Matsue – “Plover Castle”
One of the few 12 castles in Japan where the castle tower is completely intact since it was completed in 1611. Although many castles which were built of wood were destroyed by fire, this castle wooden original structure remains. From this great dark castle's top floor you have a nice view of the Lake Shinji-ko and the town.
Matsue Castle has an impressive collection of artefacts, mostly from the Matsudaira clan; Armours, swords, bows, helmets and other rarities. On our visit there was demonstration at the castle grounds of samurais in armours, which offered a high-class serious performance.
The castle was constructed in 1607 by the Damiyo Yoshiharu Horio (1542 – 1611). and was finished five years later. In the post-feudal era (Meiji period) all the buildings were destroyed in 1875 except the castle tower/main keep. During the years 1950-1955 the castle, its impressive walls and moat underwent a complete reconstruction. Matsue Castle is the second largest and the third tallest with its 30 meters castle tower. From the outside it appears five floors but inside it's six levels.
From Okayama take JR Yakumo Limited Express train to Matsue (2.5 hours, one train per hour).
From JR Matsue Station there is a 25 minutes’ walk or a 15 minute walk from Ichibata Dentetsu's Matsue-Shinjiko-Onsen Station.
Text and photo: Leif Almo