Matsue Sunset concierge produces Shinjiko Sunset Café

An exquisite, colourful appearance caféstand by Shinjiko lakeside, alluring those mesmerized by the sunset


Masue – Matsue is the capital city of Shimane Prefecture and is known as a water city like Venice, Italy. The city has several rivers, canals, and bridges leading to Shinjiko Lake, and Matsue cannot exist without the lake.


Matsue locates 1.5 hours by air from Tokyo(Haneda) via Izumo AP, eight hours by bullet train and local railway, and 11 hours by night sleeper train (the Sun Rise Izumo).


Many great writers have been engrossed in each story on Shinjiko Lake. Lafcadio Hearn, the Irish-Greek author whose fate led him here after a career as a journalist in New Orleans and put Matsue on the world map in the 1890s, was also one of them. Hearn described the lavishing sunset moment at Shinjiko Lake as follows:



“Before me the fair vast lake sleeps, softly luminous, far-ringed with chains of blue volcanic hills like a sierra. On my right, at its eastern end, the most ancient quarter of the city spreads its roofs of blue-grey tile; the house crowed thickly down to the shore, to dip their wooden feet into the flood. With a glass I can see green citadel with its grim castle, grotesquely peaked. The sun begins to set, and exquisite astonishment of tining apper in water and sky.


Dead rich purples cloud broadly behind and above the indigo blackness of the serrated hills—mist purples, fading upward smokily into faint vermillions and dim gold, which again melt up through ghostliest into the blue. The deeper waters of the lake, far away, take a tender violet indescribable, and the silhouette of the pine-shadowed island seems to float in that sea of soft sweet colour. But the line down, and all the surface on this side of that line is a shimmering bronze—old rich ruddy gold-bronze.


All the fainter colours change every five minutes,–wondrously change and shift like tones and shades of fine shot-silks.”    


Lafcadio Hearn “The Chief City of the Province of the Gods” in Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan        



Following 110 years later, in 2020, the enthralling scenery of Shinjiko Lake cast a spell on a Shimane-born woman, engaging the Shinjiko Sunset Café by the lakeside. Surprisingly, the beautiful sunset days and time allow guests to enjoy coffee, craft beer, original flavour drinks, and doughnuts while watching the twilight shining in the far west — bad weather makes the café close.



Natsuki Ueda,32, was born in Okuizumo, Shimane, surrounded by the Chugoku Mountains and is known for the mythical Japanese stage: the god Susanoo, younger brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu said to be an ancestor of the Japanese Imperial family, utilised sake to make the eight-headed snake monster committing a harmful act there drunk before decapitating it, bringing peace to ancient Shimane.



Growing up with the nature of Okuizumo and her large family, Natsuki loved her local area. The woman from the provincial town in the prefecture enrolled in Shimane University in a bid to become an English teacher in 2009, changing her career path to use English more practically, resulting in studying at University of Arkansas as an exchange student. Even after graduating from the university in Japan, she remained in the US so as to learn professional hospitality skills at Mitsukoshi Academy and Walt Disney University. The Shimane woman worked for Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida in Florida in 2014, and It was a formidable challenge, but she accomplished it.


This experience gave Natsuki the philosophy of hospitality, motivating her to pursue the service profession. She was fascinated with impressing someone with her hospitality and was ambitious to have a place to move many people someday.


After finishing one year contract with Disney World, she returned to her loving Shimane with a cherished goal. Despite trying to find a glamorous job around Matsue, the woman who had just returned from abroad eluded her ideal working position. Instead, she participated in projects to revitalize the local economy as a self-employed. Encountering comrades allowed her to make a living and be the tourism ambassador to Shimane Prefecture. These unique experiences embodied her 8-year dream, which finally has come true, supported by the fervent locals.



“The sunset dowing into Shinjiko Lake enables many guests to enchant like Mickey Mouse, and it brings happiness,” said Natsuki, the sunset concierge.


Natsuki’s next goal is to engage inbound tourists making the most of her English; her challenge continues.


4-1Sodeshi, Matsue, Shimane


How to get to the Shinjiko Sunset Café 

By walk
20 minutes from JR Matsue Station to the cafe at the back of the Prefectural Art Museum.

By bus
Take the Matsue City Bus bound for Minami Jyunkan Uchimawari and get off at the Kenritu Bijjyutsukan -mae Bus Stop(6 minutes), then 2 minutes on foot to the cafe.


Business days&hours
Beautiful sunset days allow for open / Holidays are irregular

Weekdays 17:00-sunset: Sunset index of 50 and more allows open
Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 15:00-sunset: Sunset index of 30 and more allows open



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