This past July I hopped on the SL Yamaguchi Steam Train and made my way up to the old castle town of Tswano. The town is in Shimane prefecture, but lies so close to the border that it is sometimes mistaken as a Yamaguchi prefecture town.
I spent a weekend here and was able to explore all the main attractions. One of the big draw cards to Tswano is the Yabusame Festival (流鏑馬まつり) – a horse-mounted archery festival held in April. Other highlights of the town are the Edo-era buildings, the massive carp (also referred to as koi) that live in the waterways, and the Taikodani Inari Shrine – one of the five greatest shrines in Japan.
Old Samurai Town and Carp
Upon my arrival to Tswano, I wandered around the very quiet streets and eventually found myself in the old samurai district.
With their recognisable white walls and dark red roof tiles, the samurai houses are in immaculate condition and have waterways running in front of the buildings. Looking into these waterways you will see carp in an array of colours and sizes, it’s quite memorising. Like most public carp ponds (or waterways) in Japan, you can buy carp food from nearby stores, or in this case, from a carp food box.
Around the Town
Having spent most of the day wandering around the town, I found a great coffee shop that served the town’s speciality dish – red bean paste crepe.
More to see and do
Eventually it came time to check into the ryokan that would be my accommodation for the night, and the following morning I explored more of the town’s attractions, like the Catholic church and the Inari shrine – highlights of my time in Tsuwano that I will share soon in an upcoming post! 🙂