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Matsue Castle, Izumo Grand Shrine, and Two Japanese Gardens

Suggested Time : 1 Night, 2 Days Main modes of transportation : Train, Bus, Taxi, Walk Regions : Izumo

Visit Japan’s preeminent gardens, and efficiently tour Shimane’s classic spots and famous hot springs in two days.

Day 1

Departure point : Depart JR Yonago Station

Train + Taxi (45 mins. + 20 mins.)

01

Yuushien Garden

Promenade garden with peonies in year-round bloom

Yuushien, a ‘miniature garden of Izumo’, featuring landscapes and mythology of Izumo area, is a traditional Japanese-styled walk-through garden around ponds. It is located in the centre of Daikonshima Island. Visitors can enjoy prominent peony flowers which can be viewed all year round as well as the many colours of the various seasonal flowers. Daikonshima is globally renowned as a growing area for Korean ginseng. You can also try a free-tasting of ginseng tea at the ginseng office that was restored from the Edo period. Come and experience the long cultural history of Daikonshima. Japanese Peony and Korean Ginseng Village

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Address 島根県松江市八束町波入1260-2
Tel. No. 0852-76-2255
Operating Hours 09:00 to 17:00
Holidays December 30, December 31

Bus

02

Matsue Castle (National Treasure)

Remnant from samurai times and one of only five Japanese keeps designated as a national treasure

Constructed over a period of 5 years from 1607 to 1611 by Yoshiharu Horio, a feudal lord and founder of Matsue. Currently it is one of the only 12 remaining original castles in Japan and the only one in the San’in region. It was designated National Treasure in 2015. The elegance of the castle’s swooping roofs and decor is often compared to the wings of a ‘chidori’ (plover bird) which has led to the castle’s nickname,’Chidori-jo’ (Plover Castle). The castle features an architectural design specifically chosen for battle, but retains a grand majestic appearance.2

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Address 島根県松江市殿町1-5
Tel. No. 0852-21-4030
Operating Hours 【When the Honmaru gates open】 [April to September] 07:00 to 19:30 [October to March] 08:30 to 17:00 【Castle tower entry】 [April to September] 08:30 to 18:30 (Reception is until 18:00) [October to March] 08:30 to 17:00 (Reception is until 16:30)
Holidays Open all year round

Walk

03

Shiomi Nawate Street

Popular neighborhood with a distinct former-castle-town atmosphere

Lining Matsue Castle’s northern moat, Shiomi Nawate Street is a designated Cultural Preservation Area. Along this street you will find the Former Samurai Residence (Bukeyashiki), the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and his former residence, the Tanabe Museum of Art, showcasing tea utensils once belonging to Feudal Lord Matsudaira Fumai, and the Meimei-an Tea House.

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Address 松江市北堀町
Tel. No. 0852-55-5214

Walk

04

Horikawa Sightseeing Boat

Boat ride through Matsue's waterways and castle moat

This small passenger boat will take you through the history, nature and people of Matsue. The moats surrounding Matsue Castle (National Treasure) remain unchanged from when it was first constructed over 400 years ago. This 50 min sightseeing boat guides you along the moats through the historical Japanesescape of the castle Matsue, the places related to Lafcadio Hearn, forests which have been there 400 years since the construction of the castle, charming changes of seasons and the beauty of moats itself.

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Address <Boarding Points> Matsue Horikawa Freai Square, Kyomise Karakoro Square, Ote-mae Square
Tel. No. 0852-27-0417
Operating Hours [March 1 to June 30] 09:00 to 17:00 [July 1 to August 15] 09:00 to 18:00 [August 16 to October 10] 09:00 to 17:00 [October 11 to November 30] 09:00 to 16:00 [December 1 to February 28] 09:00 to 16:00 *Departs every 20 minutes from March 1 to November 30, and every 30 minutes from December 1 to February 28
Holidays None (may be closed in stormy weather or to change courses)

Walk

05

Karakoro Kobo (Karakoro Art Studio) (formerly the Bank of Japan Matsue Artisan Studio)

A pink post box that is said to bring good fortune is popular

Karakoro Art Studio is located in a historical building that sits alongside a canal in the castle of Matsue. It is an integrated manufacturing and retailing craft gallery with an artisan theme. The central square contains a wishing well, a pink post box, and heart-shaped votive picture tablets. The pink post box is popular for reportedly attracting good fortune. The studio also holds events in each season, including the Umbrella Sky event in the rainy season, when the ceiling of the square is completely covered with colorful umbrellas. In addition to workshop classrooms and artists’ brand shops selling spiritual stones, silver, glass, ceramics, recycled cloth, woodwork, and other accessory items, the building also has abundant food options, including cafes and restaurants. With a complete lineup of classrooms, galleries, shops and other facilities, Karakoro Art Studio is a place where you can revel in Japanese handicrafts.

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Address 43 Tonomachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane
Tel. No. 0852-20-7000
Operating Hours 【Workshop】09:30 to 18:30 【Meal】11:00 to 18:30 *Last order for Biidoro only is 22:00
Holidays Depends on each facility

Walk

06

Café Kiharu (inside Matsue History Museum)

Take a break and relax with delicious pieces of art and green tea

A Japanese style cafe inside the building of Matsue History Museum that provides a view of the Izumo-styled Japanese garden and Matsue Castle. Visitors can watch a wagashi master craftsman create the beautiful confectionaries. Enjoy the tastes of green tea (matcha) with delicate original wagashi confectionaries that change with the season.

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Address 島根県松江市殿町279番地
Tel. No. 0852-32-1607

Bus + JR Train

07

Tamatsukuri Onsen

Storied hot spring renowned for its skincare effects

One of the oldest onsens in Japan, Tamatsukuri Onsen has a history dating back to at least 733 AD, where it was introduced as “The Bath of The Gods” in the Ancient Chronicles of Izumo. You can stay at any of the 22 traditional Japanese inns that lie the banks of the Tamayu River, which runs through the heart of this picturesque onsen, or if you prefer, there are luxury hotels available which can accommodate up to 700 guests.

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Address 島根県松江市玉湯町玉造
Tel. No. 0852-62-3300

JR Train + Bus

Day 2

08

Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine

Congregation of the gods, blessed with the power of en

Dedicated to the Shinto god of “en” (the ties that binds us together) Okuninushi-no-Okami, Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is one of the oldest and most venerated shrines in Japan. The main hall is constructed in the “taisha-zukuri” style, Japan’s oldest form of shrine architecture, and has been designated as a National Treasure. Each year during the 10th month of the Lunar calendar the gods from throughout Japan congregate at Izumo Taisha for their annual meeting. Only in Izumo is this month known as “The Month With Gods.” The “shimenawa” (sacred straw rope) that hang at Kagura-den Hall in one of the largest in Japan, weighing an impressive 5 tons.

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Address 島根県出雲市大社町杵築東195
Tel. No. 0853-53-3100

Walk (15 mins.)

09

Inasa-no-hama (Inasa Beach)

A beach with superb sunsets that has also been selected as one of Japan’s 100 great beaches

Located on the coast to the west of Izumo Taisha, Inasa Beach is a spiritual spot with a mythical connection. There is a small island known as Benten-jima, and a small shrine sits upon this rock. The white sandy beach forms a long and beautiful arc, and it has even been selected as one of Japan’s 100 great beaches. The view of the evening sun sinking behind the silhouette of Benten-jima is stunning, and as a symbol of “Izumo, sacred place of the setting sun,” it is even registered as a Japan Heritage Site. It is also the beach of the kamimukae-shinji ceremony held to welcome gods from throughout Japan. In addition, in summer, it is also popular as a swimming beach.

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Address 島根県出雲市大社町杵築北2844-73
Tel. No. 0853-53-2112
Operating Hours None
Izumo soba for lunch

Walk

10

Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo

Preserving the history of ancient Izumo and Shimane

Located next to Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, this museum introduces the history and culture of ancient Izumo and Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine. The collection includes the largest amount of ancient bronze swords and bronze bell-shaped vessels (National Treasures) which were excavated in tremendous scales from two sites in Izumo. It also houses the Uzubashira Pillar, a huge pillar found in the ruins of the Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, and a 1/10 scale model of the main hall of ancient Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine that was said to be as high as 48m.

Show Details
Address 島根県出雲市大社町杵築東99番地4 
Tel. No. 0853-53-8600
Operating Hours 09:00 to 18:00 [November to February] 09:00 to 17:00 (Admission until 16:30)
Holidays 3rd Tuesday of every month (Next day if it is a holiday)

Walk

11

Former Taisha Station

A station that is widely-considered to be the preeminent example of a Japanese-style station building

Fitting for its location at the front entrance of Izumo Taisha, the station building of the former Taisha Station is a wooden, single-storied building in the classical Japanese style. The building’s Japanese-style design elements are conspicuous, including a central roof section that features ornamental ridge-end tiles at both ends, and gegyo (lit. “hanging fish”) gable pendants that are attached to the roof’s gable sections. In addition, the roof tiles used at the ends of the roof’s descending ridges recall various movements of a turtle. In this and other ways, there are design elements throughout the station building that are thought to show the influence of Chuta Ito, a pioneer in the field of architecture. This station was completed in 1912 and remodeled in 1924. It was designated an Important Cultural Asset in 2004.

Show Details
Address 出雲市大社町北荒木441-3
Tel. No. 0853-21-6995
Operating Hours 09:00 to 17:00
Holidays Open all year round

Bus + JR Train + Shuttle Bus

12

Adachi Museum of Art

Home to Japan's most beautiful garden and an impressive nihonga collection

Conveying the harmonized beauty of Japanese paintings and Japanese Gardens is the aim and wish of Adachi Museum of Art, which is best known for having one of the greatest collections of modern to contemporary Japanese arts. Such works of art include numerous masterpieces by the great Japanese painter Yokoyama Taikan, ceramics and 165,000 square-metre Japanese gardens. This museum is listed as a three-star site in the Michelin Green Guide Japan while Adachi’s spectacular and immaculately maintained Japanese Garden have been ranked at No.1 in a row since 2003 by Sukiya Living Magazine : The Journal of Japanese Gardening. You can appreciate the splendid beauty of their gardens which show a different appearance as time / days / months / seasons change.

Show Details
Address 島根県安来市古川町320
Tel. No. 0854-28-7111
Operating Hours [April to September] 09:30 to 17:30 *Recommended visit duration: At least 2 hours [October to March] 09:00 to 17:00
Holidays Only the Annex is closed on some days

Shuttle Bus (20 mins.)

JR Yasugi Station

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