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The Japan Times

Matsue's ghost tour still popular

Matsue's ghost tour still popular - Hearn Lafcadio Popular Participants take in Matsue's ghost sights in Shimane Prefecture

Photograph: Popular - Participants take in Matsue's ghost sights in Shimane Prefecture

Japan Times, Friday, May 4, 2012


MATSUE, Shimane Pref. — A set of steps haunted by the ghost of a geisha slaughtered by a samurai, a graveyard filled with the eerie cries of babies, and a huge stone turtle that roams around in the dead of night are just some of the attractions featured in the popular ghost tour of Matsue, Shimane Prefecture.

The tour, which starts in the evening in groups of about 10 participants, each carrying a flashlight, visits shrines and graveyards referred to in the horror stories of famous Meiji Era novelist Yakumo Koizumi. (Lafcadio Hearn).

Koizumi's great-grandson, Bon Koizumi, 50, conceived the event after experiencing a ghost tour in Ireland, and started the Matsue tour four years ago.

The ghost tour continues to attract participants, mostly women in their 20s through 40s, mainly through word of mouth.

As part of the tour, guests are allowed to enter a temple that is usually shut at night.

"I didn't know a temple at night could be as freaky as this. This is a very refreshing feeling," said Tsuji Kazumi, 29, a female participant from Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture.

"Matsue nights are really dark. You don't have this pitch darkness in big cities. I would like you to learn more (about Yakumo Koizumi) and have fun with your five senses," Bon said.

For further details, please call the Matsue Tourism Society, a nonprofit organization, at (0852) 23-5470.

Tour fees start at ¥1,500.

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