The original castle which was built for warfare remains even today
Within Japan, there are only 12 castles whose keeps survive today. Among those 12, Matsue Castle is the only one in the San’in region. It is also the 2nd-largest, 3rd-tallest and the 6th-oldest castle. Every part of the interior was designed for battle. Naturally, there are ishiotoshi areas to throw rocks which are hidden from the enemy, but there are also tsukeyagura (attached towers) that were built intricately to resemble attics for defense and monitoring. Underground, there is a huge 24m-deep well and a storehouse which were built during times of siege. Stairs made of paulownia to prevent fire and decay are a distinct feature not seen in any other castle. The top floor was designed in Boro style to resemble an observation tower so that a 360-degree view can be seen. There are no walls in any of the directions so that all of Matsue City, including Shinji Lake, can be seen with a wide feeling of openness. The interior displays are also not to be missed. Through a diorama, the course of the enemy, the defensive system going as far as the castle town and the location of the castle can be grasped easily. Murals depicting the stories surrounding the construction of the castle are also easy to understand, so that the more you know the more interesting the tour becomes.
Enjoy Matsue Castle through boat excursions when the sakura are in full bloom
Matsue is also known as a riverside district so Matsue Castle which stands on the shores of Shinji Lake is also one of Japan’s Three Great Lake Castles. The 3.7km Horikawa Passage for small boats which has surrounded the castle since the time of its construction to the present day can be enjoyed for its elegant townscape of samurai residences and the old pine trees of Shiomi Nawate. Matsue Shiroyama Park is a famous place for cherry blossoms. With close to 200 cherry trees in full bloom within the park, the Castle Festival as well as nighttime illumination are held between late March and early April. The long-established Procession of Warriors is also well worth seeing. Brave warriors and brilliant princesses parade throughout the city of Matsue.