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Photo By: Laura Payne
Largest City

Fumon-in Temple

If the ghost stories don’t scare you away, you can enjoy some local tea culture.

By Laura Payne

Matsue, the capital of Shimane Prefecture, is known for its tea ceremony culture and a host of local ghost stories. Fumon-in Temple, located northeast of Matsue Castle, carries connections to both of these claims to fame.

Founded over 400 years ago, Fumon-in is home to a historic teahouse, a traditional-style garden and a bridge that is the setting of one of the city’s most chilling legends. It is a must-see for fans of traditional culture and folklore.

Ghostly Presences

Photo by: Laura Payne Don’t look too closely.

Fumon-in Bridge, located in front of the temple’s main gate, is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a woman. It is said that this ghost usually keeps to herself unless you sing a particular song, which will anger her and subject you to her wrath.

Lafcadio Hearn, a writer who immigrated to Japan in the late 19th century, detailed the results of this ghost’s anger in an anecdote from his book Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan. Supposedly, there was once a samurai who went to the bridge and sang the forbidden song, unafraid of the rumored ghost. When he finished singing, nothing happened, so he went home. Upon arriving at his house, however, a mysterious woman presented him with a box that contained the head of a child. When the samurai entered his home, he discovered the headless body of his own son.

In addition to the ghost of the bridge, another supernatural presence is said to be found in the temple’s main gate. If you look at the gate’s ceiling as you pass underneath, you may see footprints or handprints, which are speculated to have been left by ghosts.

Tea Culture Experience

Photo by: Laura Payne Sample some of the best tea in the prefecture in a traditional setting. 

If the ghost stories of Fumon-in Temple don’t scare you away, you can taste some of Matsue’s tea ceremony culture here. The inner temple grounds are home to Kangetsu-an, a teahouse built in 1801 that is situated in a traditional-style pond garden. In addition to being an important cultural property of the city, Kangetsu-an is famous because Matsudaira Fumai—the seventh lord of Matsue Castle and a major patron of Matsue’s tea culture— often visited in his day.

Modern visitors are free to traverse the garden on stepping stones and can view the inside of Kangetsu-an through open doors and windows (entering the teahouse is not allowed). Afterward, tea lovers can enjoy a set of matcha and wagashi (traditional sweets) in the temple’s own tearoom, which offers a panoramic view of the garden.

Things To Know


Admission to the temple’s outer grounds is free. Entering the area housing Kangetsu-an costs ¥300 (or ¥900 if you want to have matcha and wagashi). Reservations may be required for admission in January and February.

Fumon-in is typically open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and is usually closed on Tuesdays. These hours may change due to bad weather or if special events are being held.

It is possible to go underneath Fumon-in Bridge if you join a tour on the Horikawa Sightseeing Boats (departing from the dock next to Matsue Castle). Boats pass under the bridge as part of the regular tour. More details can be found online.

How To Get There


By train

Fumon-in is about a 10-minute walk from Matsue Castle, which is accessible via the Lakeline Bus from Matsue station. Information on the bus’s route can be found on the city’s official travel website.

Alternatively, Fumon-in is about a 30-minute walk from Matsue station or Matsue Shinjiko-Onsen station.

Where To Stay

Onyado Nono Matsue
  • 2-35 Higashihommachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0842 Japan
  • ¥17,448 - ¥82,808
  • 4.65/5 (567 reviews)
  • 0.8 km
Hotel Route-Inn Matsue
  • 2-22 Higashihommachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0842 Japan
  • ¥8,500 - ¥21,000
  • 4.28/5 (1,215 reviews)
  • 0.8 km
Matsueshinjiko Onsen Minamikan
  • 14 Suetsuguhommachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0843 Japan
  • ¥39,424 - ¥57,750
  • 0.9 km
Matsueshinjiko Onsen Matsue New Urban Hotel
  • 40-1 Nishichamachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0845 Japan
  • ¥6,000 - ¥51,400
  • 4.18/5 (3,564 reviews)
  • 1.1 km
Dormy Inn Express Matsue
  • 498-1 Asahimachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0003 Japan
  • ¥8,250 - ¥91,520
  • 4.33/5 (1,430 reviews)
  • 1.4 km

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