (90 minutes) and ¥2180 by express (70 minutes).
The Super Yakumo express train runs between Okayama to Matsue, departing every hour from 7PM until 9:40PM daily. The trip takes approximately 2hr 30 mins.
Matsue is also on the San'in Main Line, which runs along western Honshu's sea coast between Kyoto and Shimonoseki.
Japan Rail also operates a daily Sunrise Izumo night train between Tokyo and Matsue. Prices vary depending on the accommodation booked, which range from simple berths to private cabins.
By busHighway buses connect Matsue and Tokyo (nightbus only), Osaka, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Okayama, Kobe and Nagoya (nightbus only). The ticket office is outside Matsue Station behind the Lawson convenience store.
By carComing from Kansai:
Take the Chugoku Expressway westwards towards Hiroshima. At Ochiai JCT take the Yonago Expressway towards Yonago. Once in Yonago take the San'in Expressway to Matsue (parts of this road will be free of toll). Get off at Matsue Nishi.
By normal roads:
Take Route 9 from Kyoto all the way to Matsue. Some parts of the freeway in Tottori prefecture and Shimane prefecture are toll-free so do take advantage of that where you can.
Coming from Kyushu, Yamaguchi prefecture:
Quite some stretches of road towards Matsue are not yet covered by highway (although new parts are constantly being built).
When taking the Chugoku Expressway eastwards it's possible to take the Hamada Expressway at Chiyoda JCT towards Hamada and then Route 9 along the coast to Matsue, or to exit the highway at Miyoshi and take Route 314 through the mountains until Unnan(Mitoya-Kisuki) and then take the expressway to Matsue. Get off at Matsue Nishi. Both routes should take the same amount of time, although that may change depending on which highway is completed sooner.
By normal roads:
From Shimonoseki take Route 2 to Yamaguchi. The highway from Ube to Yamaguchi is toll-free so do take advantage of that.
From Yamaguchi take Route 9 along Tsuwano, Masuda, Hamada all the way to Matsue.
Seeing how many parts of the highways towards Matsue are still under construction (April 2012) taking Route 9 from Yamaguchi to Matsue can be almost as fast as taking the highway (and is considerably cheaper).
By boatOvernight ferries depart twice a week from Sakaiminato DBS Ferry Terminal to Donghae, Korea and then onwards to Vladivostok, Russia a day later.
To get to Sakaiminato DBS Ferry Terminal from Matsue take the train from Matsue Station to Sakaiminato station (transfer in Yonago). There are free shuttle buses to the terminal on Friday and Saturday.
DBS Cruise Ferry Japan Co., Ltd.phone: +81 859 30-2332For booking and more information
On footMatsue city center is not that big, and most attractions are at walking distance.
The Matsue International Tourist Information Office in front of the station has a free umbrella loan system where abandoned umbrellas are put to good use, so do pick one up in case the weather changes!
By bikeBicycles are a quick and convenient way to get around Matsue. They can be rented at several locations.
Around Matsue Station:
Eki Rentaka Kansaiphone: +81 852 23-8880¥500 per day. Rental period: 8AM-7PM. Inside the Matsue Station Shamine parking structure.
phone: +81 852 21-7518¥200 for 2 hours to ¥1100 per day. Rental period: 8:00 - 20:00. Across the street from the station.
phone: +81 852 22-0002Offers 24 hour rentals. Hotel guests get a discount on rentals (up to one hour is free of charge).
Around Shinjiko Onsen station (Ichibata Railways):
Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Stationphone: +81 852 21-2429
phone: +81 852 23-0003Offers 24 hour rentals. Hotel guests get a discount on rentals (up to one hour is free of charge).
- Bright red retro-styled Lake Line tourist buses drive around in loops along all major attractions. One bus every 20 minutes. A one-time fare is ¥200 for adults and ¥100 for children. A day ticket, which will allow you to hop on and off all day long, costs ¥500 for adults and ¥250 for children. Route map (in Japanese)
- Matsue City Buses depart from Matsue Station and are a good way to get to areas further out which are not covered by the Lake Line bus. Matsue Bus (Japanese only)
- Japan Rail trains are a convenient way to get to parts of Matsue which as further out such as Tamatsukuri Onsen, Shinji and Higashi Matsue. They are also a good way to get to nearby places such as Izumo, Yonago and Iwami Silver Mine. Japan Rail trains depart from Matsue Station.
- Ichibata Railway operates a train service which runs along the north of Lake Shinji to Izumo. These trains are a good option if you're planning on going to nearby Grand Shrine of Izumo (Izumo Taisha) or Ichibata Temple. A one day unlimited use ticket costs ¥1500 (same price for both adults and children).
Three-day combination ticket
- Ichibata Railway
- Lake Line bus
- All Matsue City buses
- All Izumo City buses
- Ichibata bus services within Matsue and Izumo
- Izumo Airport bus
- Yonago Airport bus
Japan Rail services are not included.
The Enmusubi Perfect Ticket is sold at the following locations:
- Matsue International Tourist Information Office in front of Matsue Station
- Izumo Tourist Information Office at Izumo station
- Ichibata Railway stations such as Shinjiko Onsen station
- Ichibata Travel Service ticket offices. Behind the Lawson at Matsue Station and next to the Ichibata Hotel in Izumo.
- Shimane Prefectural Products and Tourist Centre, across the road from Matsue Castle parking area.
- Izumo Airport information counter
- Yonago Airport information counter
By taxiTaxis can be found waiting on both sides of Matsue Station.
The easiest way to get a taxi when not around the station is to ask a hotel or shop operator to call one.
As in any every city in Japan taxis are a very expensive way to get around, even when travelling short distances.
Ichibata Taxiphone: +81 852 21-4334 (English not spoken)The largest taxi company.
By carA car is not really needed inside Matsue city, but might be an option if when planning to venture out to places further out which are not easily reachable by public transport.
phone: +81 852 21-7518
Matsue Castle and Shiomi Nawate Samurai Street
phone: +81 852 21-4030address: 1-5 Tono-machiThe castle keep is one of only twelve original castles left in Japan, dating back to 1611. Inside the castle you'll find an impressive array of original artifacts from the Matsudaira clan including original armor, swords, and helmets. The top of the castle offers a great view of Matsue City and Lake Shinji.
KōunkakuA sort of colonial house with Japanese architectural elements.
Shiomi NawateThis old samurai residential street runs along the north east side of Matsue Castle, across the moat. Many of Matsue's musea and other historical attractions can be found in this area.
phone: +81 852 32-1607address: Tono-machi 279The Matsue History Museum offers a glimpse into the past of Matsue and the surrounding area. The museum also houses the Matsue International Tourist Information Office. The staff speaks English and can help with booking a hotel.
phone: +81 852 21-2147address: Okudani-chō 322Writer Lafcadio Hearn lived in Matsue from 1890 to 1891, and the museum was built next to his former residence. On display are many objects belonging to or related to Hearn, including his desk, his favorite quill and ink pot, manuscripts and several favorites from his large Japanese pipe collection.
Lafcadio Hearn's Former Residenceaddress: Kitahori-chō 315The former residence of writer Lafcadio Hearn. Hearn spent many of his happiest months in Matsue. Here he wrote most of Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, his chief work, as well as large portions of what was to become Kwaidan.
Jozan Inari Shrinephone: +81 852 22-2324address: Tonomachi 449-2An Inari "fox" shrine surrounded by hundreds of fox statuettes. This shrine was one of Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn's favorite places in Matsue. It is the starting point and ending of the three-day Horanenya festival, which is held only once every 12 years.
phone: +81 852 22-2243address: 305 Kitatono-machiThe residence of a former samurai housing many of his weapons and other artifacts.
phone: +81 852 55-4700address: 1-5 Sodeshi-chōWorks by artists from Shimane prefecture as well as from other parts of Japan are on display. The museum also has a nice selection of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. There are often special exhibitions featuring Japanese and international artists. The museum has a lakeside sculpture park. When you encounter the statues of a line of hopping rabbits be sure to rub the head of the foremost rabbit as it is said that this brings good luck.
phone: +81 852 21-6056address: Sotonakabara-chō 179While the temple was destroyed during the Meiji Period, the temple grounds still contain the graves of the Matsudaira clan, including the first Daimyo, who was also the grandson of Tokugawa shogunate founder Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Sunset over Lake ShinjiAmong Japanese sunset connoisseurs the sunsets over Lake Shinji rank as number 2 on the national list (the number 1 spot being taken by the floating torii at Miyajima).
A special sunset viewing platform (Yuuhi Spot) which has been constructed along the lakeside is the best place to see the sun go down behind Yomegashima island.
Especially on the weekends dozens of photographers gather here to try to take the perfect shot of the sunset.
phone: +81 852 33-7032address: Okudani-chō 140Part of Shimane University Museum, this European style house was built in 1924 for foreign teachers at Matsue senior high school.
phone: +81 852 21-1148address: Sakusa-chō 227This shrine is dedicated to the gods of Japan's first official marriage and attracts many people who come and pray for a marriage partner or a divination of their future love life. In the woods behind the shrine is a small mirror pond on which people float fortune papers purchased at the shrine on which they place a coin to weigh them down. The time it takes for the paper to sink symbolizes the time it will take before a marriage partner will be found. Also note the small shrine with large stone genitalia on display. These carvings were not prayed to for fertility, but for the healing of various genital disorders.
Kamosu Shrinephone: +81 852 21-6379address: Oba-chō 563Built in 1583, Kamosu Shrine is the oldest shrine built in the "taisha-zukuri" architectural style remaining in Japan. The creator gods Izanami and Izanagi are enshrined together in Kamosu Shrine. It is believed to pre-date the Grand Shrine of Izumo, Izumo Taisha by several hundred years and is a designated National Treasure.
phone: +81 852 23-2485address: Matsue, Oba-chō 456Ancient burial mounds and relics from the Kofun period (3rd to 6th centuries CE).
phone: +81 852 54-0087address: Yakumo-chō Kumano 2451Kumano Taisha (Kumano Grand Shrine) rests imposingly at the foot of Kumano Mountain across a bright red bridge at the headwaters of the Iu river. It has long been the region's Ichinomiya, or principal shrine, though today the nationally revered Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine ranks higher.
phone: +81 852 36-3030address: Nishi-Hamadasa-chō 369An authentic English garden and hothouses. Houses trendy Restaurant Laut.
phone: +81 852 88-9800address: 52 Ōgaki-chōOne of the largest greenhouses in the entire world, Vogel Park has an impressive variety of flowers and greenery. It is also an aviary housing many different species of birds, including a popular quartet of penguins.
phone: +81 852 76-2255address: 1260-2 Yatsuka-chō HanyuThis garden is on nearby Daikonjima island and has been designed so that it shows different flowers in each season. Daikonjima is famous for its peonies and 250 different kinds are on display at Yuushien.
phone: +81 852 52-6704According to the Kojiki, Japan's oldest collection of myths from the 8th century CE, the entrance to Hell or the Underworld (Yomi, 黄泉) is in the province of Izumo, in what now is the eastern part of Matsue. The Underworld is ruled over by Susanoo, the god of sea and storms. The entrance to the underworld has been sealed off by a large boulder place there by the creator god Izanagi.
Events and festivals
Castle Festivalphone: +81 852 21-4030address: Matsue Castle groundsHeld yearly from late March to mid April. Around this time the cherry trees around the castle will be in full bloom, and many people have hanami picnics on the castle grounds. In the evening lanterns are lit, making it possible to picnic until 9PM.
On the weekends various events are held on the castle grounds.
phone: +81 852 20-0207Because writer Lafcadio Hearn, one of Matsue's favorite sons, was from Ireland there are strong links between between Ireland and Matsue. This ties are the most visible at the Matsue Irish Festival, which is held yearly for two consecutive days on a weekend in March and may (or may not) coincide with St. Patrick's Day. Events include a parade during the day and an Irish pub with live music inside Karakoro Art Studio in the evening. Wear something green!
phone: +81 852 62-3300address: TamatsukuriHeld yearly from late March to mid April. The cherry blossom trees in Tamatsukuri Onsen hot springs town will be in full bloom, so it's a great spot to have a picnic and maybe afterwards have a long soak in one of Tamatsukuri's many hot springs. Lots of events are held on the weekends and the streets are lit until late, making it an ideal place for a romantic evening stroll along the river which runs through town.
Horanenyaaddress: The river connecting Lake Shinji to the inner seaA very special festival, held only once every 12 years. Very colorful boats with many rowers and dancing kabuki actors on them accompany a portable shrine from Jozan Inari Shrine at Matsue Castle to a shrine in Higashi-Matsue. The festival lasts for three days, with the boats putting on a show underneath the bridges of Matsue on day 1 and 3, and a smaller show in Higashi-Matsue on day 2. Expect huge crowds especially on the final day. The next Horanenya festival will be held in May 2021.
Suigosai Fireworksphone: +81 852 32-0504address: The shores of Lake Shinji from the Shimane Art Museum all the way to Ichibata HotelMassive fireworks display over Lake Shinji on two consecutive evenings, the second evening having the larger show. The Suigosai festival is held yearly late July or early August. Many locals like to lay down a plastic sheet the day before to reserve a top viewing spot, so don't be afraid to do the same. The northern bank of Lake Shinji will be host to a huge amount of food stalls.
Matsue Tenjin Festivalphone: +81 852 24-4031address: Tenjin-machiA lively festival held for two days every year in late July in the Tenjin-machi area, not too far from Matsue Station. On the first day a portable shrine is be carried around town from 5PM to 9PM.
On the second day there are food stalls and events in the Tenjin-machi area.
Floating lanterns on Lake Shinjiaddress: Along the north side of Lake Shinji, close to the Matsue Ohashi BridgeHeld each year mid August at the end of the Obon festival. The sight of floating paper lanterns being placed on Lake Shinji, symbolizing the return of ancestor spirits to another realm, is quite breathtaking. In 2012 this event will be held on the 16th of August.
phone: +81 852 27-5873Paper lanterns luminate the streets along the Matsue Castle moat from the Shimane Prefectural office all the way along Shiomi Nawate street. On Fridays and weekends there are food stalls on the Matsue Castle parking area and the Horikawa Sightseeing Boats will also operate in the evening during this period. From mid-September to mid-October.
Matsue Dogyoretsu Drum Paradephone: +81 852 27-5843address: Matsue castle and surrounding streetsAn ancient and very loud festival, where massive drums on floats are pulled through the streets of Matsue. Every neighbourhood has their own drum, so competition to have the best drumming performance is fierce each year. Held yearly mid-October in the afternoon. Drummers gather around Matsue castle around noon and the parade starts at 2PM.
phone: +81 852 27-5843address: 73 Kashimacho SadamiyauchiA ritual purification dance performed yearly on 24 and 25 September at Sada Shrine. This dance has been inscribed by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and for this reason it's being performed every Saturday evening (reservation required).
phone: +81 852 27-0417Take one of these boats through the moat around Mastue Castle and the neighboring canals for a totally different perspective on the city. The boats feature traditional charcoal heated low table or kotatsu during colder weather. There are several stops for getting on and off, the main one being right behind the parking area of Matsue Castle.
- Rest your wary feet in the public hot springs footbath at Shinjiko Station while chatting with the locals. Next to Shinjiko Station, free of charge.
- Take a long soak in the hot springs at Tamatsukuri Onsen and Shinjiko Onsen.
phone: +81 852 60-1866Matsue's basketball team competes in the top tier Japanese league. Matches are held on a regular basis.
Local foods, crafts and souvenirs
phone: +81 852 22-5758address: 191 Tono-machiSells foods and traditional crafts from all over Shimane.
Matsue Gokorophone: +81 852 27-0875address: Kitahori-cho 318Sells local foods and sake.
phone: +81 852 26-6511address: Asahi-machi 472-2A one-stop shop for local souvenirs, foodstuffs and sweets.
Wagashi Japanese sweets
Matsue, as one of Japan's three largest centers for the tea ceremony, has been nurturing the art of Japanese-style wagashi confectionery for several hundred years.
phone: +81 852 21-2727address: Tenjin-machi 124The speciality of this shop is Wakakusa, a green, plum-flavored sweet. This sweet was one of the favorites of Lord Fumai, who was Matsue's seventh Daimyo feudal lord and the Edo period's greatest connoisseur of tea.
phone: +81 852 21-3359address: Shirakatahon-machi 15Specializes in Yamakawa pale pink and white confections, another favorite of Lord Fumai.
phone: +81 852 21-2622address: Tenjin-machi 97This shop is famous for a sweet called Matsue-jō (Matsue Castle), which is a sweet paste-based, golden-floured confection.
Clothing and accessories
Kyomise Streetaddress: Suetsuguhon-machiA quaint cobbled street with lots of small shops selling accessories, Japanese sweets and clothing.
phone: +81 852 20-7000address: Tono-machi 43Housed in an old bank building, Karakoro Art Studio consists of a jewelry workshop, accessory shops, a bakery and different cafes and restaurants. Musical events are held here throughout the year.
phone: +81 852 21 4779address: Tonomachi 407Sells a wide variety of crystals and jewels. Specializes in Magatama, tear drop shaped pendants made by hand since prehistoric times from locally hewn jade.
phone: +81 852 27-5720address: Tenjin-machi 136, Matsue, 2nd floorPort Below sells a wide range of imported clothes and accessories. The shop also has a cafe where often music events and parties are held.
Malls and supermarkets
AEON Matsue Shopping Centerphone: +81 852 32-2121address: Higashiasahi-machi 151The largest and most popular shopping mall in Matsue. Features many cafes and restaurants, a supermarket, many boutique shops and a cinema.
Ichibata Department Storephone: +81 852 55-2500address: Asahi-machi 661The most up-scale department store in Matsue.
phone: +81 852-23-2080address: Horo-machi 180-9Imported foods and delicatessen. A good place to go if you have a craving for a taste of home. Has a good selection of imported cheeses, cereals, wines and beers. Lapin has several stores throughout Matsue, but the store to the east of Matsue Castle is the easiest to get to on foot from the city center.
International ATMs can be found at most Post Offices. Many smaller post offices are closed on weekends and most ATMs shut down after office hours. The ATMs at Matsue Central Post Office have the longest hours of operation. Please refer to the Contact section for more information.
Most banks in Matsue will exchange money. The banking section at Matsue Central Post Office also offers money exchange services.
The seven delicacies of Lake Shinji are:
- Shijimi clams
- Sea bass
phone: +81 852 31-8308address: Asahi-machi 491-1Has English menus.
phone: +81 852 22-2400address: Kitabori-cho 308,A picturesque restaurant in a former samurai residence, with central garden, teahouse and carp-filled pond, specializing in soba and udon noodles.
Akabekophone: +81 852 24-8400address: Asahi-machi 496-5A small, cozy sushi bar popular with the locals. Uses fresh, local ingredients. Has a special sushi sample course of around ¥1000 aimed at foreign visitors. Vegetarian sushi is available.
TomoeanIn a 1923 traditional Japanese building, not-so-expensive izakaya with spacious single rooms. Ignore the numerous hostess bars on the way.
phone: +81 852 20-0301address: Gakuen 2-5-3This cafe specializes in espresso coffee. The owner was Nr 1 at the Japanese national barista competition.
Kuuphone: +81 852 21-4134address: Sodeshichō 10-11A cosy bakery with its own cafe. The bakery specializes in soft yeasty bread but also has a nice selection of European breads. The cafe serves light, mainly vegetarian lunches. If you like you select the bread you'd like to eat in the cafe.
Waterworksphone: +81 852 25-1044address: Nishitsuda 6-11-32A stylish cafe, popular with young women. Has a wide range of teas and coffees.
Al Solephone: +81 852-28-0272address: Asahi-machi 489A small family owned Italian restaurant. The chef likes to use high quality local ingredients in his cooking. Portions may be on the small side for Western tastes. Vegetarian friendly.
phone: +81 852 20-7128address: Asahi-machi 47-8-18, Second floor of Terrsa (テルサ)Capriciosa one of Japan's oldest chains of Italian restaurants. Do not let that scare you off, because its founders actually went to Italy to learn about Italian food. Serves decent pastas and pizzas at mid-range prices. Has nice views over the Matsue station area. Vegetarian friendly.
phone: +81 852 36-4100address: Nishihamasadachō 330-1Situated in the back of Matsue English Garden, this trendy lounge style restaurant is a bit out of the way, but the views over Lake Shinji and atmosphere more than make up for it. Serves the largest pizzas in Matsue and bakes its own bread. English Garden is closed in the evening, so you'll have to walking along the path on the right side to the back English Garden to get to Laut. Laut is sometimes reserved by wedding parties, so it's a good idea to call ahead. Vegetarian friendly, consult with the waiter.
Pasta Factory Ortaggiophone: +81 852 28-0101address: Suetsuguhonmachi 82A popular pasta restaurant. Also sells pizzas.
Le Restaurant Haraphone: +81 852 25-2010address: Nakabara-chō 111A cosy restaurant run by chef Hara and his wife. Homely atmosphere and friendly staff. Vegetarians should call a day in advance.
phone: +81 852 61-5788address: Suetsuguhon-machi 8-8Chef Ohashi has studied cooking in France and is passionate about finding new ways to use and present local ingredients. English and French is spoken. Reservations are recommended. Vegetarians should call a few days in advance.
phone: +81 852 27-7720address: Gakuen 1-16-26Small and friendly Indian restaurant. Their "Big Naan" is massive! Also sells spices which can be hard to get in regular Japanese supermarkets. Vegetarian friendly.
phone: +81 85232-6610address: 1-24 NishichamachiNice selection of authentic Sri Lankan curries. Vegetarians should call one day in advance.
phone: +81 852 24-3356address: Suetsuguhon-machi 77 3rd FloorThe largest nightclub in Matsue. Features live acts and DJs most Fridays and Saturdays.
phone: +81 852 21-0120address: Tera-machi 203-1It's a small music bar, but it manages to attract some very big names from the Japanese music world (and beyond) to perform here.
St. James's Gatephone: +81 80-6315-9630address: Isemiya-chō 501-12An Irish pub which is popular both with locals and Matsue's small expat community. One of the very few places in this part of Japan which has Guinness beer on tap. Things can get very lively here on Friday and Saturday evenings! English is spoken and Fish'n'chips are served.
5150 Music Cafe Barphone: +81 852 23-1251address: Tera-machi 199-1, 2nd floorA hard rock music bar popular with the local English teacher crowd. Often hosts international events.
phone: +81 50-5834-7084address: Wadami-chō 39A cozy night cafe. Has an interesting collection of retro style chairs and sofas on the second floor. Serves a wide array of drinks and wild looking desserts until late at night. From time to time local musicians have concerts here.
Mochaphone: +81 852 28-6682address: Higashicha-machi 38A laid-back bar, popular with the local hipster crowd.
Around Matsue Station
phone: +81 852 25-4100address: 60-3 Tenjin-machiNothing fancy, just a pleasant family run ryokan inn with shared bathrooms and internet access. The hosts can pick you up at the train station. Shirakata Tenmangu Shrine is across the street from the inn. No credit cards accepted.
phone: +81 852 60-1045address: 498-10 Asahi-machiInternet access is available in the lobby, and coin laundry is available as well.
phone: +81 852 25-0001address: Asahi-machi 471The Universal Hotel chain has several buildings around Matsue Station.
phone: +81 852 28-3000address: Asahi-machi 460-8
phone: +81 852 22-0002address: Asahi-machi 590-3No nonsense business hotel. Rooms have LAN internet.
phone: +81 852 27-0109address: 590 Asahi-machiThe most up-scale hotel in this area.
phone: +81 852 31-2200address: Otesenba-chō 567Rooms have basic amenities and LAN internet.
Matsue Shinjiko Onsen, and around Matsue Castle
phone: +81 852 25-4100address: 31 Suetsuguhon-machiA quirky business hotel. Although fine for a solo traveler, avoid double occupancy as the rooms are small even by business hotel standards and the so-called doubles only have one single bed. The hotel is easy to find, with a large clock tower on top; in fact, the owners have sprinkled their collection of antique clocks and other furniture throughout the hotel.
phone: +81 852 23-0003address: Nishicha-machi 40-1Lakeside rooms have views over Lake Shinji. Rooms have LAN internet. Parking is ¥525 per night. English is spoken.
phone: +81 852 22-0188address: Chidori-chō 30Matsue's most upscale hotel, on the shoreline of Lake Shinji. Japan's emperor stayed here the last time he was in town. Lakeside rooms have a view over Lake Shinji. English is spoken.
phone: +81 852 21-2424address: Saika-machi 153The friendly middle-aged staff do their best to compensate the out-of-fashion design. Free parking, and free bicycles to reach the main sights. Free rice and miso soup breakfast. And even free coupons to use another hotel's hot bath with a lake view (10 minutes by bicycle)
Sleeping at an Internet cafeOvernighting in a lounge chair in a private booth at an internet cafe might not be very glamorous but is an option if you're travelling on a tight budget. Showers, food and parking are available. Most internet cafes in Matsue are clustered around Shimane University, a bit of a walk northwards from Matsue Station.
See the Contact section of this article for more information.
All phone numbers displayed on this page are in international format. To dial using local format substitute "+81" with "0".
address: Asahi-machi 138Close to Matsue Station.
Matsue Tono-machi Post OfficeClose to Matsue Castle, at Shimane Prefectural Office (島根県庁 Shimane Kenchō)
WiFi hotspotsMost McDonalds restaurants in Japan offer complimentary WiFi internet
McDonalds AEONaddress: Higashiasahi-machi 15
McDonalds Gakuen-minamiaddress: Gakuen-minami 2-2-31
phone: +81 852 31-8611address: Gakuen 1-1-1This internet cafe is situated between Matsue Station and Shimane University.
Matsue City International Exchange Divisionphone: +81 852 55-5175address: Suetsugu-chōOffers consultation services for foreigners living in Matsue in English, Chinese and Korean.
phone: +81 852 24-2111address: Horomachi 200The largest hospital in Matsue city center.
phone: +81 852 60-8082address: Noshira-chō 32-1The largest hospital in Shimane. Many doctors speak English (most nurses don't however).
- Izumo - Home to the Grand Shrine of Izumo (Izumo Taisha), one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan
- Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine - A UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Yasugi - A town known for its sword making and home to Adachi Museum of Art and its famous gardens
- Yonago - A neighbouring city known as "little Osaka", famous for its food and bar scene
- Mount Daisen - This extinct volcano towering over the city of Yonago is also known the Mount Fuji of West Japan. Great for hiking and skiing.
- Sakaiminato - Point of departure for ferries to Korea and Russia. Also known as the home town of cartoon character GeGeGe no Kitaro.
- Oki Islands - A group of two small islands in the Sea of Japan, known for it's distinct landscape and history