The Matsue History Museum is a fantastic spot to visit if you're seeking to learn more about Shimane's capital city and the interesting past of the region. If you do plan on visiting the museum, there's something that you absolutely shouldn't miss while you're inside - and it's not one of the displays or exhibits! Within the Matsue History Museum building lies a cafe called Kissa Kiharu, which offers up a range of drinks and handcrafted wagashi that truly have to be seen to be believed.
The wagashi artisan at Kissa Kiharu, Tsugio Itami, has been producing his creations for the better part of 60 years. He's won a number of awards and has even been recognized by Japanese government departments for his skill - and it's worth taking some time to simply watch him at his craft. It's mesmerizing to see someone so talented at what they do that they make it look easy, and despite the intricate nature of the wagashi that he creates, Mr. Itami's hands seem to move where they need to be almost effortlessly.
On any given day there are usually a number of different wagashi on offer at the cafe - the hardest part you'll find is which one of the beautiful creations you should choose. Once you've made your selection, you're able to go ahead and take a seat on the tatami flooring in the tea house. It looks out over some traditional Japanese landscaped gardens, and you're even able to catch a fantastic view of Matsue Castle which is located just a short walk away.
If you're interested in trying some traditional sweets that look almost too good to eat, Kissa Kiharu should definitely be one for your Shimane travel itinerary. The cafe is open from 9am until 5pm daily, but closes on the third Thursday of every month - do keep that in mind if you're planning a special trip.
Kissa Kiharu Cafe is located within the Matsue History Museum. Access is most convenient via the Lakeline City Loop Bus which departs at regular intervals from Matsue Station. There is a dedicated bus stop for the museum itself.