Matsue Guide…In English

English Guide to Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan

Matsue – What to Buy

With a long history and flourishing culture, the castle town of Matsue is blessed with a  wide range of traditional arts and folk crafts, all of which have been passed down through the centuries and refined into exquisite works of art. Many shops and craftsmen still keep these traditions alive, and the works they produce make great souvenirs that reflect the life of Old, traditional Japan.




Matsue sweets

Matsue sweets

Matsue is known throughout Japan as a famous town of the tea ceremony, which was made famous by the 7th lord of the castle, ‘Fumai’, who made his own school. As sweets are traditionally eaten in the tea ceremony, confectionary also grew along with the tea culture.

A famous confectioner in Matsue is ‘Saiun Do’, which has been making sweets in the city since 1874.

The sweets are made with traditional ingredients such as red beans, buckwheat, rice powder and Japanese sugar. In 2006 Saiun Do took their sweets to New York, where they were a great hit.

The sweets change with the seasons and are a great present to take home. (As the ingredients are fresh, it’s a good idea to buy them on the last day of your trip!)

English pamphlet available and some English spoken.

Opening Times of the main shop: 9:00am – 6:30pm.
Getting there: From the north exit of Matsue station go out onto the main road in front of you and turn left. Keep going past the banks and hotels and cross the next two sets of traffic lights. The shop is at the next cross roads on your left. (A beautiful Japanese style building).
Here is the link to the English information on Saiun Do’s homepage.



Yakumo-nuri Lacquerware

Yakumo-nuri Lacquerware

 Yakumo-nuri Lacquerware dates back to the 1880’s, and is one of Shimane Prefecture’s traditional folk-crafts. The process of making each piece of lacquerware is a long one. First, foundations of wood such as chesnut and zelkova are applied and sanded several times, then the gold, silver and mother of pearl are set into the wood, then many layers of lacquer are applied. As the piece ages the colours become more vivid.

There are many Yakumo-nuri products available including vases, bowls, cups, spoons, boxes, plates, trays, clocks, address books etc. etc!

You can buy products at the ‘Shimane Prefectural Products and Tourist Centre’ to the left of the car park at Matsue Castle.

Opening Times: Every day from 9:00am to 6:00pm except Dec 31st – Jan 1st.

Or you can go directly to Mr. Yamamoto’s shop. It is on the north side of the Ohashi Bridge near Ohashikan.



Sodeshi Pottery

Sodeshi Pottery

The Sodeshi Pottery kiln opened  in Matsue in 1877  and the Ono family have been making the pottery since that time.

The products are made from local clay and have a local character. You can pick up pottery that you can use in your daily life here, such as cups, plates, bowls etc.

You can buy Sodeshi pottery at the Products and Tourist Centre as mentioned above, or you can visit the shop at the kiln. It is opposite the Prefectural Art Museum by the lake. (Well, kind of opposite. Stand looking at the museum and you should see a tall TV station on your left with the restaurant Gusto on the ground floor. It is under the railway tracks opposite this next to the museum’s main car park). Hope that makes sense…


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