Built along the moats of Matsue Castle, the History Museum offers an in-depth view of the history of Matsue city, including displays and replicas about life in Matsue over its 400 year history. Foreign language audio-guides are available for free. A view of the castle can be enjoyed from the tearoom within the museum building, where you can watch a wagashi master craftsman engaging in the art of creating Japan’s most beautiful confectioneries.
Located just next to the Museum is the Horan-enya Memorial Hall, which exhibits and commemorates the Horan-enya Shinto Ritual – one of the three largest boat festivals in Japan. Like so many other places in Matsue, the History Museum offers great discounts for international visitors. The admission to the Horan-enya Memorial Hall is free if you purchase a ticket to the History Museum.
The History Museum recently opened in 2011 and was designed to resemble a samurai residence. It is conveniently located near the main pier of the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat that cruises the moats all around the castle-town and the beautiful Shiomi Nawate Street, home of a finely preserved samurai residence, the former residence of Lafcadio Hearn and his memorial museum, a beautiful soba restaurant, and Meimei-an Tea House.
- Matsue History at a glance
The museum offers an informative video which enable the visitor to have a quick grasp of the castle-town’s history and its overall layout.
Among the other displays are, of course, many historical artifacts, like Japanese armors and weapons, sculptures, old paintings and photographs.
A large area is dedicated to the writer who first introduced Matsue abroad Lafcadio Hearn.
- Wagashi, tearoom and view of the castle
Tea and wagashi (Japanese confectioneries) have been an integral part of life in Matsue for centuries and it is only natural that the History Museum gives visitors the chance to enjoy this important part of Matsue’s culture themselves. Kissa Kiharu Tearoom is located inside Matsue History Museum and offers a wonderful view on a Japanese garden and Matsue Castle. You don’t have to buy tickets to enter the tearoom or the museum shop located just next to it, so please feel free to visit!
Entirely made of sugar, two of his breathtaking creations called « Art Wagashi » (工芸和菓子, kogei wagashi) are displayed at the entrance. One of them represents the two flower-symbols of Matsue, peony and camellia (picture below).
The Japanese garden of the museum is typical of the gardens found in the Izumo area.
The museum is also home of an old refurbished tea house, which is free to visit. It used to belong to the Ohashi family, an important vassal of Matsue domain.
- Monthly events and free exhibitions
The museum organizes many events all year round as well as free exhibitions. Among the main events is the monthly performance by the Matsue Castle Rifle Troop (松江城鉄砲隊, Matsue-jô Teppôtai ), every third Sunday, at 11:00 and 14:00.
You can watch this enthralling performance from the History Museum’s tearoom while enjoying matcha green tea and freshly made wagashi 🙂
Finally, the visitor can find at the entrance of the museum a shed housing one of the impressive carriages used during the drum procession called Dô-gyôretsu (鼕行列). Held every year on the third Sunday of October, this traditional and energetic procession consists in large drums being pound and hauled on floats through the city, while being accompanied by Japanese flutes and cymbals. [More info and pictures in our Photo Album on Facebook]
- Horan-enya Memorial Hall
Horan-enya Memorial Hall (ホーラエンヤ伝承館) is located adjacent to the History Museum and can be visited for free if you purchase a ticket to the History Museum. This memorial offers you displays of this very important Shinto ritual which is one of the three biggest boat festivals in Japan. It takes place every ten years in Matsue (next one will be May 2019!)
Matsue History Museum is located near Matsue Castle and the main pier (Ote-mae Hiroba) of the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat, about 2 kilometers northwest from JR Matsue Station. You can easily walk there in 25 min (see itinerary on Google Map) or take the Lakeline Bus. Get off at stop number 8. Please find the bus map and more details on Visit-Matsue.com.
Matsue History Museum
Closed the 3rd Thursday of every month or the day after if it is a national holiday.
April – September, 8:30am – 6pm
October – Mars, 8:30am – 5pm
Last admission 20 min before closing.
Discounts for international visitors:
Adult: ¥510 (50% OFF) →¥250
Child: ¥250 →¥120
Horan-enya Memorial Hall
¥200¥ (50% OFF) →¥100
Free admission if you purchase a ticket to Matsue History Museum.
Matsue History Museum’s official website (in Japanese):