Whew! It’s really gotten hot and humid in Matsue. Last week was the “Tenjin Matsuri” (every year throughout Japan on the 24th and 25th of July). We went on the evening of the 25th, so we didn’t see the “mikoshi“, which happened on the 24th. We did however see traditional dancing within the Shinto shrine!
The Summer festivals in Japan are a great distraction from the hot weather😁. Being at the Tenjin Matsuri reminded me of the 4th of July celebrations I got to partake in when I visited my hometown: Ashland, Oregon! It was my first 4th of July experience in a very long time, and it was just as fun as I remembered from when I was a child💜. Below are some pictures from the 4th of July parade, which people from allover come to see!
During our stay in Matsuyama City, we enjoyed walking around the neighborhood where Dogo Onsen is located (top left). Nearby is the “Botchan Clock” (top right), a tribute to famous Japanese novelist, Natsume Sōseki, whose titular character Botchan visited the onsen and increased its popularity.
We also walked up to see Isaniwa Shrine, which is one of only a few shrines built in the rare hachiman-zukuri architectural style. Its beautiful vermilion colors looked stunning against the background of the clear blue sky!
At the beginning of their stay, we met in Kurashiki City, and planned to come to Matsue City by train. On the way, we stopped to see Bitchū Matsuyama Castle (pictured at left). Located 430 meters above sea level, it has the distinction of being Japan’s highest mountain castle with an original castle tower!
Toward the end of their stay, we visited the island of Shikoku, where Matsuyama Castle (pictured below) is located in Ehime Prefecture. We enjoyed riding the chairlift up to the castle grounds, which offer panoramic views of Matsuyama City. Matsuyama Castle is also known for having original towers and is considered one of the most prestigious castles in Japan. The castle’s high stone walls and long defensive corridors leading up to the keep reminded me of Himeji Castle!
I really recommend seeing both castles!! 🏯🏯 どちらもおすすめです！！
This is a picture of my family’s holiday wreath. Each year they purchase one as part of a fundraiser that supports the local high school’s ski and snowboarding team. It’s made from fresh Douglas fir so it also smells wonderful!