• T. D. Jester, Jr.

    What to say? I'm a 23 year old dreamer with his head in the clouds and his heart in his hands. I love to write!

    I will be relocating to Japan in march and will likely change this description to mirror thus. Thank you for visiting, and though the information is scarce at the moment, it'll roll in as I start in on my adventure to the Land of the Rising Sun!

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Castles, and Samurai, and Lakes OH MY!

When I was just a boy growing up in the forests of Washington, I used to make believe I was fighting evil wizards and evil knights (by mutilating my mother’s rhododendron bush and hunting the ever sly slugs of the Pacific Northwest).

Somewhere along the lines make believe blurred with reality. I find myself moving to Matsue City, Shiname-ken, Japan.

I get to wake up to this!

Matsue Castle (松江城, Matsue-jō?) is a feudal castle in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. Nicknamed the “black castle” or “plover castle”, it is one of the few remaining medieval castles in Japan – at least of the few remaining in their original wooden form, and not a modern reconstruction in concrete.

Of the 12 castles remaining in Japan, this is the only one remaining in the Sanin region. This castle is the second largest, the third tallest (30m) and the sixth oldest amongst castles. It was built over a period of 5 years by the daimyo of the Izumo region, Yoshiharu Horio, and was completed in 1622.

After reigns of Tadaharu Horio and Tadataka Kyogoku, Naomasa Matsudaira, a grandson of Ieyasu Tokugawa, became Lord of the castle, after being transferred from Matsumoto in Shinshu province, and thus began a reign that lasted 10 generations of the Matsudaira clan over a period of 234 years.

In 1875, all of the buildings within the castle were destroyed, with the exception of the castle tower itself, which was allowed to remain due to pressure from interest groups. The castle underwent a complete reconstruction between 1950 and 1955.

The castle is a complex structure, built in a watchtower style, that appears to be five stories from the outside, but has in fact six levels inside. Most of the walls of the castle are painted black, it is a strong structure, built to withstand warfare while at the same time it is majestic and solemn, reminiscent of the Momoyama style.

As if that wasn’t good enough to wake up to, check out what I go to sleep with!

Lake Shinji (宍道湖, Shinji-ko) is a lake in the northeast area of the Shimane prefecture in Japan. The lake is the seventh largest in Japan, with a circumference of 48 km. It is enclosed by the Shimane peninsula (Shimane-hanto) to the north, and the Izumo and Matsue plains to the west and east respectively.

As if these wild flights of fancy weren’t enough, I should be treated (some time in April) to the Samurai Parade in Matsue City where around 200 fully armored warriors parade down the street!

But I know there are also some others out there who would like some specifics on where I’ll be. Allow me to enlighten you!

Matsue has an estimated population of about 200,000 people. It’s sister cities are Dublin, Ireland and New Orleans, Louisiana (And Des Moines, Iowa).

Matsue City wraps itself around the eastern end of the lake and is split by a river, which will make it nice to navigate as I will be driving in Japan! It doesn’t seem too intimidating. Even though the city is 200,000 it’s very spread out and suburban styled.

Being surrounded by all this wonderful and natural beauty, comprised of a rich history (Particularly in one of the most fascinating eras to me in the Tokugawa rule) and many wonderful sight-seeing opportunities, I’m sure I’ll have many wonderful things to share with everyone!

I leave this post to the real experts to tell you all about Matsue. The owners of these videos have removed the embed option so please click the link on the video screen that says “Watch on Youtube” it is very much worth the effort!

Matsue Castle

Lake Shinji Hot Springs

Some Amazing Gardens


12 Responses

  1. Expect a visit sometime 🙂

  2. Look forward to it!

  3. Its like you gave them a list of everything you want in your placement town and found the perfect one for you!!

    Am coming to visit for the Samurai parade x

  4. I definitely don’t remember saying anything about Samurai and Castles, it’s more like they picked apart my brain and saw I would enjoy that!

  5. Wow… I have to admit, I was really jealous when I saw your placement! I’m definitely cold blooded and love bigger cities… and you have somewhere that’s got guaranteed warmth and a 6 figure population!

    Definitely worth the wait to find out your placement, I’m sure 🙂 Looks like we have a lot of interesting blogs to come from you in the future x

    • Jennie, you are always most welcome to have a visit, from what I saw, it’s about 10 and a half hours by various modes of transportation from Matsue to Niigata, but I think this summer I might actually venture my way up there, so if you are still in the neighborhood, let me know, I’d love to see your town!

  6. Awesome-looking placement…just make sure you bring plenty of deodorant!

  7. Samurai Parade you say…

    • Yeah, I keep finding blurbs mentioning it such as in the small 8 minute documentary on Matsue at their city website, so I can’t really get too many specifics on it. I’ll be sure to ask around once I arrive!

  8. :O It looks so beautiful~!

  9. Totally jelous*

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