Matsue: The World of Wagashi
Matsue, in Shimane Prefecture, is renowned as a center for wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets). Around the 18th century, more than 100 kinds of confections were created there, elevating the city as one of Japan's most famous centers for wagashi, alongside Kyoto and Kanazawa. To this day, this culture remains an important part of daily life, and for many people it is customary to enjoy these confections as a snack with tea each day in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. This culture was introduced to Matsue some 300 years ago along with the tea ceremony by the feudal lord of the Matsue domain, Matsudaira Harusato―who is also known as Lord Fumai. Many of the wagashi treats developed in the city during his life are still favorites with the local people. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, American artist Brandon Chin explores the world of wagashi in Matsue, meeting local artisans who are still carrying on the tradition.

Matsue Castle

Built in 1611, Matsue Castle is one of just 12 castles in Japan that still retain their original wooden architecture. It has been designated as a National Treasure and is a prized symbol of the city.

Meimei-an Teahouse

This traditional teahouse was constructed according to the precepts of Lord Fumai, the feudal lord who developed the wagashi culture of Matsue. Visitors can relax with a bowl of matcha tea together with freshly made wagashi confections.

Shiomi Nawate Area

One of the most historic parts of Matsue, the Shiomi Nawate district retains the atmosphere of past centuries. It has been designated as an Area of Scenic Beauty.


To reach Matsue from Tokyo, flights to Izumo Airport take an hour and a half. The airport bus to the Matsue city center takes about half hour.