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“Relaxing and interesting”

Matsue Horikawa Pleasure Boat
Ranked #1 of 4 Tours in Matsue
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
188 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Relaxing and interesting”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2013

The boat ride is via the moat around Matsue Castle. However the moat now surrounds much of the commercial district as well. It is a low boat. Some of the bridges are very low. The canopy is a permanent fixture above the boat and does drop down when you are under a low clearance bridge. Would not recommend this if you have back issues. You literally will be staring at your feet. It was actually funny to look at everyone hunched over.
The view is wonderful and there are many cranes and turtles just going about their business. I remember fondly a little girl at a library waving to us. You can get off at different points and then get back on. We stopped to look at the Samurai district.
Many stores around there including one that served a local beer on tap that was wonderful.
Would definitely do again.

Visited July 2013
3 Thank marc m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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181 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
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  • French first
  • Japanese first
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  • Any
English first
Quedlinburg, Germany
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Relaxing while cruising through a beautiful scenery”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2013

There are many old castle towns in Japan, but what makes Matsue so unique is its water landscape. Lake Shinji and many small rivers and canals create a really beautiful scenery.
Around the castle of Matsue you can still explore the moats with their numerous old bridges, every one with a special name and history. Therefore the best way to enjoy Matsue is to take the boat and join the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat Tour around the castle and through the city.
There are three starting points for the boat tour. The main departure point is close to the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum and the Samurai Residence (Buke Yashiki). The second arrival and departure point is close to the Karakoro Art Studio and the Kyomise shopping area with many restaurants and shops, and the third point is directly at Matsue Castle. With the ticket for this boat tour it is possible to go to any location several times on the same day. So it is a really convenient way to travel around.
Before the boat sets of, the guide practises with the passengers how to duck, because the boat can lower its roof with a special engine in order to make the boat fit under the low bridges. This is a really exciting part of the boat tour. Every time when a low bridge comes in sight, the guide tells you to crouch down fast, so that he can lower the roof.
The boats also come with heated tables and are really cozy. You need to take off your shoes, before you hop on the boat. The tour guides are very individual and different from each other. Most of them can only speak Japanese, but that is no problem because they try their best to make each tour unique. Some of them sing old songs about Matsue or play some old music and they put much effort in explaining and showing every sight around the moats.
During the tour you can enjoy the view of the nicely preserved buildings along the water and you can see many wild animals like big cormorants, different kind of ducks, herons, turtles, cicada and big dragonflies, depending on the season. The animals often come really close, so it is a great opportunity to take photos.
In spring the boat tour is even better, because there are numerous cherry trees along the banks and the pink blossoms complete the picture of ancient Japan. If you ever visit Matsue city and have 50 minutes to spare, this boat tour is really a must-do to explore this beautiful place.

Visited March 2013
2 Thank Rika P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Relaxing boat trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2013

We took the boat from Matsue castle till Kyomise Karakoro Square. It was a small boat (even with one of those heated blankets) with a really nice driver, however he spoke only Japanese, so it was rather difficult to understand the historical background of the area which we passed through. But never the less, I actually did not mind this, because I was totally captured by the nature, the surroundings, the houses, the bridges and the silence and this incredible spirit of peace. At one point, the driver had to lower the boat roof in order to pass one of the bridges, because it was really low. So we were almost lying in the boot, which was kind of fun. And as we passed a really wide bridge, the driver stopped underneath it and began to sing this traditional Japanese song and the echo of his voice surrounded us. It was great!

Visited March 2013
3 Thank Olga I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A relaxing cruise around Matsue Castle”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 13, 2013

The trip around the moat was extremely relaxing and pleasant and a number of attractions can be scene on the way around. During the tour, the gentlemen driving the boat gave us explanations and interesting facts about the history of the buildings and landmarks in the vicinity. It was a great way to view Matsue!

Visited March 2013
3 Thank Andy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Wonderful Way to relax and enjoy Matsue Castle and its surroundings”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2013

My friend and I got on the first Boat at 10:30 am and we were the only passengers!! It was fun having our own private boat tour. The people were very nice to us. They had us take off our shoes, something that you get used to when in Japan, and sit around a kotatsu that lined the middle of the boat. A kotatsu is a type of Japanese heater. Our driver did not speak English but she was very nice and kindly explained things that we passed by in Japanese. She also turned on an audio that explained things in English when my friend and I gave her blank expressions to her Japanese explanations. She taught us a few simple Japanese words like "dan dan" which means thank you in the local dialect. She was a lovely singer and sang a few Japanese songs which made the boat ride even more peaceful. I'm not sure if it was the time that we went but most of the boats that we saw later in the day also had about 2 people as passengers in them. Take note that the boat awnings are lowered because the boat goes under some very low bridges. When this happens you have to lower your head/body. They will explain this at the beginning of the boat ride.

Visited March 2013
3 Thank Annie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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