Castle Moat Sightseeing Tours: Experiencing Matsue by Water
Matsue Castle Moat Sightseeing Tour runs approximately 50 minutes. Passengers may board boats at Fureai Square, Ōtemae Square, or Karakoro Square.
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During the tours, the skippers of vessels serve as guides, pointing out notable spots like old bridges or stone walls and offering tidbits of history to give passengers a sense of Matsue of yesteryear. In spring, boats glide beneath cherry blossoms, and in winter kotatsu protect passengers from the cold, snowy weather. Audio guides are currently available in English, Chinese, and Korean. A French version is also in the works.
An amusing aspect of each journey is when the sightseeing boats lower their rooftops to pass under low bridges. At the skipper’s signal, passengers duck down or lie on the deck as the roof is lowered, although this does not completely dispel the sensation that the top of the boat might collide with the span.
Passengers can use their tickets for any number of trips on the day of purchase, making sightseeing boats useful for exploring the city.
Horikawa Sightseeing Boat
- Boarding areas: Matsue Horikawa Fureai Hiroba, Ōtemae Hiroba, Karakoro Hiroba
- Day Pass: Junior high age and older ¥1,500, elementary school students ¥800, foreign visitors ¥1,200, foreign elementary school students ¥600. Group discount and other offers available.
- Boats depart at 20-minute intervals beginning at 9:00 am (30-minute intervals between December and February). Last departure times vary seasonally. Party boat rentals and annual passes available.
(Originally published in Japanese. Reporting, text, and photos by Nippon.com. Banner photo: Matsue Castle hovers above a sightseeing boat plying one of the city’s many canals.)