Taste of Matsue
Wagashi (Japanese Confectionaries) - 和菓子
Drinking matcha (powdered green tea) served with wagashi is part of daily life for many locals, and it is also part of the city’s history. You can find many wagashi shops all around town, and enjoy them with matcha in places like Meimei-an Tea House or Gessho-ji Temple. Don’t miss the wonderful tea room of Matsue History Museum, where you can watch Mr. Tsugio Itami, one of the most distinguished wagashi makers in Japan, perform his art in front of you. You can also learn how to make your own wagashi in Karakoro Art Studio.
Izumo Soba (Buckwheat Noodles) - 出雲そば
Handmade Izumo Soba has a darker grey-black color, firmer texture, and more aroma than typical soba. Although it can be prepared in various ways, it is normally served in round dishes known as ‘warigo’, with seaweed, spring onion, grated daikon with chili pepper, and a thick sauce.
Zenzai (Red Bean Soup) - ぜんざい
Red bean soup with rice cakes, served hot or cold, is a traditional Izumo region dish. The name comes from the Izumo dialect term for “the gods are here,” in reference to gods from around Japan gathering in this region for Kamiarizuki.
Shijimi Soup - しじみ汁
Shijimi clams are one of the seven delicacies of Lake Shinji. The type of shijimi taken from Lake Shinji is called yamato shijimi, which are bigger than other types of shijimi. Early in the morning, you can see fishermen in boats on Lake Shinji fishing for clams. Many restaurants in Matsue serve shijimi-shiru, a soup full of the clams. See Lake Shinji for more info.
Agonoyaki (Flying Fish Frilled Sausage) - あごの焼
Agonoyaki is a type of sausage made from grilled flying fish paste. The flying fish, or “ago,” is the prefectural fish of Shimane, and the meat of this fish is made into a paste, which is then grilled slowly over a charcoal fire. It has a very distinct taste and texture. Try it with sake or beer!
Local Sake and Beer - 地酒・地ビール
Matsue’s dried persimmons are well known for attaining perfect texture and softness, and were a favourite of many samurai lords. In late fall, there are hundreds of persimmons tied to strings to dry which decorate the charming neighbourhood of Higashi-Izumo in south-eastern Matsue.
Matsudaira Harusato (1751-1818), also known by his tea name Fumai, ruled the domain of Matsue from 1767 to 1806, during which time a famine struck. It is popularly believed that he introduced "bote-bote cha", a soup-like tea made to stretch rations and make people feel full. Its fillings range from rice and beans to pickled vegetables and even dried flowers. There is even a bote-bote style of tea ceremony practiced here.