History

Shimane Prefecture – Matsue City

07-20-2012


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The Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters), Japan’s oldest chronicle, was compiled 1,300 years ago in 712. About one-third of the Kojiki is concerned with the world of mythology, beginning with the birth of Japan, and many of the myths involve Shimane Prefecture.
In commemoration of the 1,300th anniversary of the compilation of the Kojiki, the Japan Myth Expo in Shimane will be held in Shimane Prefecture for 114 days from July 21, 2012. IHCSA Café visited the tourist spots of Izumo Grand Shrine and its vicinity, where the main expo venues will be, as well as Yasugi City and Matsue City, to explore their attractions.

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A pleasure boat plies the moat around Matsue Castle.

 

The Castle Town of Matsue

The symbol of Matsue, without a doubt, is Matsue Castle. Built in the early seventeenth century by the feudal lord Horio Yoshiharu, the castle is now designated as an important cultural property of the state. Samurai residences remain in the vicinity of the castle, creating a castle-town atmosphere, and visitors can enjoy the scenery from one of the pleasure boats plying the castle moat as well.

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     I boarded one of these pleasure boats at a landing point near the site of the main gate of Matsue Castle. On the left you can see the castle walls and, as the boat moves along, Matsue History Museum comes into view on the right. Some young female tourists were cheerfully riding rented bicycles along the promenade around the castle, their black hair blowing in the wind. After the boat had passed Ugabashi bridge on the right and followed the castle wall to the left, a historic samurai residence came into view on the right. This is the Shiomi-Nawate district, which even today retains the atmosphere of the Edo period (1603-1868). Green pine trees peered over the brown wooden wall, and a white lantern hung on the large gate. Riding along in the boat, listening to the boatman’s eloquent talk about the history of Matsue Castle, and gazing at the castle walls on the left and the samurai residences on the right, I began to feel very relaxed indeed—at one with the fowl playing on the surface of the water.
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