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Travelling east along the coast from Hagi, the visitor will encounter Matsue. The town was home to one of Japan’s most famous immigrants - Lofcadio Hearn - a European who took Japanese citizenship in the 1890s and set about writing some of the country’s first ’guides’ as seen through the eyes of an outsider.

Today this relatively small town is well-known to Japanese tourists but little visited by foreigners. A museum has been opened in his honour -the Lofcadio Hearn Memorial Museum (Koizami Yakumo Kyukyo - pictured right) which was itself a former samurai dwelling and remains preserved as he left it in 1891.

The ancient shrine of Kamosu was built in Japan’s oldest architectural style and Matsue castle still retains a collection of samurai arms and armour. The view from the top of its walls make the climb worthwhile - it is the only remaining castle in the Izumo area with very little modernisation carried out on it over the years. It therefore retains a great feeling of authenticity.

Finally do not miss the sunset over Shinjo-ko lake. It is one of the finest sights Japan has to offer. 


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