The Gojoban Yashiki were the residences of the guards of Matsusaka Castle during the Edo Period. There are not so many of this type of residence left in the country. One of the buildings can be entered so that you can catch a glimpse of how the guards lived.The area is not only historic, but also very attractive. The residences flank a stone path...more
Matsusaka Castle was originally built in 1588 by Gamo Ujisato, the local daimyo. He turned Matsusaka into a bustling merchant town with his free trade policies. The town also benefited because of its location as one of the last stops on the pilgrimage road to Ise Shrine.Today none of the castle's buildings remain however, the castle walls are...more
The Museum of History and Folklore is a museum that showcases historic objects from the city. Because Matsusaka is located along the pilgrimage route to Ise, it became a bustling merchant town. Many of the artifacts displayed on the first floor come from the old businesses, such as signboards and advertisements. I always find these interesting. The...more
Matsusaka Beef is one of the three most famous beefs in Japan. There are many restaurants that offer Matsusaka beef, but it comes at a price.For those who want to try it but don't want to spend a lot of money, the Gyugin Yoshokuya is a great option. They offer various dishes made with Matsusaka beef for less than 1000 yen. There are a variety of...more
A totally raucous Japanese style pub (aka izakaya), with lots of nightlife every night of the week. None of the staff speak English, but they all love foreigners. Beware, the place is a major hang-out for foreigners on Wednesday nights, usually after 9pm. Best of all, its extremely cheap, probably the cheapest beer I've gotten in a pub in my whole...more
See the posting I made under "Restaurants" for my description of the best Izakaya (pub) in town. In addition to this, there is a bustling "red light district, j-style" in a part of town called Atago-machi. Its very close to the station, less than a 10 minute walk, and every door is a pub or snack bar. As a foreigner, I'd recommend staying away from the snack bars, as they tend to be exclusive and very expensive.
Dress Code: Very informal!
Matsusaka is served by both Kintetsu and JR Railways. The Kintetsu Line connects Matsusaka with Nagoya to the north, Ise and the Shima area to the southeast, and Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka (Tsuruhashi Station) to the west.
The JR Line also has lines running from Nagoya and Ise out as far as Toba in the Shima area. It also connects Matsusaka to the southern parts of Mie (Owase, Kihoku, and Kumano), along with Wakayama Prefecture.
For most visitors the Kintetsu Line will be faster and more convenient. By express train, you can travel directly to Matsusaka Station from Osaka's Tsuruhashi Station in just 1.5 hours. From Kyoto you have to change trains at YamatoYagi Station.
Matsusaka momen is a famous fabric produced here. It's made with indigo dyes and is characterized by dark blue fabric with lighter blue stripes. This shop features a variety of products made from the dyes from pencil cases and coin purses to shirts, ties, and even kimonos if you have money to spend. The fabric is expensive, but smaller items are available to make it affordable. You can even just purchase a square of the fabric.
Inside the shop there are weaving looms. Casual visitors can look at the looms to see how the fabric is made but if you call in advance you can actually make your own sample of Matsusaka momen on a loom. That costs 1150 yen and requires a few hours to complete. Otherwise, the shop itself is free.