Photo: PIXTA/ トシチャン

Kyomise: A traditional shopping street filled with local flare

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

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

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

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