Matsue Castle

Completed in 1611, a few years after the final battle of feudal Japan, Matsue Castle is one the dozen original castles left in Japan, meaning that its main tower has survived to this day through fires, earthquakes and the anti-feudal demolitions of the Meiji Period.

Sometimes called the “black castle” after its dark, austere exterior, Matsue Castle perches atop a hill and is surrounded by a moat and thick walls. Major renovation work was done in the 1950s to further preserve it, and the interior of the main keep now houses a museum displaying period arms and artifacts.

Visitors can also enjoy a river boat cruise around the castle moat. The boats, which depart every 15-20 minutes from several departure points around the castle, are driven around the moat and narrow canals that form the Horikawa River by boatmen and boatwomen who share stories about the history of the area.