Discover the San'in Region

By Japan Travel    - 3 min read

Discover the hidden sights of the San'in Region, with this video introduction of some of the top sights in Shimane and Tottori.

Horikawa pleasure boat / samurai residences

Though the moat was built in 1611, the Horikawa boat tours only began in 1997. Cruising along the Hori River, passengers take in sights of the Matsue Castle and other spots around the castle town while the boat guide points out sights and historical spots such as the samurai residences. Perhaps the highlight of the Horikawa boat tour is the low bridges. Of the 16 bridges the boat will pass through, a few of them are so low that the roofs of the boats have to be lowered while passengers have to bend far forward in their seats. And no matter the season you choose to take the ride in, passengers will get to enjoy nature’s gifts, be it the mesmerizing sakura blossoms in spring, the beautiful gold and auburn foliage in autumn or a snowy and tranquil landscape in winter. If you visit in the cold winter, the thoughtful staff would provide blankets and heated tables to keep you warm.

Matsue Castle

Of the 12 original castles left standing in Japan, five of them are designated as national treasures – including Matsue Castle. Built in 1611, Matsue Castle was designed as a fortress to withstand the ravages of wars, explaining its stalwart rather than fancy appearance. However, the castle’s good fortune meant that it avoided any attacks and even survived the purging of castles when Japan’s isolationist regime ended with the aid of concerned local residents who pitched in and managed to purchase the rights to the castle. At the top of the Matsue Castle are stunning views of the city and on the castle grounds is an Inari shrine with over 2000 small fox carvings.

Tottori beef

While the Kobe beef is the most well-known, the Tottori beef definitely stands its ground when compared to the former. Similar to Kobe beef and most of the reared cattle in Japan, Tottori beef is also a Japanese Black - albeit from a different strain. As early as 1918, through the national Wagyu Registry Association, Tottori started perfecting its strain of cattle. The most prized variety of Tottori wagyu is the Oleic 55. It is named for the 55% oleic acid content of the beef, which gives Tottori beef its trademark melt-in-your-mouth texture. Over the years, the Tottori wagyu culture has culminated in the signature rich, tender, and mouth-watering marbled taste of present-day Tottori beef.

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Kim B 8 months ago
Went to Matsue and the surrounding areas in 2018 and I can wholeheartedly say it's one of my favorite spots (if not my favorite!) in all of Japan.
Kim B 6 months ago
For me a lot of it revolved around tea and wagashi! The views are lovely, especially around Lake Shinji. The streets around Matsue Castle are like a step back in time and I loved that too! It was also really easy to get around. They’ve got a great and inexpensive tourist bus which departs from Matsue Station about every 20 minutes, and it stops at a lot of popular/historic spots to visit.

There are also a ton of discounts for either foreign passport holders or foreigners living in Japan (just bring your residence card). They seemed to really put an emphasis on trying to make visitors have an enjoyable time. Go and visit if you have the chance!