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Exploring Matsue

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Exploring Matsue

Hi, I’m Danny. Today, I’d like to talk about the trip to Matsue Castle in Shimane Prefecture.

I’m not very familiar with the names of samurai warlords, but I like to visit castles. And I’m collecting series of stamps at castles.
http://jokaku.jp/stamp-rally/

I’m a collectomania, so I’m filled with a sense of mission when I start collecting things… (lol)
Yes, I visited Matsue Castle to get one of the stamps. Matsue Castle is the latest castle in Japan that is registered as a national treasure.

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I thought that all castles in Japan are registered as important cultural properties and national treasures. However, I was wrong. There are only 5 castles that are registered as national treasures. Matsue Castle is one of them.
I was very amazed to know this fact. (Personally speaking, I’m happy to know that Matsumoto Castle is registered as a national treasure! It’s in my hometown!)

Matsue Castle itself isn’t so big. Well and ishiotoshi (stone dropping shelves) have been preserved in very good condition, so I could tell what they were at first sight. The structure of post and beam was very interesting!

The staircase to the main keep is very narrow and steep. So, I think it’s dangerous to put on slippers that they lend you at the entrance.
You need to have plenty of time to enjoy looking around the castle since there are many miniatures and exhibitions of armors and helmets. The route to the main keep is intricate, which was fun!

The view from the main keep is impressive. There are no tall buildings, so you can look across the broad panorama of the city. We couldn’t see the wonderful view due to the rain, but we faintly saw the city as in the picture below.

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By the way, you can see Shinji Lake from the castle. The lake is famous for shijimi shellfish.
I felt embarrassed because I mistook the lake for the sea….

Matsue Shrine is located on the same site as the castle. The shrine was built by volunteers in 1877. It seems that the shrine is relatively new.

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Kounkaku is located next to the shrine. It’s an elegant Western-style mansion! I love historical buildings. It was built for a temporary palace of the Meiji Emperor, so that’s why the building is gorgeous. Well, it wasn’t used as its original purpose though…
I wanted to get inside the building, but it’s regrettable that I didn’t have enough time to do that.
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However, I enjoyed the river boat cruise around the castle moat, which was the most important purpose of visiting here on that day♪
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Kotatsu is installed on the boat at this time every year. (Kotatsu: a low table with an electric heater installed underneath and covered by a blanket.) It brings on a feeling of winter in Japan.
(It was still cold though. You should wear warm clothes when you take the boat in winter.)
Above all, it’s unique that the roof of the boat comes down when it goes through under low bridges!! Passengers need to lower their head, too.
When people thought about changing the castle moat into a tourist attraction, bridges were already there. So, the people had to lower the roof of the boat♪ …It’s a change in thinking.
It’s quite difficult to hit upon this idea. (lol)
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By the way, you can get on and off the boat freely during business hours.
There are 3 boarding points. It’s nice that you can hang around different places♪

Boatmen and boatwomen tell you about Matsue’s sights and history.
They sing a local folk song under a bridge, which has good acoustics!

The moat and nature around the castle remain unchanged from when they were first constructed.
You can see ducks and herons taking a rest around the moat.

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I really enjoyed the 50-minute boat tour, tracing the history of the area. Taking the boat was like riding an attraction, and it was fun.

After the cruise, we went to the inn in Izumo. The first day was over.

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THE EVERGREEN HOSTELのオーナー・はづきです。 The owner of THE EVERGREEN HOSTEL.Thank you for reading my blog.