1. On Day 5, we left early for Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, about 120 km west of Tottori. There are no highways along the coast of San’in, only one-lane expressways, some of which are toll roads. We arrived in Matsue at noon, and the sun burned down relentlessly.

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    Matsue Castle is one of the very few castles that were not slighted by the Meiji government. The wooden main keep has been preserved, but all the other structures on the former castle grounds were demolished. It’s also the only remaining castle in the San’in region, so it’s worth a visit.

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    Visitors can take boat tours on the moats and canals around the castle and get one and off along the route. Just north of the castle are the bukeyashiki, the former samurai quarters along with Lafcadio Hearn’s residence and a museum dedicated to his life and his love for Japan. Hearn spent only one year and three months in Matsue but left a deep imprint on the town and the region. We had a late lunch of soba and o-hagi just opposite the Lafcadio Hearn Museum.

    There was much more to see around Matsue. However, we had to press on for Izumo in the late afternoon. We’ll most certainly be back!

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