This historic harbor was an important trading port in feudal Japan with strong domestic and international links. Today, the sea is just as important to local commerce and the history of the area has put Mihonoseki on the map as a point of interest.
You can read historical accounts of the heyday of the port, which was thriving from the Edo era right through to Meiji Japan. By all accounts, it was truly the place to be. People with absolutely no connection to the sea or commerce flocked to this harbor on the Japan Sea to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
Trade has a positive impact on Mihonoseki, affording the construction of splendid buildings, including Japanese style hotels with fabulous courtyards and a tinge of Western flair.
While the hustle and bustle that helped establish the port is not evident at this point in time, what remains is a vital fishing village with a deep respect for its cultural heritage.
What absolutely must be kept in mind when you think about the entire peninsula is that this area is one of the places where Japanese civilization began. What you find there are the roots of the branches of a cultural tree that has spread across the nation.
When viewed from above, the harbor looks like a quaint little cove, protected by cliffs and mountains, in an almost mythical setting. In fact, the locals say that Mihonoseki connects the gods and the sea to the people.
Without a car, it is actually quite tricky to reach, with the most efficient routes by public transport starting in Tottori Prefecture and not Shimane. Just as well, it is worth the extra effort to see this special place on the Japan Sea.
Access: From JR Matsue Station take the Ichibata Bus from JR Matsue Station to Mihonoseki Bus Terminal. Take the Mihonoseki Community Bus to Mihonoseki Harbor.
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.
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