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Matsue is the capital city of Shimane Prefecture and is home to one of the twelve original castles in Japan.


Built in 1611, the Matsue Castle has withstood fires, earthquakes, and anti-feudal battles through its years. It stands as one of only a dozen original standing castles in Japan, built with thick black walls as a fortress for battle. Historic samurai armor, swords, and helmets are displayed inside the castle. Visitors can experience an extensive view of the city from the top floor of the castle tower, as many samurai did 400 years ago. The castle is beautifully preserved, surrounded by forests, shrines, and temples.

The castle grounds are recognized for its tranquil atmosphere, and is among one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots. It is suggested to visit here, Matsue Jozan Park, during spring to admire its cherry trees, camellias, azaleas, and Japanese apricot trees. Autumn leaves in November are quite a sight as well. While roaming the castle grounds, you may bump into an occasional ninja or samurai, which makes for an amusing photo opportunity. Visitors can also enjoy a ride on a sightseeing boat around the castle’s moats, which depart every 15-20 minutes from numerous castle departure points.