May 12, 2015


Shimane(島根)is somewhat neglected, not just by foreigners, but also by locals. Perhaps it doesn't offer so many things to see, but I kind of like this prefecture as it gives off the same vibe as Hiroshima-- calm and relaxing. Find it tourist-friendly but not touristy.

Matsue City(松江)reminded me of Hangzhou in China, where I lived for half a year for my university exchange programme, probably because of the scenic lake, and the winding roads with wooden houses at one side and waters at the other.

I like Matsue Castle, one of the 12 original castles surviving from the Edo period. It is very foreigner friendly, with good English translations and foreigners are entitled to attractive discounts, just like other attractions in the city.

Outside the moat is the former samurai district. There are some traditional cafes, and it was nice strolling under the pine trees along the winding road.

The loop bus that covers all the attractions in Matsue is a convenient way to travel around. Shinjiko(宍道湖)is famous for its sunset view. Thankful that I managed to see a really gorgeous view (refer to 1st photo), though it was very cold (7 degrees!) as it was still March.

Izumo Taisha(出雲大社)is the icon of the prefecture. Located in Izumo City, 1 hour train ride west of Matsue, it is 1 of Japan's most important and oldest shrines, just like Ise Jingu. It is a shrine for relationships and marriages, so many Japanese couples go there. The premise is big, and the street leading to the shrine is also worth checking out, with shops and restaurants selling heart-shaped food and merchandise.

Other places of attraction include Adachi Museum of Art and Iwami Ginzan (silver mine) which I didn't go, and Shimane Vogel Park with penguin show and lots of owls!

As for food, Izumo Soba is 1 of the 3 famous soba in Japan, so soba is a must-try there. I went to Kamiyo Soba(神代そば), probably the most famous soba restaurant in Matsue, which is near the samurai district and along the loop bus route. Could tell that it is really authentic, but not quite my type of soba, as the buckwheat ratio is 9:1, too strong for my liking.

The "Seven Delicacies of Shinjiko" (seafood from the lake) is also local specialty, though can be quite pricey.


Post a Comment