Here are the main events in Matsue during Autumn. Please find the other events in Event Calendar.
- Water Lantern Festival (Matsue Suitoro) –松江水燈路
Mid-September to mid-October
Held during weekends and national holidays (Sept. 23rd and Oct. 13th), Matsue Suitoro provides a magical view of lantern-lit waterways around Matsue Castle and adjacent Shiomi Nawate Street, designated as one of the hundred most beautiful street of Japan. A draw-it-yourself lantern studio can be found on the castle grounds, which are illuminated with hundreds of lanterns.
The Horikawa Sightseeing Boat that cruises along the canals extends its operating hours until 9pm, and many other nearby tourist facilities (like Matsue Castle, Matsue History Museum, Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum, the Samurai Residence) are also open later than usual. There are also many open-air stands and food stalls, and a free shuttle bus from JR Matsue Station. URL: Water Lantern Festival (Matsue Suitoro) (jp).
- Matsue Do Gyoretsu Drum Parade – 鼕行列
Third Sunday of October
Every October, Matsue hosts a drum festival where everybody is encouraged to join in and pound on the giant drums that are hauled on floats through the streets. These two-meter-diameter (6.5 feet) “Do” drums are pulled by children arrayed in traditional coats, and are accompanied by bamboo flutes and changara cymbals.The sound of this energetic procession echoes through the city not only on the day of the festival, but also in the evenings leading up to the day as groups all over town gather to practice in their respective neighborhoods. Each neighborhood as its own specific carriages, styles of drumming, and outfits.
All the participants gather outside the Matsue Castle grounds on Sunday at noon where an official opening ceremony is held. This usually also includes mochi-maki, the throwing of pounded rice cakes which are meant to bring good luck to those who catch them. The drumming starts thereafter, with the carriages departing from the castle. As they proceed, the groups split into two different parade routes and go through the main streets of the city.
- Matsue Castle Grand Tea Ceremony –松江城大茶会
First Saturday and Sunday of October
Lord Matsudaira Harusato, who ruled Matsue from 1767 to 1806, was passionate about the tea ceremony and also known by his tea name, Fumai. Thanks to his passion, matcha (powdered green tea) and wagashi (Japanese confectionery) became a favorite of the people of Matsue, and they remain a part of Matsue’s everyday culture.
The biggest tea event of the year is the Grand Tea Ceremony, during which numerous schools of tea gather on the Matsue Castle grounds and offer a taste of their schools to the general public. It is one of the top three tea gatherings in Japan, This event is popular with enthusiasts, but no prior knowledge is necessary to enjoy yourself!
- Morotabune Ritual – 諸手船神事
Every year on December 3rd
Held in the early afternoon in Mihonoseki Harbour, the Moratabune Ritual mainly consists of a race between two boats with the rowers wearing traditional clothes. Like the Aofushigaki Ritual (in April), it re-enacts a famous episode from the Kojiki, in which heavenly messengers are sent by the sun goddess Amaterasu to ask for the lands of Okuninushi (now worshipped at Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine). The messengers were then sent by him to ask his son, Kotoshironushi (also known as Ebisu), and they used a dug-out canoe to get to him.