Day 49 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Izumo to Matsue Along Lake Shinji, and Staying in Tamatsukuri Onsen

Day 49 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Izumo to Matsue Along Lake Shinji, and Staying in Tamatsukuri Onsen

I have to admit that I felt a bit sad as we checked out of our comfortable and modern Ryokan in Izumo this morning.
It was such a convenient place to stay.
We had a great Italian restaurant for dinner just a block away, a Starbucks cafe right around the corner, a very spacious and comfy tatami mat room, a good, clean and relaxing onsen, and a convenient train and bus schedule to return us to the area after full days of walking.

But I really did not need to worry.
Our onsen hotel for the next two nights turned out to be a lovely place as well, and their hot springs baths are even better than the ones in Izumo.

Matsue is just east of Izumo; the two towns are separated by a huge lake called Shinji.
In places, the lake is so large that you cannot see the other side, and it really looks like you are walking by the open sea.

It was a breezy day, and the lake had big waves and a huge high tide, making the surface look very choppy, and we were sprayed with water as we walked near it.
On the other hand, the breeze made the very hot day feel much better.

Near Matsue, the lake is very shallow, and we saw fishermen wading
In the shallow water outside their boats, collecting small black clams.
On the shores of lake Shinji, there are a few restaurants preparing these black clams, and also eels that the fishermen find in the muddy parts of the lake.

In Matsue, we had enough time to stop in a mall and get Jules a belt and new underwear, which he needed.

The walk was flat and easy, butt the heat did make it very difficult to walk for any length of time.

The area we have been walking through for the last week, is full of small hot spring towns.
I saw a map of the area that listed all the onsen towns, and I counted almost twenty.
We have booked a stay for two nights in Matsue in a small onsen town called Tamatsukuri Onsen.

Located on a river, this onsen town seems very popular, and has a few very large hot springs hotels.
The hotels are on both sides of the river and there are many small bridges connecting the two sides.

The Matsue and Izumo areas have been well known as a source of agate since ancient times.
The brightness of the stones has been admired for centuries. These agates are still used in accessories and ornaments today.

The most famous ornament is the Comma-shaped beads called “Magatama,” which has been prized in Japan since ancient times.

Comma shaped large beads decorate the bridge in the middle of the village.

Our hotel is one of those with hundreds of rooms.

In fact, they gave us plastic clips with our room number on them, to clip to our baskets in the hot springs.
This is so other people will not mistakenly take our towels and Yukatas, since all hotel guests get exactly the same Yukatas.

We got a very spacious and airy tatami mat room, but we had not booked dinners in the hotel.
I was not so hungry, because the heat of the day was so oppressive, but Jules, who hadn’t eaten much at breakfast, was very hungry.

It was already dark, but I needed to bathe first, so we went to enjoy the hot spring baths.
The Onsen spa was a beautiful and dark place, made of basalt rocks and wood.
In the ladies’ baths, there were two large indoor pools and a covered outdoor pool.
It was very soothing and relaxing to soak after such a hot day.

We asked at the front desk if the hotel had a restaurant, but we were told it does not.
The kitchen prepares Kaiseki meals only for those who have preordered dinner.
So, dressed in our Yukatas and sandals, we walked out of the hotel to find a place to eat in town.

We came upon a small Izakaya, which was nearly full.
Everyone got up to greet us when we came in.
Some people shook our hands, and we were seated at a big table which we shared with a young woman who was dining alone.

Dinner was very good.
From the small menu we ordered Agedashi tofu, fried shrimp, fried burdock and potatoes, a big salad, and some Oden items.

Oden is a dish that reminds me of the Jewish dish called “Hammin” or, as it is known in Eastern Europe, “Tshoont.”
The ingredients are cooked in one pot for many hours, until they all turn a lovely brown color.

We ordered an Oden egg, Oden tofu, an Oden big slice of Daikon, and cabbage.
They were delicious, especially the brown egg, the tofu and the daikon.

Back in our room we fell asleep almost immediately after we laid down on the futon on the floor.

Sending you all my heartfelt blessings,

Daily Stats:
Steps: 23,182 steps
Distance Walked: 18 Kilometers
Active Walking: 4.5 hours
Total Time: 6 hours

Total distance walked on the pilgrimage so far: 1001.5 Kilometers

Temple Visited: none

Accommodation: Onsen Hotel Gyokusen in Tamatsukuri Onsen
A big hot springs hotel offering spacious Japanese style rooms and a breakfast buffet
Has fabulous indoor and outdoor hot spring baths.
They have Karaoke singing rooms, entertainment and shops, but the top floor rooms, where we stayed, were very quiet and restful.

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