A trip through history

Horikawa Sightseeing Boat

visit west japan, visitwestjapan, shimane prefecture


People often call Matsue a “water city” but it could also be referred to as a canal city because of the waterways that surround Matsue Castle. Once a system of moats designed to form a defense barrier, the canals have become a lovely way to experience the cultural and historic center of the city.

You can travel through four centuries of history in fifty minutes, guided by an experienced boat operator. There are three departure piers along the course with boats departing roughly every 15 minutes. The boat passes under seventeen bridges, with its roof actually lowering in order to pass under four of them.

Along the course you will get an excellent look at Matsue Castle, Shiomi Nawate Street, the center city, the historic district, as well as the cherry and plum trees and the flowers along the way.

This experience is offered year round regardless of the rain. In winter there is a heated table called a kotasu that you can sit under to warm yourself up and take in the sights in comfort.

If touring from the water suits you, continue your maritime exploration with a trip around Lake Shinji, on the shores of which Matsue City rests. You will be delighted with the lakeside scenery at any time of the day but the sunrises and sunsets are particularly special.

At the end of the day it is always a good idea to mirror your path on foot as much as possible in order to achieve the clearest and most complete understanding of the contour of the landscape and how everything fits together.

Access: Take the Super Yakumo Express train from JR Okayama Station to JR Matsue Station. Take the Lakeline Sightseeing Loop Bus from the #7 boarding area to the Horikawa Yuuransen bus stop. The Horikawa Sightseeing Boat boarding area is about a 2 minute walk from the bus stop.


About the Area

Matsue is the vibrant capital city of Shimane Prefecture that has been shaped by its feudal heritage as a castle town and its unique location on Lake Shinji, Lake Nakaumi and the Japan Sea. The city center is dominated by the presence of Matsue Castle and its surrounding canals. This area is also a cultural zone as it is home to museums and historic quarters. One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of the city is from the water and there are several cruise companies that make this possible.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee