Discover the hidden sights of the San'in Region, with this video introduction of some of the top sights in Shimane and Tottori.
Horikawa pleasure boat / samurai residences
Though the moat was built in 1611, the Horikawa boat tours only began in 1997. Cruising along the Hori River, passengers take in sights of the Matsue Castle and other spots around the castle town while the boat guide points out sights and historical spots such as the samurai residences. Perhaps the highlight of the Horikawa boat tour is the low bridges. Of the 16 bridges the boat will pass through, a few of them are so low that the roofs of the boats have to be lowered while passengers have to bend far forward in their seats. And no matter the season you choose to take the ride in, passengers will get to enjoy nature's gifts, be it the mesmerizing sakura blossoms in spring, the beautiful gold and auburn foliage in autumn or a snowy and tranquil landscape in winter. If you visit in the cold winter, the thoughtful staff would provide blankets and heated tables to keep you warm.
Of the 12 original castles left standing in Japan, five of them are designated as national treasures - including Matsue Castle. Built in 1611, Matsue Castle was designed as a fortress to withstand the ravages of wars, explaining its stalwart rather than fancy appearance. However, the castle's good fortune meant that it avoided any attacks and even survived the purging of castles when Japan's isolationist regime ended with the aid of concerned local residents who pitched in and managed to purchase the rights to the castle. At the top of the Matsue Castle are stunning views of the city and on the castle grounds is an Inari shrine with over 2000 small fox carvings.
While the Kobe beef is the most well-known, the Tottori beef definitely stands its ground when compared to the former. Similar to Kobe beef and most of the reared cattle in Japan, Tottori beef is also a Japanese Black - albeit from a different strain. As early as 1918, through the national Wagyu Registry Association, Tottori started perfecting its strain of cattle. The most prized variety of Tottori wagyu is the Oleic 55. It is named for the 55% oleic acid content of the beef, which gives Tottori beef its trademark melt-in-your-mouth texture. Over the years, the Tottori wagyu culture has culminated in the signature rich, tender, and mouth-watering marbled taste of present-day Tottori beef.
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