The 19th of April found us in Sakaiminato. We were scheduled to take a tour that day that included a canal cruise and visit to Matsue Castle. My back was achy and I decided to stay on the ship and give it a rest. So, I am relating what JoAnn told me about the day and all the photos, which are very nice, are her’s.
She started her tour with a canal river trip (actually they were in the moat that surrounded the castle), under a multiplicity of bridges, on a small boat holding 9 passengers that she had to crawl into, on hands and knees, to get to the space on the floor where she was seated; there were no seats. She sat with her back against the side of the boat with her legs stretched out in front of her. It was a cold, miserable day; the sky was dark with clouds and threatened to rain any minute. For warmth, the passengers all nestled under a communal blanket.
Some bridges were so low that the passengers had to bend over so that the canvas top could be lowered to the top of the side of the boat in order to pass under.
The driver of the boat, perched in the stern of the boat, narrated the trip as they puttered down the canal. He spoke only Japanese which, through the miracle of modern technology, was translated seamlessly into English.
Here is a shot taken from the boat as they “cruised” along.
JoAnn said that for all the physical demands involved the boat trip was a lot of fun and the scenery was beautiful.
Then it was onto the Matsue Castle.
The castle, nicknamed the “Black Castle” due to its exterior black walls, was completed in 1611 and still has some of its original construction. It was registered as a National Treasure of Japan in July 2015.
On the way in she passed this Torii Gate
and shrine; both of which were apparently largely ignored (very unusual not to have people visiting a shrine) but were worthy of a photograph.
JoAnn was able to visit inside the castle tower but told me it is devoid of furniture or decoration. There were some displays and here are a couple photos of those.
This item, which looks like a mask to me (notice the eyes, ears, nose and even mouth) is interesting. Your guess is as good as mine.
She was able to get a couple of nice shots from the top level. Have a look.
Then before we knew it we were reunited on the Quest.