Matsue has been called the birthplace of Japan and the water city. The birthplace of idea comes from the fact that part of Japan’s socio-political identity emerged there prior to and during the Yamato period. The water city concept comes from the magnificent Lake Shinji and the Japan Sea.
I dislike comparing one place to another but on my first visit to Matsue I was reminded of Rochester, New York. While the Japan Sea is quite a bit bigger than Lake Ontario, it is easy to envision the foreign lands that are on the other side of the horizon. In Rochester’s case it’s Canada, while Matsue’s overseas neighbors are Korea, Russia and China.
Coming into Matsue on the bus as I did, I looked out of the window and recognized the aspects of life you see in most cities: businesses opening and closing, company employees going out for a drink, and the hustle and bustle of major boulevards.