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Photo By: PIXTA/ トシチャン
Region
Chugoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Matsue
Population
761,499

Kyomise Shopping District

A historic area where both travelers and locals eat, shop and enjoy annual events.

By Laura Payne

Located just south of Matsue Castle, Kyomise Shopping District was founded in 1724 and originally built to resemble similar streets from Kyoto. About 60 different stores and restaurants operate here today, including coffee shops, bakeries and places dedicated to the traditional industries of Shimane Prefecture.

Kyomise’s historic buildings, riverside views and centralized location make it a stylish place where travelers and locals eat, shop and enjoy annual events.

Tasting Shimane’s culture

Photo by: Laura Payne Bring a bag of tea home with you.

Matsue City is known as one of Japan’s top three tea culture hubs, and one can experience this tradition at the main branch of Senchasou–a local tea manufacturer and seller. Here, customers can browse a collection of tea, ceramics and tools for sado (Japanese tea ceremony). Senchasou also manages Scarab Bettei, a cafe specializing in handcrafted desserts and freshly brewed tea.

Meanwhile, wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets often enjoyed with tea) can be purchased at stores like Furyudo or restaurants like Tsukigase.

Sake (rice wine) culture can also be experienced around Kyomise. Kokki Sake Brewery sells local spirits, offers tastings and occasionally leads tours of the brewing areas. This brewery and others are must-see attractions for sake drinkers because Shimane is considered the birthplace of sake. Legends from Japanese mythology that involve brewing sake are said to have taken place in Shimane, which leads some to believe that brewing techniques have existed here since ancient times.

Events and special features

Photo by: Laura Payne After an afternoon of shopping, sit around Karakoro Plaza and take in the local atmosphere.

Look carefully while exploring Kyomise, and you can find four heart-shaped stones. Two are carved into paving bricks, and the other two are semi-precious gems embedded in the ground. Spotting these stones is considered good luck, according to signs posted in the area.

Another iconic feature of Kyomise is Karakoro Plaza, a rest area complete with chairs, tables, a giant red umbrella and a relief carving of the late 19th and early 20th-century author Lafcadio Hearn, who wrote of Matsue city in some of his books. In addition to being a popular place to relax and take in views of the nearby river, this plaza is also an event venue.

About once a month, the Kyomise Karakoro Marche is held, boasting food stalls, performances and other activities meant to entertain visitors of all ages. Meanwhile, major annual events such as the Matsue Irish Festival often use this space as a market or place for eating meals.

Things To Know

The Kyomise Karakoro Marche is usually held on the second Sunday of the month. It may be canceled or postponed in cases of bad weather.

If you participate in sake tastings on Kyomise, know that driving cars or riding bikes after consuming alcohol is prohibited in Japan.

Some businesses on Kyomise manage English-language websites, including Senchasou and Kokki Sake Brewery.

How To Get There

Address

By train

Take the Lakeline bus from Matsue station and alight at Kyobashi Bridge or Karakoro Art Studio. Kyomise is a short walk from here. Details can be found on Matsue city’s official tourism website.

Kyomise is also within walking distance of Matsue Castle.

By car

Two small paid parking lots are available at Kyomise. The central parking lot also includes a space for bicycles.

Where To Stay

Matsueshinjiko Onsen Minamikan
  • 14 Suetsuguhommachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0843 Japan
  • ¥56,694 - ¥56,694
  • 0.1 km
Matsueshinjiko Onsen Matsue New Urban Hotel
  • 40-1 Nishichamachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0845 Japan
  • ¥6,000 - ¥59,400
  • 4.18/5 (3,564 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Onyado Nono Matsue
  • 2-35 Higashihommachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0842 Japan
  • ¥17,448 - ¥82,808
  • 4.65/5 (567 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Hotel Route-Inn Matsue
  • 2-22 Higashihommachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0842 Japan
  • ¥9,500 - ¥10,500
  • 4.28/5 (1,215 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Dormy Inn Express Matsue
  • 498-1 Asahimachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0003 Japan
  • ¥8,250 - ¥63,470
  • 4.33/5 (1,430 reviews)
  • 0.8 km

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