Discover Charms of 'Not the Best'

Another Kiyomizu Temple

What seduces you in Japan?  Cross-cultural experiences?  Indeed, you can get to various  postcard-perfect spots seen on glossy brochures or on the internet. Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto is a good example for foreign tourists to taste of Oriental culture.  It’s a site of World Heritage and probably one of the best spots when you visit in Kyoto. Of course, it is always crowded of visitors. But almost all of them never know there is another Kiyomizu Temple in Japan.


The other day, I visited Kiyomizu Temple at Yasugi City, Shimane prefecture with my wife. It was a holiday, we saw not a few worshipers there. Most worshipers are local residents who love peaceful atmosphere in the huge precincts of this temple. To tell the truth, I prefer to visit the temple on weekdays since I could have an illusion I took all space here to myself. As such, visitors are few in this historic site. What an incredible difference between two ‘Kiyomizu Temples’!



The name of the temple is derived from ‘pure water’ streaming down from the mountainous area. Thus the origins of two temples are quite similar, and the history of ‘Another Kiyomizu’ is slightly older than the ‘Famous Kiyomizu’ history.


All visitors go up the long stone-steps to reach the main building of the temple which has 1,400 year’s history. There are also a 3-story pagoda and other buildings. Some enthusiastic worshipers get

experiences of copying of a sutra or zen meditation. Anyway, you don’t have to hurry up to see the temple for the next destination. Your time might be flying slowly here.

Kiyomizu Temple

  Business hours      everyday 9:00AM~4*00PM

  Phone     0854-22-2151

  Price       admission free     zen meditation 1,000JPY



Matsue Castle ~ meaning of being ‘Not the Best’


Matsue Castle is one of the 5 National Treasures as a Japanese feudal castle. But the scale and the beauty are not the best among Japanese castles. I think the best is Himeji Castle in Hyogo prefecture in the aspect of architectural beauty. The charms of Matsue Castle are in the different and hidden aspects.

The castle was began to construct in 1605 and was completed for 5 years. That was about the times of the beginning of 250 years peace in Japanese history. The castle has never been used for battles and has survived after two crises of being destroyed. The first crisis was at the beginning of Meiji period in the 19th century. The castle was destined to be destroyed as an evil symbol of samurai age, however it was saved by the movement and donation of descendants of samurai and farmers at the last moment. The second crisis was in the World War Ⅱ. While most cities were destroyed by the American air raids, strangely enough, Matsue was excluded from the list of the target cities. There are interesting reasons in the background about it, but it’s a too long story to talk here.



When you visit Matsue Castle, try to remind yourself of this miraculous history and find

the greatness of 400 years in scars of columns, for instance. Besides, the charm of Matsue Castle is that we can enjoy not only seeing the castle but finding other small sites connecting firmly to the castle. Try to walk along the road bordered by pine trees north of the castle. You may find a little museum, it might be a samurai residence in the past. You may find an old-looking house in the hidden corner, it might be a tea ceremony house which a feudal lord of Matsue Domain built.

Concluding my vague words, I’ll recommend an absolutely gratifying activity here.

That’s Horikawa Sightseeing Boat. You can enjoy this 50-minute boat tour along the

moats of the castle with the wonderful scenery.


Matsue Castle

 Business hours  everyday 8:30AM~5:00PM

Phone      0852-21-4030

Price        adult 560JPY(foreigner 280JPY) child 280JPY(foreigner 140JPY)

Horikawa Sightseeing Boat

Business hours      everyday 9:00AM~4:00or6:00PM

Price          adult 1230JPY(foreigner 820JPY)     child 610JPY(foreigner 410JPY)

Please refer to               Deep San-in Culture Tour  

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