Matsuejo is an original remaining castle. It has never faced any battle and hence only had minor repairs. It is the only remaining castle in the Sanin region. Japan castle ranking? 2nd largest in size and 3rd tallest amongst the other 11 remaining castles of Japan (**exclude all the replica / rebuilt).

Nickname: Black Castle or Plover Castle

Why the name? ‘Black’ – made of wood. ‘Plover (bird)’ is due to the aesthetic of the roof and deco.

Built in 1611

Category: Japanese National Treasure

Matsue castle houses SERIOUS samurai exhibition. Full house armor – include the under armor, lucky cloth, accessories, weapons etc. Impressive collection of from various samurai class families. The armor collection is a total stunner. Photos do these artistic items no justice. The observatory at the top is not half as impressive as those beautiful armor. Think 5 flights of crazy large & almost vertical stairs


Within 15min walk is a samurai’s home (museum), Matsue shrine, a military ‘themed’ shrine, a moat… Yup, it means boat ride 😀 Boats are available every 20min or so. Check the schedule when you arrive.


Travel tips:

My choice of clothing, yukata, was an epic failure… Have you notice what the stairs looked like inside the castle AND outside the castle. Honestly, it was just me being overly inspired. So no, I do not recommend visiting this place with kimono / yukata.


Shoes off inside the castle, socks only. Make sure your socks are nice 🙂


NB: All non-Japanese nationals get half price on entrance fees & boat ride!!! MUST have your passport with you though


How to get here?

30min walk from Matsue JR station

Otherwise 12min bus ride on the retro Matsue themed bus

Official website:

Quick orientation

Matsue, Shimane prefecture. North of Okayama / Osaka. Belongs to the strip known as the Sanin. Sanin is not as developed as the Sanyo region and hence less visitors and less crowds.

Matsue is 5-6 hours train from Tokyo. From Okayama to Matsue 2.5 hours.

JR pass holders, make sure you check the route, the sunrise izumo night train (Tokyo-Matsue) required a JPY9500 surcharge. Unless you prebook the nobi nobi compartment (free with the pass, but often full), the night train will be expensive.

The JR pass inclusive route is via Okayama. There’s only 1 train per hour from Okayama to Matsue (JR Yakumo).


Matsue Japan-138

Other castle visits from me?

Crow Castle. Matsumoto, Japan

Shuri Castle site – Okinawa, Japan


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Salut, I am Joyce. 40 something living in Paris. Appreciate little things and share giggles. Prudent, no nonsense reviews. #ExploreLaughRepeat


  1. This is a fantastic collection of images Joyce and information, a great photo essay on Matsue castle. You could design their information brochure.

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