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Gessho-ji Temple

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Gessho-ji Temple


“The Hydrangea Temple of Matsue” stands out among other Japanese temples for its hidden treasures and quiet atmosphere

Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture



Unassuming in exterior and tucked away in a quiet corner of the city, the treasures within Gessho-ji Temple are hidden at first glance. Passing under the low temple wall and rounding the corner, however, one is greeted by a spacious garden and altars to the former lords of the Matsue Domain, each with exquisite wood carvings adorning its gates. 


While the temple brims with greenery, the tide of hydrangeas that sweeps across the temple grounds in vivid blues and reds come June earns Gessho-ji the title The Hydrangea Temple of Matsue. Other noteworthy features include a monstrous stone turtle said to have a penchant for making locals his midnight snack (though the stone pillar on his back now prevents him from doing so) and a lotus pond that shelters some of his smaller cousins. 


After winding through the grounds and entering the temple proper, another small, charming garden is revealed. Matcha and locally made sweets may be ordered while you rest in the quiet, serene atmosphere. 


How to get there


From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Sanyo Shinkansen to Hiroshima Station (about 1 hour 30 minutes). From Hiroshima Station, take the highway bus to Matsue Station (about 3 hours). From Matsue Station, take the Matsue Lakeline Loop Bus to the Gessho-ji Temple Mae stop (about 20 minutes).


179 Sotonakabara-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken


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