Matsue is the capital of Shimane prefecture, located in south western Honshu, the main island of Japan. Matsue sits on the banks of the Ohashi River, which connects the two lakes of Shinji and Nakaumi. Matsue is home to one of the 12 original castles in Japan, having survived wars, fires and earthquakes. The castle was completed in 1611 and renovated in the 1950s. There is a small museum dedicated to the Irish author Lufcadio Hearn, who lived in Matsue for a year, located in his former residence. Hearn was the first Western author to write books about Japan, including Japanese ghost stories, and the small museum next to the house showcases him and his works.
The Adachi Museum of Art is also in Matsue, an art museum home to nearly 1,300 artworks, and a beautifully landscaped garden. The garden has been named Japan’s Best Garden every year since 2003. Depending on what season you visit, your experience will be different as the garden changes, as do the artworks on display.
Finally, a short distance outside of Matsue, Izumo Taisha is one of Japan’s oldest and most important shrines. No official record exists of when it was built, but in documents dating from the 700s, it’s already in existence. The main god worshipped at Izumo is Okuninushi no Okami, who, according to Japanese creation myth, was responsible for creating land of Japan.