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Momen Kaido (The Cotton Road)


A road that conveys the prosperity of the 18th century even today


The Cotton Road is located between Lake Shinji and the Sea of Japan, and is a place where the elegance of a region that has been blessed by its natural environment lingers. This area prospered greatly as a merchants’ from the 1700s, and large numbers of sailing vessels passed up and down its canals, which connect to Lake Shinji. There was even a regular ferry service with Matsue until around 1950. The Cotton Road retains elements of that atmosphere even today, and is lined with houses and white plaster-walled earthen storehouses that are noteworthy for having narrow frontages but stretching for a considerable depth back from the street. At first glance, the buildings’ narrow frontages make them appear small, but in reality they stretch some distance back from the street, and many are dwellings that specialize in timber, lacquer work, fusuma illustrations (vertical rectangular sliding panels) and interior design, giving a sense of the prosperity of those times. The road includes long-established sake dealers, oil merchants, Japanese-style confectionery stores and other businesses that continue to preserve traditional flavors up to this day. Here you can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere that combines an oldscape and modern life. 14 different kinds of hands-on experiences are available on the Cotton Road, and some do not require bookings, so why not make the most of the local culture? The road is also home to Umi Shrine, which is known as the shrine for “release from marriage.” With the goal of ensuring that bad relationships are easily severed while good relationships are easily formed, many tourists visit Umi Shrine before visiting Izumo Taisha.

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